Spider-Man Producers Talk Sinister Six And Venom Movies

The creators of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have told SFX of their plans to expand the web-slinger’s world in future franchise spin-offs, set to showcase fan-fave villains Venom and the Sinister Six.

“We’ve been talking about how to make this universe even bigger, and really get underneath the skin of all the incredible characters,” says director Marc Webb. “The cinematic possibilities of all these storylines are just magnificent. We’ve got some of the greatest writing minds around – they’re all young, and everyone’s really enthusiastic, and they’re all fans. It’s a really great group of people who care very deeply about this. I can’t imagine a more interesting situation – you get all those guys in a room and they’re incredibly smart.

Producer Matt Tolmach confirms that there’s now a brains trust building a wider Spider-Man movie universe.

“That’s the new thing that we constructed,” he tells SFX. “We brought in [Alex] Kurtzman and [Bob] Orci and [Jeff] Pinkner on this last movie as the writers and we fell in love with that dynamic. We were all so enamoured of the script they wrote, and just the spirit of the collaboration, that we decided that there are all these other stories to tell: not just Spider-Man movies but the ones that we’ve announced, The Sinister Six and Venom, and they all come from the same place. We realised it would be really good in terms of storytelling to have a grand scheme for where and how these stories grow out of the centrepiece, which is always Spider-Man. And if all these people are talking to each other, if Drew Goddard is going to do Sinister Six, it would be really good for him to be part of the conversation about Spider-Man. And obviously Alex is the writer of Spider-Man and the person who’s going to be doing Venom. We should all be talking so that these movies feel as though they’re of a piece, so the fans feel like there’s symmetry. It’s a crazy luxury to have all these smart writers sitting around in a room brainstorming. Our jobs remain the same in terms of having to produce and direct the movies but it’s like putting together an all-star team – why not have the best players there all the time? So that was kind of a breakthrough idea that we’re just now really tapping into.

Will The Sinister Six  be a particular challenge to headline a movie, given they’re a bunch of bad guys?

“It’s a challenge in every sense,” says Tolmach. “Obviously questions of traditional hero/villain dynamics have to be looked at. At the same time it’s an awesome challenge, because some of the greatest characters are in fact villains, and how you construct that is so much fun. People love those bad characters if they’re good bad characters, and love to watch them. And nobody’s all good, nobody’s all bad, and so where we end up with that story, I think, is a really awesome challenge, and we all smile when we think about what you can do. It’s definitely a bad-ass group of people and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun to watch them.

Long-time Spider-saga producer Avi Arad says they are actively looking for characters to build new franchises upon.

“Yeah, I think it’s a fair statement. With Marvel characters, the villains are victims of circumstance. If you look at our villains, none of them were born like that. Our villains are nice and complex and in the world of film writing you can play with that, you can make some wonderful things out of it. The Spider-Man universe has amazing villains, they are all character driven.”

Arad believes a Venom movie must explore the moral conflict at the heart of the character.

“Venom hated only one guy – Spider-Man. He wasn’t innately bad, he was a shortcut guy, not really into fighting hard for achievement. That’s the Venom story. Can he also be a good guy? As you know, Venom was also called ‘lethal defender of the innocent’. We had a great history with him, especially caring for the homeless, which is a very sensitive issue and something that many of us are very concerned with. Our villains all represent a different side of the misunderstood, and some of them unfortunately turned to the dark side. Venom happened to be a phenomenal character. With Eddie Brock, or if you do Flash Thompson, it doesn’t matter who is going to be inside the suit – what’s important is that a man like him is going to realise there comes a time when you wake up in the morning and say ‘How did I get here? There must be a better way.’”

Nick Setchfield

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is released in the UK on 18 April

Read more about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the latest issue of SFX, on sale now. Full details of how to order the print and digital editions here