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Spider-Man/Venom team-up movie 'seems likely,' says Marvel president

Don't count Tom Hardy's Venom out of the MCU just yet.

In a recent conversation with CinemaBlend, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige left the door open for a potential crossover with Hardy's anti-hero and Tom Holland's Spider-Man — but he also made clear that it wasn't exactly up to him.

So far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has remained separate from the SUMC (that's "Sony Universe of Marvel Characters," if you're not into the whole brevity thing), which has fielded only one film to date. But that film, last year's decidedly Spidey-less Venom, was a surprise smash hit, raking in north of $850 million dollars at the worldwide box office despite mixed-to-poor critical notices.

Asked directly if a crossover were potentially in the cards, Feige gave a surprisingly clear and — well, simply surprising answer. "I think probably it's up to Sony," he said. "Sony has [the rights to] both those characters, and has Venom in their world. I don't know what their plans are for another Venom or if they're doing that. But it seems likely at some point."

This is something of an about-face from a couple of years ago, when Feige and then-Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal were essentially asked the same question after the blockbuster success of Spider-Man: Homecoming (and, notably, about a year before Venom's release). 

"Here's what we're doing," Pascal said at that time. "All these characters are a part of the Marvel comic book universe. In that universe, they are all related to each other. Kevin makes characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These characters are separate, except for Spidey, who belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is why he's there."

Feige was then asked if Pascal's response could be taken to mean that a crossover would never happen, to which he replied, "We never say never." However, he quickly qualified that answer, saying, "You could ask me, 'Is Superman gonna be there?' I go, 'Never say never,' but not any time soon." (via ComicBook.com)

Perhaps it was Venom's box office-busting success that has Feige whistling a different tune, or perhaps he now has designs on getting all of Marvel's characters under the MCU banner now that the formerly Fox-owned properties like the X-Men and Fantastic Four are officially the property of Disney. But his comments certainly seem to imply that he's more than game for bringing Venom (and, presumably, Jared Leto's Morbius) into the MCU — but that the ball is firmly in Sony's court.

It doesn't take a genius to why pursuing a deeper relationship with Marvel Studios would be advantageous to Sony. Sure, Venom did great — far better, really, than anyone expected a solo vehicle for the character completely separate from Spider-Man to do. The character has a strong fan base, Tom Hardy is an A-list actor, and Venom fans still smarting from the brief, ill-advised appearance of their favorite symbiote in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 were hungry for a new interpretation.

But there's no clear reason to think that the other properties Sony has been taking a look at developing — like Morbius, which is in production, as well as potential vehicles for Black Cat and Silver Sable — stand a chance of repeating that success. These are characters that are relatively little-known, and while they could absolutely work as supporting players in a Spider-Man flick, carrying their own movies would be a totally different ballgame. 

It's also worth considering that as well as Venom performed, it's likely that it would have performed even better if it had actually featured Holland's Spider-Man and been set in the MCU. The brand is absolutely bulletproof, and if Sony's brass have even the tiniest bit of doubt as to whether being under its banner serves to boost Spidey's box office fortunes, they're about to be soundly dispelled. Spider-Man: Far From Home is tracking for an absolutely monster opening, thanks in part to the post-Avengers: Endgame halo — and preview audiences are calling it perhaps the best Spider-Man movie of all time, to boot.

Under the deal with Marvel, Sony produces (and reaps all of the profits from) Spidey's solo adventures, so Far From Home's inevitable strong performance (which we predict will top out north of a billion dollars worldwide) should make the studio sit up and pay close attention to what Feige has to say about potentially merging the two universes. For that matter, Venom doesn't even have to made MCU canon; with Far From Home introducing the concept of the multiverse, the wily symbiote could simply be ported over from an alternate reality. 

It's our sincere hope that all parties involved get together to hash this out very soon, because when it come to the possibility of bringing the rest of Sony's characters over to the MCU, this is pretty much as wide open as the door has ever been. It should also be noted here that Pascal — who jealously guarded the web-slinger's rights for years before finally agreeing to the shared custody arrangement in 2015 — is no longer in the picture, having departed Sony for Universal in May of this year.

Even if a deal is struck, though, it'll likely take a lot of time for it to bear fruit. Feige has said that even the newly-acquired X-Men — a property he's been waiting for years to get his hands on — aren't likely to show up in the MCU any time soon, as Marvel Studios famously maps out its projects years in advance. But his comments regarding Venom show that he's at least willing to play ball — here's hoping the MCU's mastermind can bring Sony to the table to strike a game-changing deal (again).