The announcement of Electro joining Spider-Man 3 had everyone theorizing. Is he the same character we meet in The Amazing Spider-Man 2? If so, why did he announce that he won’t be blue this time? There were a lot of hints pointing to this potentially being a live-action adaptation of the Spider-Verse. Yet, it could just be that they are reintroducing Electro with the same actor to build-up to the Sinister Six. Just yesterday, it could’ve gone anyway. Well, I did say that was what we thought yesterday. Now, we know that Benedict Cumberbatch will join the upcoming Spidey threequel. Now, it is hard to deny that there is some Multiverse aspect in play. I am not here to discuss the story implications, our very own Superhero Theorist will tackle that. In my case, I want to write about the reason this is happening. In my view, this storyline may be the result of Sony’s latest deal to keep the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in Marvel Studios’ hands.
Let’s return to last year when the world was less chaotic. In a sudden twist, Sony announced they will not renew their contract with Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige would only remain as a consulting producer rather than have full control. Negotiations fell through, and it seemed like Sony Pictures was taking back their creative rights. Luckily, they managed to come to an agreement that would let Marvel Studios finish the trilogy. It even includes an additional cameo. For now, there are no more plans for Spider-Man within the MCU. This could very well be his last appearance for some time if no new contract is finalized. Funn enough, Kevin Feige may have already hinted at the character’s development last year.
He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.
Doctor Strange’s involvement in the unnamed Spider-Man sequel may have strong ties to this contract. Today’s news would also confirm that the additional cameo will be in Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness. If no new deal is reached for the character’s return tot he MCU, it is a risk for Marvel Studios to set up future appearances and sequels. They might be trying to set-up a storyline that could keep the door open for a future return. If there is no new deal, Spidey’s absence makes sense in-universe. As such, they aren’t closing the door on a future contract but are wary of it potentially falling apart again. As Feige mentions, he can cross cinematic universes, so he is not ruling out a return in some form.
Why does this matter? Well, Sony wants to develop its franchise surrounding Spidey’s expansive cast of character. They’ve already started with a Venom film that already has a sequel underway. It is noticeable that this film did not have any references to Spider-Man or his larger universe. It wasn’t until the Morbius trailer that we got any connections. It revealed a short sequence that features Michael Keaton‘s Vulture. There was also an image of Spider-Man graffiti with Murderer painted over it. At face value, this is an obvious connection to the ending of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Yet, someone chose an image with the costume from the original Sam Raimi trilogy. It wasn’t even from the film but ripped straight out of PlayStation’s Spider-Man game.
There is one more thing that adds to the confusion. Spider-Woman director Olivia Wilde let slip that she is in contact with Kevin Feige while developing the film. So, it seems like some cooperation is happening behind the scenes. The way it’s mentioned, it sounds like a consulting position. It seems odd he is her first reference point. There is a chance that we could see some of Sony’s characters officially being part of the MCU as they expand the contract beyond just the titular web-head. I doubt we will see Morbius in Blade, but there seems to be some kind of connection. The Strange reveal today would lean on this being an alternative universe with similar set-ups just without the Avengers. Whatever it may be, this storyline seems to be the result of that contract and the uncertainty of the future. Feige wants the character’s trilogy to end on a high-note while keeping the potential of sequels open. Hopefully, they will find some agreement as the franchises continue to grow.