6 Questions We Have About the Expanding 'Amazing Spider-Man' Universe

Spider-Man and Electro
(From Sony Pictures)Late Thursday night, Sony Pictures publicly announced its plans to radically expand its Amazing Spider-Man universe, going so far as to specifically call out its next three movies, and naming the "brain trust" that would flesh them out. Not only did they confirm the obvious ASM3, but Sony also announced plans for a stand-alone Venom movie, and another for the Sinister Six, a collection of all Spidey's toughest foes.

It's all pretty blatantly inspired by the success of Marvel's Avengers movies, not that Spider-Man fans are going to mind. But we do have some key questions about how Sony's brain trust, headed by ASM director Marc Webb, will handle its rapidly expanding universe. 

1. Does this spoil The Amazing Spider-Man 2?

ASM2 is still about six months away, but we already know Spider-Man villains Electro, Rhino, and Green Goblin will each be in the movie in some way. Since Electro is traditionally a member of the Sinister Six in its various comic book incarnations, it seems like this announcement assures he's going to live through the movie. Sony could learn a thing or two from Marvel about how not to tip its hand. Marvel's secrecy and misdirection when it comes to its movies has served the studio well, but Sony is basically telling us, up front, what's going to happen with its next movie.

2. Where does Venom's movie fit in?

Assuming Venom will be a part of the Sinister Six, his stand-alone movie will likely come before the S6 movie, and will help connect a few dots before bringing all those baddies together. According to Sony's new press release, we can expect ASM3 the summer of 2016, which probably means the Venom movie is coming between the third Spider-Man movie and before the Sinister Six one. Venom's origin story, as we know it, is inextricably tied to Spider-Man, so it seems likely ASM3 will do some of the leg work in setting up his stand-alone movie — most importantly explaining the origin of the Venom symbiote. 

3. How much will Spider-Man be in the Venom movie?

If Venom isn't thwarted somehow in his stand-alone movie, he'll either need to be turned into an anti-hero immediately (something the comics took years to do), or the movie is going to be very, very dark. Venom isn't just some cackling masked fiend intent on defeating Spider-Man. He's a sadistic serial killer with a voice in his head always telling him to kill kill kill. It seems likely Spider-Man is going to have to step into this movie somehow, and at that point, isn't it just going to be The Amazing Spider-Man 4?

4. How do you make a Sinister Six movie that's not about Spider-Man?

Is the idea here to make the movie about the Sinister Six, or to make it about how Spider-Man defeats the Sinister Six? This also raises another question: How many movies has Andrew Garfield signed on for? It would be pretty lame to switch Spideys somewhere in the middle of all this.

5. Who will be in the Sinister Six?

The Sinister Six has rotated through a few rosters of Spider-Man baddies since it first appeared in 1964, but it does have a few staples. Electro, Doctor Octopus, and Sandman are all typically included but so are some pretty cheesy villains like Kraven the Hunter. Venom has joined the Sinister Six a couple times in the comics, and it's hard to imagine he's not in Sony's vision for the rogue's gallery.

6. Is Spider-Man going to be the only hero in this universe?

The Sinister Six is a pretty powerful gang of bad guys for Spider-Man to face alone, so we're guessing he's going to need some help. In the comics he's enlisted the aid of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four when the odds were stacked against him, but how far does Sony's Spider-Man license extend? Will Spidey get some super-powered help in any of the upcoming movies? Or will he ultimately be thwarted by that most dangerous of foes: the corporate attorney?
I write about movies for Zimbio.com, which means I spend way too much time thinking about the geekiest possible ways to approach the cineplex. I'm also hopelessly addicted to audio books. Follow me: Google