Back when Hollywood still had faith in The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony announced their plan to unfurl an extended Spider-Man universe, with two more sequels to follow The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as The Sinister Six, Venom and possibly a female-centric ensemble too.
Naturally, those plans just about evaporated when the sequel crashed and burned and Sony were forced to the table with Marvel to get Spider-Man into the MCU in return for Marvel and Kevin Feige's help. The sequels were scrapped entirely and while there was some spirited talk that the spin-offs could continue, but in truth it sounded impossible.
After all, surely Marvel wouldn't allow Sony to guide the films that were coming out if they could potentially distract from the MCU Spidey activity? But it seems that's not entirely true.
According to Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, the studio will still press ahead with plans to launch a whole Spider-Man universe. He was asked whether Sony and Marvel would be working together further beyond the Spider-Man series:
“Yes to both those questions. It’s been fantastic, our relationship with Marvel."
He also reiterated that while they don't have creative control, Sony can still greenlight movies:
"Sony has the ultimate authority. But we have deferred the creative lead to Marvel, because they know what they’re doing. We start shooting the new Spider-Man in Atlanta [in mid-June]."
And as for suggestions that Sony might want to trim costs of the franchise, he was keen to dispel that:
"I don’t want to trim costs. I want to make money. And sometimes you make money by trimming costs and sometimes by investing in things that are profitable. A movie like Spider-Man by Marvel, that’s not inexpensive. But it’s a great investment. Knowing that Marvel has such a clear, creative vision, I sleep very well at night."
And very well he should.
Ultimately, this may well mean that we're going to see the suggested Venom project come to life, and there could be possibilities of a Sinister Six ensemble, maybe a Black Cat movie or even a Miles Morales alt-Spidey film? They might not have Marvel's stamp of approval directly, but hopefully Sony would be able to learn enough from Kevin Feige and Marvel to make sure those films still worked.
Surely there has to be room for more films in that universe?