The story behind every Spider-Verse movie being made

Since launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008's Iron Man, Marvel has dominated the box office. But Sony made its own bit of Marvel history first: 2002's Spider-Man made more than $800 million worldwide, spawned a multi-billion dollar franchise, and cemented a franchise that Sony wouldn't easily let go of.

All these years later, the studio is still keeping a tight grip on the Spider-Man property. They currently own the film rights to more than 900 Marvel characters — a complicated laundry list of Spider-Man properties that Sony plans to spin off into their own cinematic universe. The "Spider-verse" is still in its early stages, but eight feature films have already been announced so far. Most of these projects are still just starting the development process, but we already have plenty of details about what the studio has in store. Here's the story behind every Sony Spider-Verse movie being made.

Venom

Venom is a fan favorite anti-hero, and with good reason. Created by writer David Michelinie and artists Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane (the latter of Spawn fame), he's been the yang to Spider-Man's yin since making his proper debut as a character in 1988.

In the comic book universe, Venom is the name given to the living symbiote suit Spider-Man brought back to Earth from Battleworld during the Secret Wars crossover event in 1984-'85. The character changes depending on who's writing him and who's bonded with the symbiote, running the gamut from repentant vigilante to unapologetic cannibal.

In development since the character's first big-screen appearance in 2007's Spider-Man 3, the Venom movie is finally a reality. Starring Tom Hardy as investigative journalist-turned-symbiote-host Eddie Brock and helmed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, Venom is on track to break box office records when it drops on October 5, despite lukewarm responses to its first two trailers. Sony is clearly invested in the project, and has already signed Hardy to a three-picture deal.

Details on the plot are still murky, but the movie appears to follow a Venom origin story that's deeply different from the comics, following the weaponization of symbiote suits by shady corporate fat cats. Venom co-stars Michelle Williams, Jennie Slate, Riz Ahmed, and Woody Harrelson.

Black Cat

Felicia Hardy, a.k.a. the Black Cat, has been a recurring foe/romantic interest for Peter Parker ever since her first appearance Amazing Spider-Man #194 in 1979. A notorious cat burglar (get it?), Black Cat has the power to change probability and change people's luck, not unlike Domino from Deadpool 2. She made a brief, out-of-costume appearance in Amazing Spider-Man 2, but hasn't been seen suited up on the big screen yet.

Initially, Sony announced that Black Cat would be getting a team-up movie with fellow occasional Spider-Man ally Silver Sable. Tentatively titled Silver and Black and set to be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) the project was recently pulled from Sony's release calendar and scrapped in favor of solo movies for both characters. Prince-Bythewood is still attached to the projects in some capacity, but it's unclear whether she'll still direct. Sony has, however, confirmed that they intend to hire a female director.

With all these recent shakeups, it's understandable that the Black Cat movie doesn't have an official release date yet.

Silver Sable

The other half of the canceled Silver and Black project, Silver Sable is also headed to the movies with her own announced solo film.

When she first showed up in Amazing Spider-Man #265 with her shiny chrome armor and "you wanted the best, you got the best" hairdo, Silver Sable was about as '80s as you could get without starting a glam-pop band. She's an assassin and mercenary from Eastern Europe, wielding guns, knives, and various other accouterments with deadly accuracy. Like many characters in the Spider-Man mythos, she changes allegiances pretty frequently, acting as both friend and foe to the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

This is another project with few to no details to report at the moment, as there have been no casting announcements or hints as to who might direct, although it's possible that this could also be a Gina Prince-Bythewood project. As with Black Cat, the release date is also up in the air.

Morbius the Living Vampire

Spider-Man characters have always been known for their complicated relationships with mortality, and Morbius the Living Vampire is no exception. A scientist working to cure himself of a deadly blood disorder, Michael Morbius accidentally sciences himself into a vampire with radiation, as you do. Utilizing his scientific expertise and his newly acquired array of supernatural powers, the character went on to find some success as a tortured anti-hero, fighting his lust for blood while bringing vampiric justice to the night. Also, according to an interview with co-creator Gil Kane, he was modeled to look like Jack Palance. It was a different time.

The Morbius movie was announced in 2017, and is currently set to star Jared Leto as the bloodthirsty protagonist. It's being written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the creative minds behind Netflix's recent Lost in Space reboot and 2014's Dracula Untold. Currently scheduled to be helmed by director Daniel Espinosa (Life, Safe House), Morbius the Living Vampire is still waiting on a proposed release date.

Kraven the Hunter

One of the OG Spider-Man baddies, Kraven the Hunter first popped up in Amazing Spider-Man #15 all the way back in 1964. He goes back so far, he was even a member of the original Sinister Six, making him the oldest Marvel character currently projected to get his own Spider-Verse movie. A Russian expat with a unique flair for clothes made out of lion faces, Kraven is a big game hunter obsessed with proving that he can kill anything — even and especially Spider-Man. His main claim to fame was his starring role in a story arc called Kraven's Last Hunt, which sees Kraven burying Spider-Man and taking his identity for himself.

Unfortunately, backstory on the character is just about all we have on Sony's Kraven the Hunter movie. Not a lot is known about the upcoming film adaptation, except that Equalizer 2 writer Richard Wenk is working on the script. If Sony execs have any idea who they want to direct or cast in this Spidey spinoff, they're keeping that quiet for now.

Silk

A relatively recent addition to the Spider-Man universe, Silk (because "Spider-Girl" and "Spider-Woman" were taken and "Female-Identifying Spider Person" is a mouthful) has established herself as a pretty rad character. In a great big retcon, it was revealed that Peter Parker's fellow high school classmate Cindy Moon was bitten by the very same radioactive spider as Peter, granting her the ability to shoot organic webs from her fingers and do, in large part, whatever a spider can.

While Cindy Moon did appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming and even briefly in Avengers: Infinity War portrayed by Tiffany Espensen, it's unclear whether she'll continue to play the role once the character is given her own film. All that's known for now is that Amy Pascal, the producer of many of Sony's Spider-properties, is in some way attached to the project. No release date has been announced yet, but keep an eye out.

Jackpot

First appearing in the comics in 2007, the mysterious vigilante known as Jackpot was assumed by many fans to be none other than Mary Jane Watson, longtime on-again off-again romantic partner and sometimes wife to Peter Parker, thanks to her prominent ginger coif and use of a moniker closely associated with MJ's old catchphrase, "Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot." No dice, true believers: It turned out she was secretly Sarah Ehret, a scientist, mom, and all-around super-strong crimefighting boss.

Much like its title character when she first showed up in Spider-Man's friendly neighborhood, the details behind the Jackpot movie are pretty mysterious. Sony is still in the process of finding a screenwriter for the project, so it's safe to assume it'll be a while before the red-headed supermom makes it to a theater near you.

Nightwatch

A product of the totally extreme '90s, Nightwatch started out as barrel-chested scientist Doctor Kevin Trench. When he witnessed the death of a mysterious crimefighter on a New York rooftop, Trench was astonished to discover that the hero was actually an older version of himself. Trench then experienced the whole superhero self-doubt phase that Marvel characters can't usually avoid, trying to escape his destiny, but you know how it is. One thing led to another, and he soon donned the mysterious-dead-older-him's costume and became the superhero known as Nightwatch.  

Another embryonic Sony Pictures/Marvel project, there isn't much that's been made public about the Nightwatch movie. Rumor has it, however, that Spike Lee might be directing, and that Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker is in talks to write the script.