As George Berryman alluded in his post “Sony Emails: Kevin Feige’s Notes on Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the emails from Sony Pictures Entertainment which had been previously released by North Korean hackers last November have been posted online as a searchable database by WikiLeaks. Among the over 173,000 emails and 30,000 documents are, of course, lots and lots of inter-departmental discussions regarding Spider-Man both before and after the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014).
As some of you may be aware, prior to their arrangement with Marvel Studios, Sony was attempting to build a competing film franchise centered around the Web-Head, one of them being a proposed Sinister Six film by Cabin in the Woods (2012) writer/director and Netflix’s Daredevil creator, Drew Goddard. But what exactly would such a series of future Spider-Man films have looked like, especially since there’s only so many supporting characters and villains within Spidey’s world for Sony to use? Well buried within the deep black hole of the Sony emails, we have some idea thanks to a proposal written by Sony Pictures’ Executive Director of Creative Advertising at Screen Gems, Juan Capdet.
In a November 15, 2014 dated email under the subject heading “Thoughts on a Franchise,” Capdet opens his proposal with the following:
So I have been doing a lot of thinking… over the past weeks we have seen both Marvel (who have a tight plan) and DC/WB (who look like they might finally be getting their shit together) make huge announcements for the future of their slates and franchises. On the other hand, we have been assailed by rumour after rumour of bizarre spin-offs (Aunt May) or that Spidey is going to be sold or loaned back to Marvel. What we need is a solid plan for the future. Clearly laid out for the next five years at least that shows the fanship and the public that Spidey is still in safe hands. I also believe that this studio needs a dedicated Spider Division that runs as a studio within the studio. Marvel and DC Entertainment are successful because there are dedicated resources and teams that just focus on these properties. We need that here.On that note, here are my ideas for the future of the franchise. These are just rough outlines but I think could be a good start to the path to success. I thank you in advance for humouring me by listening to me. Looking forward to your thoughts…
And what would this “five year plan” have consisted of? Well, get ready, folks, because Capdet’s idea, along with Sinister Six, included seven–yes, seven!–additional Spider-Man sequels and tie-ins:
Amazing Spider-man: Kraven (in Sinister 6 slot in 2016) – in a never before move we do a prequel to ASM2, Gwen is still alive. Norman is still alive but increasingly getting sicker. He has seen and heard of Spider-man/Peter Parker (following the events of ASM1) and having seen that he was wounded by the police shooter has hired a Russian big game hunter, Kraven, to track him down and bring him in. Norman believes that in Peter’s blood is the key to cure him. Kraven ultimately captures Peter/Spidey and supplies Norman with vials of his blood. Norman, in an attempt to synthesize a cure, actually ends up becoming the original Goblin and transforms like the Ultimate version. Spidey and Gobby battle it out with Gobby running away weak and which leads us to the frail state that we see Norman in ASM2.
So in other words, The Amazing Spider-Man 1.5. Or rather the version of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sony wished they had done in hindsight, if only to have Spidey actually fight Norman Osborn on-screen, and get Emma Stone back in the role of Gwen Stacy.
After this would be Sinister Six, which Capdet suggested for a 2017 release, followed by this:
Spider-man 2099 (2nd half 2017)- this is our Captain America-type franchise. Instead of a period WWII film, we have a futuristic New York in the year 2099. Miguel O’Hara origin story (heads up genetics department at Alchemax and becomes Spider-man). He is up against the evil conglomerate Alchemax and trying to battle either Morlun (who will chase him through time to devour him) or Kron Stone (Venom 2099). In the end the villain is defeated while battling at Alchemax and Miguel/S2099 ends up being sent back in time to present day NYC. This leads into a team up with 616-Spidey to take down Carnage (Payoff level event)
So Miquel O’Hara would’ve been Sony’s version of “Captain America?” Interesting comparison, to say the least. And Morlun as the big bad? Sounds like someone was reading Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse.”
As for the “Payoff level event” involving Carnage? Well, that involves the next proposed three films:
ASM: Venom (first half 2018) – Eddie Brock Jr “ultimate” origin story but with some 616 details. In the end Spidey defeats Venom and sends him to Ryker’s. Coda shows the birth of Carnage
ASM: Black Cat (second half 2018) – Felicia Hardy gets properly introduced. We see her get her “luck powers” from Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. Eventually she has an encounter with Spidey and it ends with an understanding that she is not the bad person she appears to be.
Carnage (2019) – the event that everyone has been wanting. Cletus Kasady makes his debut and it will take a team-up like no other to take him down. Peter/Spidey, Miguel/Spider-man 2099, Venom and Black Cat join forces to bring him to justice. This would be a hard PG-13 with the possibility of an unrated bloodier version for home entertainment.
In other words, Capdet’s answer to Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) was essentially a loose adaptation of “Maximum Carnage.” But if you think that’s crazy, get a load of what the proposed first film of their potential “Phase 2” was:
ASM: Jackal (second half 2019) – Dr Miles Warren had fallen in love with Gwen when she interned at Oscorp. When she died he blamed Spidey for her death and vowed vengeance. He attempts to clone her but fails. Instead using the blood and tissue samples that Norman had Kraven acquire he creates two low-grade clones of Peter, one who will eventually Ben Reilly and the other Kaine. He uses these to clones to unleash chaos on the city and not until Spidey defeats them and figures out that they are the same can the bring down Jackal. Here we see the birth of Scarlet Spider.
Yes, you are reading this correctly, Spider-fans. Sony was so desperate when it came to holding on to Spider-Man, they were seriously considering doing a film version of the “Clone Saga.” At least there’s small comfort that it wouldn’t have nearly been as long and convoluted as it was in the comics.
And what about the other Spider-Man characters? Well, Capdet, apparently a big fan of Peter David’s recent run on Spider-Man 2099, suggested they do a sequel:
Spider-man 2099 2 (first half of 2020) – Miguel is stuck in the present day but is trying to get back to 2099. However he must keep Tiberius Stone (his future grandfather) alive or his whole existence will cease. S2099 encounters Mac Gargan, Scorpion and they battle it out. But will Miguel get back to his time…
Now if you’re looking over these proposed projects and are starting to think the folks at Sony must have been out of their minds, wait until you see some of the ideas which were tossed around for The Sinister Six. This–along with one idea for their Spider-Man female solo film, and how Emma Stone could reprise her role as Gwen Stacy despite the character being killed off–I’ll share for next time.