Sony made headlines back in December by announcing an aggressive slate of Spider-Man and Spider-Man-adjacent movies. Along with the proposed Amazing Spider-Man threequel and fourquel slated for 2016 and 2018, the studio announced vague-firm plans for Venom and Sinister Six films—a clear attempt to build their own little corner of the Marvel Universe into a movie mega-franchise to rival Marvel Studios’ Avengers-verse, Warner Bros’ incipient Justice League-verse, and Fox’s X-Men-plus-also-maybe-Fantastic-Four-verse. Sony also boldly announced that all the films were being overseen by a “franchise brain trust.”
Now that brain trust is down one member: In an interview at IGN, Roberto Orci says he’s “not officially involved” with Amazing Spider-Man 3 anymore, probably because he’s busy preparing Star Tr3k Into Darkne33. And while speaking idly about the future of the Great Spidey Spin-off Experiment, Orci seems to hint at a bit of mission drift:
I don’t know what their plans are for that franchise. I don’t ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I’ve read probably as much as anyone else. There’s a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom–there’s an idea of Spider-Man’s going to be one of these characters that’s part of our business. He’s such a popular character. Spider-Man’s not going to go away anytime soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined.
Lots of ambiguity in these statements. “I don’t want to say never” could mean “I don’t want to say I’ll never write another Spider-Man movie” or it could mean “I don’t want to say there won’t be another Spider-Man movie.” But ”there’s a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom” doesn’t immediately translate into “there is a firm plan in place for movies about the Sinister Six and Venom.” And certainly, “When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined” is definitely the opposite of “We have movies planned until your adolescent nephew graduates from college.”
Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest-grossing Spider-Man movie ever, although $705 million worldwide isn’t the worst outcome for the fifth movie in a franchise. Sony didn’t immediately offer an official comment on the status of Sinister Six or Venom, although there was movement on the former earlier this year. What I’m getting at: Maybe don’t hold your breath for that Black Cat spin-off.