Last week, Andrew Garfield clarified that he was only good to go as Peter Parker in three Spider-Man movies, with no commitment to a previously announced fourth film. The fourth film had been rumored to be the “final battle” between Spidey and the Sinister Six, a cabal of villains gathered from across the new Spider-Man franchise, but have plans changed? Sony hasn’t said no outright to Amazing Spider-Man 4, but it has announced new solo films for the Sinister Six and the antihero Venom, slated for 2016.
At first, I wondered how a Sinister Six film would work? With a mole in the mix? With a team that splits from within? Who’s the protagonist when the three films prior are working so hard to make these characters into villains? How can Sony make a Spider-Man film without Spider-Man?
My guess is that it won’t. In fact, if Garfield isn’t explicitly involved in Sinister Six, I highly suspect that the Spider-Man in the film will be Miles Morales, the biracial star of Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. The comic chronicles an alternate Marvel Universe where Peter Parker is dead but Oscorp’s efforts to replicate his abilities cause an unassuming kid (Morales) to get his own set of great Spider-Man-like powers. And we all know what comes with great powers, right?
This gives Sony its Spider-Man without Garfield as Parker (though the studio probably won’t kill him). Sony has been looking at ways to mine new heroes from the Spider-Man property, and Miles Morales is certainly a strong one. His 2011 comics debut got national media attention, so he’s got more cultural awareness on his side than some of Spidey’s supporting cast heroes. With Sony building the Sinister Six through a mutual connection to Oscorp, audiences will have a very easy entry into Morales’s origin. Besides getting to have a new Spider-Man, introducing him in Sinister Six -- a film with familiar characters tied to an existing cinematic universe -- allows Sony to sidestep any unfortunate international commercial concerns or audience confusion over whether the film is rebooting Peter Parker as black.
Morales provides an extension to Sony’s Spidey franchise. Sony can choose to create a new trilogy of Spider-Man films (Ultimate Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3?) with Morales as the title hero, right within the continuity started in Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man. Or it can choose to reboot anew if Morales fails to thrill in Sinister Six.
What do you think? Will Sinister Six sail without a Spider-Man?
John Gholson is a life-long comic book fanboy who has previously covered all manner of superhero news at AOL. After dabbling with comic book self-publishing in the '90s, John moved on to study sequential art at the Savannah College of Art & Design, and currently produces a regular Web comic, ‘Appetite for Destruction,’ for Tapsauce.com. You can read his Marvel Studios Countdown here at Movies.com every other week.
Follow him on Twitter at @gholson.
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