MULTIVERSE! If that word was uttered two years ago, it wouldn’t turn any heads, but now it has since taken on an entirely different meaning. With the upcoming films; “The Flash”(2022), directed by Andy Musschietti, and “Dr. Strange And The Multiverse Of Madness”(2022), directed by Sam Raimi, Marvel and DC are set to square off once again like they did in 2016. Except this time it’s for best multiverse film as each of these movies will be ushering in the concept of the multiverse to their respective cinematic universes. And for Marvel, Spider-Man’s at the forefront.
The multiverse isn’t a foreign concept by any means. DC did a story as early as 1961 called “The Flash Of Two Worlds“, in which two Flash’s of different timelines met each other. DC later expanded on that idea with the famous story, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Marvel is no stranger to the multiverse either. In 1977 Marvel published a series called, “What-If”. Which introduced the notion of alternate versions of the same character and even alternate events in marvel history. And when Marvel reinvented their title characters in the early 2000’s they introduced “The Ultimate Universe“.
Even Spider-Man himself is no stranger to the multiverse with the 90s animated Spider-Man series being the first to introduce the “Spider-Verse” concept and it later becoming its own crossover over in comic book form in 2014. And we all know of the widely praised Spider-Verse film that was released in 2018. But now the concept is taking the cinematic stage and there’s no turning back.
CREATOR VS STUDIO DAWN OF JUSTICE
The appeal of the multiverse isn’t just the idea of multiple Batmen or multiple Spider-Men showing up in one film. Although that would be cool. It’s more so the idea that it allows for more creative freedom and director driven films. That way filmmakers aren’t beholden to a cinematic universe.
This isn’t to say cinematic universes are the sole reason for studio interference. Before it’s inception, comic book films still had problems. Batman Forever and Spider-Man 3 being prime examples.
Both those films were heavily meddled with. Warner Bros wanted to increase toy sales so they forced Joel Schumacher to change his film, leaving a darker version of his film on the cutting room floor (#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut). And Sony wanted to appease Spider-Man “die-hards” so they forced Sam Raimi to incorporate a character he wasn’t that familiar with Venom. Which resulted in a lackluster conclusion to his Spider-Man trilogy.
It has even led to the cancelation of numerous projects such as Tim Burton’s “Superman Lives” and Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 4”. Suffice to say it has been present in the past and still is to this day.
Even recently, look no further than the disaster that is Justice League (2017). Warner Bros was so held bent on forcing their cinematic universe to compete with Marvel that they couldn’t let Zack Snyder tell his own story. And that debacle resulted in one of the biggest box office bombs in comic book movie history. With Justice League making less money than its two predecessors.
Marvel has also had problems, albeit not as widely publicized and to less financial disaster. Marvel famously couldn’t come to an agreement with Edgar Wright on the Ant-Man film he wanted to do. So after working on the film for 8 years he left the project due to creative differences. Even Marvels golden boy Jon Favreau experienced issues on Ironman 2. After the success of Ironman (2008), Marvel fast tracked a sequel for a release date 2 years after the first. Which Favreau was hesitant to sign on for, given an extremely rushed production.
And when he did, he decided to embark on the classic Ironman story, “Demon In A Bottle“, but Favreau got heavy pushback. It was deemed too “controversial“. So he toned it down, along with a complex villain with Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash. And released a heavily meddled version of his film that was widely agreed upon as the lesser of the two Ironman films.
Now, with the multiverse, hopefully that era of studio interference is behind us. Although that’s wishful thinking, the multiverse does provide an arena for more director driven films. Harkening back to how comic book films used to be made before the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with films such as the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. Which, if you ask me, are the pinnacles of modern comic book movies. (Here’s hoping Zack Snyder’ Superman Saga joins the likes of those.)
And the idea that going forward, directors could be given the option to either play within the confines of a cinematic universe or branch off into their own universes can only be a good thing. Plus it gives fans the opportunity to see multiple iterations of the same character. Which means casting a wider net and embracing all fans. Which DC seems to be doing with their current film plans with the announcement of Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck portraying their respective Batmans. All the while Matt Reeves gets to do his version of the caped crusader. Now apply this formula to Spider-Man and I think we’ll have something truly special.
SPIDER-MAN’S TANGLED WEB
It’s no secret that the famed wall crawler has had an interesting cinematic journey to the least. With Sony and Disney seemingly playing tug of war with the character over the past few years, we now arrive at a point where Spider-Man is able to be shared between the two companies. Which means Spider-Man gets to play with the Avengers in Disney’s MCU and he also gets to square off against his rogues gallary in Sony’s “Spider-Man Universe”.
