Upcoming ‘Spider-Man’ Movie Release Scrapped by Sony as Plans Shift

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Tom Holland looking shocked as Spider-Man

Credit: Marvel Studios

Since his introduction in Marvel Comics in 1962, Spider-Man has become an iconic figure in popular culture, embodying relatability and the notion that anyone, regardless of their background or status, can become a hero.

Conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the enduring appeal of the webslinger lies in his narrative, which intertwines themes of responsibility, self-sacrifice, and the ramifications of power, thus rendering him a symbol of hope, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit.

Spider-Man the Animated series on Disney+
Credit: Disney+

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Spider-Man: Icon of the Screen

Spider-Man’s journey beyond the pages of comics has been marked by some ups and downs. Originally, the film rights were acquired by Sony, leading to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy in the early 2000s, featuring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. Subsequent efforts to refresh the franchise, driven by the necessity to preserve these valuable rights, resulted in the Andrew Garfield-led Amazing Spider-Man duology of films.

Three different versions of Spider-Man characters stand side-by-side against a backdrop of a city skyline, with dynamic fiery and spark effects surrounding them.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Presently, under the leadership of Kevin Feige at Marvel Studios, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has struck a unique arrangement with Sony, facilitated by their parent company, The Walt Disney Company.

Through this collaboration, Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Disney, and Sony have forged a fresh agreement regarding the inclusion of Spider-Man within the MCU. This accord permitted Spider-Man’s appearance in MCU films, commencing with Captain America: Civil War in 2016, with actor Tom Holland assuming the mantle of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 2 poster with Spider-Man (left) carrying Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson (right), while Doctor Octopus/Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) is reflected in Spider-Man's eye.
Credit: Sony / Marvel

The primary focus of the Sony Marvel Universe revolves around the Spider-Man intellectual property, after Marvel Comics sold their film and merchandising rights before the explosive popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel Studios. This means that Sony can exclusively develop and expand upon the Spider-Man franchise, as long as they stay within its associated characters and villains.

This includes iconic Spidey characters like Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, the Green Goblin/Norman Osborn, and Doc Ock/Doctor Octopus/Otto Octavius.

However, not all of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU) films have the brightest future.

Why is Sony Delaying Kraven the Hunter?

Aaron Taylor Johnson as Kraven the Hunter sitting on an antler throne with a fur vest
Credit: Sony Pictures, Marvel

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Variety recently reported that Kraven the Hunter, a Spider-Man film under Sony’s SSU, originally slated for an August 2024 release, will now have this original release scrapped.

Its new release date is December 13, 2024, pushing the Sony Spider-Man movie even further back — away from Marvel Studios’ Deadpool & Wolverine summer slot.

Very little is currently known about this upcoming Spider-Man Sony movie, which will join Morbius (2022) and Madame Web (2023) under Sony’s slate of recent Spidey-adjacent movies. Things are not looking up for this film, however, considering its predecessors, as well as the fact that Sony has kept relatively quiet about the movie. Very few even know that the movie has already had its first trailer drop in June of last year:

Kraven the Hunter will see Aaron Taylor-Johnson portray Sergei Kravinoff/Kraven the Hunter, a big-game hunter reimagined as a conservationist and protector of the natural world. Ariana DeBose stars as Calypso, Kraven’s love interest and a voodoo priestess.

What’s Next for the Sony Spider-Man Universe

Kraven the Hunter

Aaron Taylor Johnson as Kraven the Hunter in a brown, leather tank top in the forest
Credit: Sony Pictures, Marvel

JC Chandor is directing the film, which has a screenplay written by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Richard Wenk.

Sony’s upcoming R-rated Spider-Man universe movie, Kraven the Hunter, will star Aaron Taylor Johnson — the MCU’s Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff, brother of Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). As the Quicksilver character was previously owned by Fox under their X-Men franchise (prior to The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition), Johnson’s character was unceremoniously killed off in the same movie he debuted — 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Kraven will seemingly follow Johnson’s Kraven through his origin, as someone who hunts humans instead of animals, in a twist to his Marvel Comics lore.

