The importance of honoring the classics cannot be overstated. Before we deep dive into the spider-verse, let’s learn a bit of the back history of both marvel and Spider-man. The mainstream Marvel Universe has finally arrived! Marvel’s “Silver Age” stretched from 1961 to 1963, marking the company’s shift from Timely Comics to the Marvel Comics we know today. With stories that championed a new style of hero, readers were introduced to creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and the original Bullpen. Here’s where it all started!
Marvel cinematic universe was still a faraway dream. The Marvel comics became a household name. The superhero comics captured not only the interest of kids but also of teenagers and a good amount of adults. They were addictive to say the least.
By 2005, Marvel Entertainment had made plans to create and distribute its own films independently of Paramount Pictures. Marvel had previously collaborated on a number of superhero films with Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema, and others, including a seven-year development partnership with 20th Century Fox. Marvel made little money from its licensing relationships with other studios, and it sought to make more money from its films while keeping artistic control over the projects and distribution. Marvel’s film division head, Avi Arad, was delighted with some of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films at Sony Pictures, but not with others. As a result, Arad formed Marvel Studios, the first significant independent film studio in Hollywood since DreamWorks.
Spider-man: Ownership and History
Despite the fact that Spider-Man’s lead heroes have been reinterpreted, rebooted, and replaced, the character of Spider-Man remains universally beloved and relatable. Spider-Man has earned the hearts of many with his snarky humor and tendency to mess things up unknowingly during the course of his 55-year career in Marvel Comics and the film world.
Marvel Comics sold the movie rights to Spider-Man to Sony Pictures in 1998, 10 years before Marvel Studios debuted Iron Man (2008). Marvel Comics was eager to bring Spider-Man to the big screen, but at the time, it did not have its own film studio to assist it.
Following the agreement, Sony began producing films in the early 2000s, including Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Spider-Man 3 (2007), all of which were tremendous box office successes. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics released a slew of Spider-Man-themed issues, including One More Day and Civil War, among others.
When studios option a character from a publisher as part of a licensing arrangement, they are given a set length of time to make a film. If they do not make a film within this time frame, the character’s rights revert to the original owner.
The studio has a five-year window to make a Spider-Man film in the instance of Sony and Spider-Man. Sony will be able to keep the rights as long as it continues to make Spider-Man movies every five years.
This contractual duty explains why there have been so many Spider-Man movies in recent years. When Sony misses its production deadline, the game is over. However, this hasn’t happened, and instead Sony, thinking ahead for the success of Spider-mans’ career, partnered with Marvel movies to create Spider-man movies, hence, maintaining its connection to the Friendly-neighbourhood Spiderman.
What is the Spider-man multiverse or Spider-verse?
“Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale… if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world… somebody lied.”— Peter Parker, ‘Spider-Man’, 2002.
Multiverse is a real theory and not a work of fiction. According to multiverse theory, our universe, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies and nearly innumerable stars spanning tens of billions of light-years, isn’t the only one. Instead, there could be a totally different world — and another, and another — far away from our own. Indeed, there may be an infinite number of universes, each with its own set of rules of physics, collections of stars and galaxies (assuming stars and galaxies are possible in those worlds), and perhaps even intelligent civilizations.
Multiverse and Marvel
The concept of the multiverse is not exactly a new one in comics or movies, it has been a part of Marvel comics since the 1960s. In The Flash #123 (1961), DC’s speedster meets an alternate reality version of himself in the universe for the first time. The concept took off immediately, appearing in a variety of superhero stories over the years, from DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to Marvel’s Secret Wars.
Beginning of the multiverse in Marvel
The multiverse was initially mentioned in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with a subtle hint to alternate universes in Thor: The Dark World (2013). The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) offers a more explicit definition in 2016’s Doctor Strange:
“You think you know how the world works? You think that this material universe is all there is? What is real? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses? At the root of existence, mind and matter meet. Thoughts shape reality. This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life-giving; Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places, where powers older than time lie… ravenous… and waiting. Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange?”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a popular animated film released in 2018, introduced us to several Spideys from various Earths. Fans are looking forward to the already-announced sequel, and are curious as to where we might go next in the Spider-Verse. After using the concept as a fakeout twist in Far From Home, the newest Spider-Man movie confirms that the multiverse does indeed exist. In the latest Tom-Holland starrer Spider-man: No way home (2021), (spoiler alert!!!) we saw all three Spidermans played by Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, and Tobey Maguire together in the thrilling multi-verse saga with villains crossing over from different Spider-man movies.
“The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little,” Doctor Strange tells Peter Parker.
The multiverse is employed as a plot mechanism in this tale. It illustrates how Spider-Men and villains from non-MCU films may coexist with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. It paves the way for future collaborations. Due to this, old X-Men actors may appear in future X-Men films. Wesley Snipes could potentially return in Mahershela Ali’s upcoming Blade film.
Multiverse in Spider-man comics
Stan Lee and Jack Kirkby came up with the brilliantly designed character without much of an outline. It was intended to be a filler tale for an anthology that was never published. Stan Lee, the legendary comic book creator, had previously approved the teenage superhero known as Spider-Man (The hyphen was placed to avoid confusion between Spider-Man and Superman).
The initial ideas and drawings were a failure. They reimagined Captain America in cobwebs, but it didn’t do anything to distinguish them. That’s when artist Steve Ditko stepped in and created the famous red-blue Spider-Man suit. In the Silver Age of Comic Books, in 1962, Spider-Man made his initial appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 in the Marvel Universe.
Many people who are marvel fans but don’t enjoy comics have been wondering if in actuality the multiverse existed in the marvel comics or is it something new that’s been cooking up in the writer’s heads. Fans have also been a little confused as to if there is a future of multiverse in marvel with cross-overs with different heroes as No way home left no room for a future cross-over as they managed to close the tear in time that unleashed the multiverse madness.
In case you want to catch up on the multiverse in Spider-man comics, you can read the linked blog.
Future of Spider-verse
If the different animated worlds in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse are all connected to the main MCU multiverse, the possibilities for future Spider-Man films are nearly endless. This is especially true if Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men make an appearance in the MCU. One of the most intriguing questions to consider is how the live-action and animated Spider-Man movie worlds might eventually collide.
Would the live-action heroes morph into cartoons if they visited the animated Spider-Verse. Or would Miles Morales’ transformation into a live-action hero surprise an MCU visitor? Of course, the most insane solution would be for the live-action and animated worlds to merge. There’s never been a better time to be a Spider-Man fan, or a Marvel movie fan in general. The films may never be as related to the comics as the comics, but they may get close. Especially after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Part One.
There is a lot more to be discussed. Multiverse within itself is a multi-layered topic. Spiderman with all its movies, animated series, cartoons, and comics leaves much to be discussed and desired. We will talk more about Spider-man in the next Spiderverse blog. Stay tuned!