It looks like the movies are following in the path of comics, as Sony announced two spinoffs of its Amazing Spider-Man movies and the hiring of a set of writers who will create a shared universe of interlocking stories—the announcement gives their mandate as “to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.”
The news was first broken to sharp-eyed viewers of the new trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2, who noticed a hidden URL in a beam of light. That URL led to a website, ElectroArrives.com, which seems to have a single animated image; mouse around, though, and you’ll find a link to the press release. And there’s a countdown, too, although there’s no indication of what it is counting down to—the target date is New Year’s Day.
According to the hidden press release, the “franchise brain trust” will include Marc Webb, the director of the first two Amazing Spider-Man movies, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, and writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon and Drew Goddard. With Amazing Spider-Man 2 due in theaters next May, Kurtzman, Orci and Pinkner (who collaborated on Fringe) will start work on Amazing Spider-Man 3, which Webb will likely direct as well.
The spinoffs will center on longtime Spider-Man foes Venom and the Sinister Six. Venom is a “symbiote” who must bond with another being to exist; he first entered the Marvel universe as a new suit for Spider-Man in Secret Wars #8, then shifted to Eddie Brock as the host in Amazing Spider-Man #300 (which is available on Marvel Unlimited but not comiXology). Venom has taken over several other hosts as well, and ComiXology also has a good assortment of Venom titles. Kurtzman and Orci, who collaborated on Star Trek: Into Darkness and Transformers, will write the Venom movie, and Kurtzman will direct it.
The Sinister Six are an alliance of supervillains originally organized by Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. The lineup has changed considerably over the years, with the most recent incarnation appearing in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Goddard, whose writing credits include Cloverfield and World War Z as well as Cabin in the Woods, which he also directed, has just been tapped as the showrunner and executive producer of the Netflix Daredevil series. He will also write and direct the first episode. As Sean O’Connell of Cinema Blend points out, that raises the possibility of yet another expansion of the Spider-Man universe: A Spidey-Daredevil crossover.