Fred Hechinger takes on the role of Dmitri Smerdyakov, Kraven’s half-brother and a master of disguise known as Chameleon. Christopher Abbott appears as the Foreigner, a skilled mercenary and assassin. Alessandro Nivola portrays Aleksei Sytsevich, also known as Rhino, a Russian mercenary with the ability to transform into a human-rhino hybrid. Russell Crowe depicts Nikolai Kravinoff, Kraven’s estranged father. Levi Miller’s role remains undisclosed.

Venom 3

Venom and Eddie (Tom Hardy) on a beach in 'Venom: Let There Be Carnage'
Credit: Sony Pictures, Marvel

Sony scored another significant victory with the successful Venom film franchise, which features Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom and has consisted so far of Venom (2018) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021).

Venom 3, or Venom: The Last Dance, is slated to seemingly end the R-rated franchise with arguably the only successful SSU film of the bunch.

The last time fans saw Venom and Eddie Brock on screen was in the Marvel Studios and Sony joint feature Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). The Venom Symbiote played a significant part in the film’s post-credits scene, with Eddie Brock getting unceremoniously pulled back to his home universe in the SSU—accidentally leaving behind a drop of the Symbiote in the main Marvel universe.

Spider-Man 4

(right to left) Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire variants of Peter Parker/Spider-Man with Spider-Man logo; Marvel Studios
Credit: Inside the Magic

Following the events of the MCU’s Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and the multiverse upheaval caused by Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, alias Spider-Man, has deliberately withdrawn from the public eye.

But what lies ahead for Spidey after Holland’s hiatus? All signs indicate a soft reboot of Peter Parker’s narrative in the upcoming Spider-Man 4. This new installment is expected to diverge from the familiar school-age Spider-Man storyline depicted in the “Home” trilogy of MCU films.

With Spider-Man 4 the cause of much debate between Disney and Sony, and potentially set to start filming in September this year according to insiders, the film has yet to officially find its director. Sony’s first Spidey film trilogy’s director, Sam Raimi, could even potentially head the project.

Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in the middle and Movie Characters of 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' (2023) on the left and right sides with Official Movie Logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

Sony’s approach has, on the flip-side, actually led to the emergence of numerous acclaimed projects — notably Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-Verse series of films.

2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) — the first film of which clinched prestigious Oscar awards and pioneering a special hybridized “2D and 3D” animation style, that’s being replicated in major ways, by competitors like Disney and beyond.

Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, a direct continuation of Across the Spider-Verse‘s story surrounding Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), is currently delayed until the animation studio feels it is ready.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker (left), Spider-Man in suit (right) with Marvel Studios logo in bottom right corner.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Currently, the former superhero giant running the Spider-Man franchise is keeping mum after the not-so-stellar response to Madame Web, starring Dakota Johnson as Madame Web.

The flop of epic proportions (that also had further shelf life as a meme), Morbius, starring Jared Leto as a vampire-esque antihero, also did not garner Sony any favors in terms of public perception.

With neither hide nor hair detected in recent years regarding previously announced and highly rumored films like El Muerto starring Bad Bunny (spoiler: he’s out of the project), a Sinister Six film (which, let’s face it, was more or less made in Spider-Man: No Way Home), or the Jackpot film written by Marvel comic writer Marc Guggenheim.

The SSU’s future appears particularly uncertain. With the news that Spider-Man 4 is being rushed in conjunction with Disney’s Marvel Studios, however, it’s very possible that Sony is more or less abandoning their Sony Spider-Man Universe for a more certain Marvel Studios future.

At least they’ll have Spider-Verse and its associated Spider Noir spinoff TV series to hold down the Spider-Man IP fort.

What do you think about Sony Spider-Man Universe films? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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