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The One Spider-Man Story That Could Save Sony's Marvel Universe

Sony's Spider-Man Universe of Marvel Characters is still young, but it's already clear that it has a long way to go before it can even dream of hitting the heights of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2018's "Venom" and its 2021 sequel, "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," have established the movie-worthiness of Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock and his oddly endearing alien symbiote. However, critics had few nice things to say about "Morbius," the third SSU film that attempts to shoehorn MCU Spider-Man elements — notably, Michael Keaton's Vulture — into this universe. 

There's still plenty to come, of course, and future projects like "Kraven the Hunter" (with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the titular character) and the recently announced, Bad Bunny-starring "El Muerto" could very well do wonders for the franchise. However, Sony must also pay attention to the stories they want to adapt ... and as it happens, there's one particular Marvel Comics storyline that would perfectly fit in the kind of tooth-and-nail superhero world Sony seems to be creating. In fact, this story could even be instrumental to saving the SSU in the long run. 

To this effect, Sony should look into making a big-screen version of the "King in Black" comic book event. Here's why.

The King in Black event is connected to Spider-Man lore, but its focus is on Venom

The "King in Black" comic book event ran from 2020 to 2021, and its plot revolves around the arrival of the darkness deity Knull. The absurdly powerful character is the creator and ruler of all the symbiotes, and wields a vast array of symbiote-themed powers — at one point, the guy actually covers the world in a symbiote shield. As is often the case with crossover events like this, everyone and their dog has to team up to fight this seemingly invincible threat. However, this time Venom is front and center, and without his help the other heroes don't stand a chance.

With his dark armor, pale visage, and unsettingly toothy grin, Knull is a visually captivating villain who would fit the aesthetic Sony's Marvel universe seems to be going for. The fact that he's essentially the ultimate end boss to Venom would also work pretty well, because let's face it, no one short of Spider-Man will stand a chance of displacing Eddie Brock as the SSU's MVP. 

Speaking of Spider-Man, "King in Black" is clearly a Spidey-adjacent story, since it focuses nigh-exclusively on the symbiote mythology that's so integral to the character's history and rogues gallery. However, it's a rare Spider-Man story that can work just as well if he's absent, which is also in line with what the SSU seems to strive for. Despite its name, Sony's Spider-Man Universe has so far danced around the web-head, and if this continues to be the case, the hero's role in the comic book version of "King in Black" could easily be replaced by an established SSU figure.  

King in Black can easily accommodate Sony's roster or characters

From a Sony standpoint, the biggest thing about "King in Black" is how easily it can be reworked around the SSU's current and planned roster. Venom, of course, is already the centerpiece. A major side plot of the event involves vampires and the vampire hunter Blade, who could easily be changed into Morbius (Jared Leto) if Mahershala Ali's upcoming MCU version of the character isn't available. 

Vulture could easily fulfill the gadgeteer genius role Iron Man occupies in the comic book story, and upcoming characters like Kraven, El Muerto, and Madame Web (Dakota Johnson) — as well as Simon Stroud (Tyrese Gibson), Patrick Mulligan (Stephen Graham) and other supporting characters — could easily step in the shoes of the various Avengers, X-Men, and other assorted super-characters. What's more, "King in Black" could even resurrect Woody Harrelson's Carnage. In fact, that's exactly what happens in the comic book event's pre-game, when Cletus Kasady is brought back as the dangerous Dark Carnage. 

Interestingly enough, there's also an upcoming MCU villain who has a deep connection to Knull. Gorr, Christian Bale's character in "Thor: Love and Thunder," wields a terrifying weapon called All-Black the Necrosword, which is actually a special type of symbiote Knull personally created. Vulture's debut in "Morbius" has already set a precedent for MCU villains crossing into the SSU, and the Knull connection might just warrant bringing Gorr over, too. This would likely be a massive accomplishment for Sony, since director Taika Waititi has claimed that Gorr is among the very best bad guys the MCU has ever had.

Sony has already been setting up King in Black

Though it's obviously way too early to say whether Sony has plans to adapt the "King in Black" story at some point down the line, it's worth noting that "Venom" and its sequel have already laid some groundwork toward that end — either accidentally or by design. The first movie doesn't really explain where the symbiotes come from, only that they're alien in nature and incredily dangerous. "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" also keeps things comparatively open-ended, but the hotel room mid-credits scene almost casually reveals that the Venom symbiote has a wild amount of knowledge about things like the Multiverse, which implies a huge narrative thread that the movies have barely started to unspool. It also reveals that the symbiotes share a collective mind, much like they're depicted in the comics. It's just that when Knull is free, he has power over the collective. 

Combine all this, and the "King in Black" storyline could potentially be to Sony what the "Infinity War" storyline was to the MCU. Perhaps the SSU ends up taking this route, or perhaps Sony has other ideas for the budding mega-franchise's future — but right now, it's hard to imagine a comic book story that would be a better fit.