Although Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord recently signed a first-look film deal with Universal Pictures for upcoming movie projects, even before that, they had signed a nine-figure deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop television shows for the studio’s TV branch.
While doing press at this year’s TCAs (courtesy of Deadline), Miller stated that some of the shows they’re developing will indeed be Marvel-related, based on some of the characters that Sony still has a licensing deal with Marvel.
“We are developing a handful of live-action shows using Sony’s Marvel characters, of which there are like 900 characters,” Miller said on Wednesday without naming which characters to which he’s referring. “We’re figuring out a way to develop the shows so that each are their own unique experience but are also related.”
This is an interesting statement since we know that in the late ’90s, Sony got the rights to Spider-Man and his immediate circle of characters, including the likes of Venom (leading a successful sub-franchise after years of development hell), as well as the vampire Morbius with Jared Leto playing that character in a 2020 film.
The other Marvel character Sony tried to get off the ground was Ghost Rider, which led to two movies starring Nicolas Cage with mixed results but generally negative reviews from critics and fans alike. Except that Ghost Rider is already slated for a Hulu series, starring Gabriel Luna, so that character is already off the table and out of Sony’s hands.
“We’ve been talking to a lot of potential teammates for trying to do something not like anything else that’s been done on television,” Miller said. “It’ll be a little while before it all comes together and is on the air, but I think it is going to be something really special. Hopefully we’ll know in the next few months where it’ll be and what the schedule will be.”
It seems that Sony might be following the wiser move being taken by many other studios (including Marvel) by shifting their characters onto less-expensive television series that don’t require selling millions of movie tickets to make their money back.
At one point, Sony was making a movie called Silver and Black, which would have starred Silver Sable and Black Cat with Gina Prince-Bythewood directing, but that was seemingly scrapped in favor of a Black Cat movie. It might make more sense to give the Black Cat her own television series when you consider the success and popularity of Netflix’s Jessica Jones series.
A live-action Spider-Man television show separate from the Tom Holland/MCU movies is definitely another possibility when you consider how many incarnations there have been of Superman and Batman on the DC side of things. Why can’t there be a live-action Spider-Man television series? I mean, other than for budgetary and quality concerns.
Lord and Miller had also been slated to transition the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse characters into a television series (on top of making a film sequel to the Oscar-winning animated film), but right now, they’re talking specifically about live-action series rather than animation.
Sony Pictures Television has been around almost since the beginning of television itself, having hit TV shows across the decades, such as Punky Brewster, a little show called Seinfeld, and most recently, Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul, as well as Preacher. One thing that SPT has going for it is that they’ve produced shows for just about every network including cable channel AMC, as well as streaming networks like Netflix.
The deal that Miller and Lord have with SPT means they could develop a series for any of these networks that would compete directly with the shows being developed for ABC, Hulu AND Disney+.
Now, we just have to find out what those shows might be, whether they’ll be brand-new characters we haven’t yet seen in movies or television or derivations of those that are already successful.