When this agreement between Disney and Sony was announced, didn’t excite me. Especially with the senseless spin-offs announcements that are in development such as a Madam Web film, a Kraven film, and the upcoming Morbius film, which is set to release in 2021. Sony didn’t seem have a plan besides throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. At least not until now…
WHAT’S UP DANGER
Rumors of a potential Spider-Verse film have been running rampant for quite some time, but now the possibility has never seemed more real. Just look at the events that have transpired as of late.
- JK Simmons returned as J Jonah Jameson in the MCU
- Marvel announces the multiverse with Dr. Strange And The Multiverse of Madness
- Sam Raimi (former Spider-Man director), is hired to direct the multiverse film
- Jamie Foxx is announced to appear as Electro again the MCU
This all cant be a coincidence. Even Jamie Foxx teased a Spider Verse film in a recent Instagram post that has since been deleted (probably because he saw a Mickey Mouse shaped sniper laser on his chest).
There’s so much smoke here, there has to be fire. And though it may seem like a pipedream, there is no denying that a Spider Verse film is a multi-billion dollar film waiting to happen. Especially if they bring back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. And with the rumors gaining steam as of late. It’s starting to look like that pipedream might become a reality.
I WILL ALWAYS BE SPIDER-MAN
Of course, as a fan, I have my reservations. I obviously want it to be done right. We’ve seen what the multiverse can do in regards to beloved characters with the return of Tom Welling in CW’s Crisis On Infinite Earths. Though it was great to see Tom back in the role of Clark Kent, the idea that Superman would give up his powers to be with his family, while Lex Luthor corrupts the world, goes against the entire 10 season arc that Clark went on in the original Smallville series.
If Tobey Maguire’s return as Spider-Man was butchered like that I would be crushed. But we’ve also seen the great things the multiverse can do. Ezra Millers Flash sharing the screen with Grant Gustin’s Flash during the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover was a triumph for DC fans (Thank you Jim Lee). So why not give it a shot?
MULTIVERSE IS THE KEY
Although I’m hyping up the possibility of a Spider-Verse film. That’s not what excites me the most about the potential of the multiverse. Yes, crossovers are great, and a live action Spider Verse film would be a dream come true. And yes, I’ll probably cry when I see Tobey Maguire on screen again dawning the classic red and blue. But what if all this multiverse talk leads to something else… Remember what I said, director driven films. What if this multiverse stuff leads to the resurrection of Spider-Man 4…
I WANT SPIDER-MAN
I know, I’m crazy, right? But what if I’m right? Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Sam Raimi is back in the Marvel family. Why can’t it happen? If Raimi gets the proper freedom he needs with Doctor Strange, who’s to say he doesn’t take a trip to Kevin Feige’s office and says, “hey, remember that Spider-Man trilogy we worked on? How about we end it off right?” Even acclaimed Spider-Man comic book writer J.M. DeMatteis went to twitter to voice his thoughts on a potential “Kraven’s Last Hunt” standalone film, starring Tobey Maguire, with Raimi at the helm.
A story like that doesn’t fit the tone of the MCU version of the character. But with the multiverse, it all becomes possible. Sam Raimi can conclude his Spider-Man saga, Tom Holland can continue being Spider-Man in the MCU. And heck, Marc Webb can finish off his trilogy with Andrew Garfield. And if we really wanna get crazy, why not greenlight a Miles Morales Spider-Man series on Disney+ starring Donald Glover? In a world in which the “Snyder Cut” is a reality, the possibilities are endless. And speaking of the Snyder Cut, Disney could definitely use a series to compete with Zack Snyder’s Justice League series.
Time will tell. The current rumor has MCU’s untitled Spider-Man 3 actually being a Spider-Verse film. And if that’s the case, maybe Sam Raimi might call his buddy Tobey to appear in an end credit scene of Dr. Strange And The Multiverse Of Madness...
THERE’S A HERO IN ALL OF US
The multiverse isn’t just a great tool for cool crossover events and potential sharing of IP’s across different companies, but most importantly it’s an anchor for creator driven properties. Which is what Spider-Man is made for. Spider-Man is at his best when his stories are small in scale but big in emotional impact.
We’ve done the cinematic universe thing and it was great and it will continue to be great, but now I think audiences are ready for something more. Todd Phillips’ “Joker” made over a billion dollars and Sony’s animated Spider Verse (2018) won an Oscar, both having no connection to a cinematic universe. Since then we are now getting a detective noir Batman film directed by Matt Reeves and we’re also getting Zack Snyder’s original vision for his Justice League.
Audiences aren’t bothered with connectivity, but more so a good film. And the best way to do that is to let directors tell their stories with their pure vision with nothing holding them back. So why not bring Tobey and Andrew back for a Spider Verse film, then after that’s a huge success, greenlight the personal Spider-Man stories like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 and watch the audiences come out in droves. COVID-19 has drastically changed the film industry. I can see no better way to get theater businesses’ back on their feet than with a crazy move like this. I know I’d be lining up multiple times to see those movies. Here’s hoping we’ll all get the chance…
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