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Nergal

Sony's Marvel Universe May Already Have A Spider-Man Replacement

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  • Last Reply by MrShooter
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Sony are reportedly developing a solo movie for Silk, a female Korean-American spider-person from Spider-Man's extended cast. The film, which has been under consideration for some time before getting an internal greenlight, might be just what Sony's Spider-verse needs in lieu of Peter Parker's extended residence in the MCU.

Launching this October with Venom, Sony's intention to create their own cinematic universe out of the Spider-Man's rogues gallery and other associated characters has drawn a lot of skepticism for, well, lacking a Spider-Man. Sure, Venom has enough comic mileage to warrant going his own way, but the likes of Kraven and Morbius are tougher. Many of these characters are tied to their insatiable need to pursue the webhead, to the point that telling their story otherwise feels a bit pointless.
 
WHO IS SILK?
 
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Silk made her full debut in 2014 in The Amazing Spider-Man #4 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos as part of the "Original Sin" crossover event. In that story, Peter Parker has a vision of the radioactive spider that bit him, learning that another young girl, Cindy Moon, was bitten by the same arachnid mere moments after he was. Instead of growing up a neighborhood hero who learned to balance great power with great responsibility, though, she was trained and subsequently locked away by Ezekiel in his misguided attempt to protect her from Morlun, a vampiric inter-dimensional hunter who wishes to consume every version of Spider-Man. Peter retrieves her from Ezekiel's basement and eventually, she settles into a “normal” life, operating as her alter-ego to provide ally-ship to Peter.

Most of her powers overlap with Parker's. She can naturally create webbing, unlike Peter, and has a stronger memory and longer-range spider-sense. Her sole mission for much of her run is to be reunited with her parents, who moved away while she was under Ezekiel's watch. She adopts an anti-hero status during this time, working as an investigative new intern and using crime to both fund her research and follow leads. This eventually brings her family back together, her solo run ending with them together and her at peace for the first time since her introduction.
 
SILK IS ALREADY GOOD GUY IN A VILLAIN UNIVERSE
 
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Venom director Ruben Fleischer has said that there's "no real hero" in it, building off the notion this universe will be built by villains. That's been the goal since Sony starting building the franchise and nearly every reported announcement has continued that. Morbius is set to film later this year, with Jared Leto in the titular role and Life's Daniel Espinosa in the director chair. Next up are the likes of Kraven, Black Cat and Silver Sable, all of which are best known for starring opposite Spider-Man.

Silk is the exception, existing as a more moral figure, making her stand out in the universe. This means her presence could very well be the anchor for a kind of reverse Avengers – the antagonists all start coming together and she steps in to stop whatever evil is afoot (a popular theory is Maximum Carnage). The previous movies could create sympathetic but ultimately dark, irredeemable portraits of these evil-doers before Silk becomes the shining light in the darkness. It doesn't re-write the playbook, but it does poke a little at the current convention for a cinematic universe that has some convincing to do.
 
SILK REPLACING SPIDEY IS GOOD FOR SONY
 
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HOW SILK CAN FILL-IN FOR SPIDER-MAN


A lot of Silk's origin story can exist in this universe regardless of Peter Parker's absence. Venom's trailers have already made it clear that there's a lot of evil corporate research going on, and in a world where a company thinks it can manifest the power of a maliciously symbiotic alien organism, radioactive spiders seem timid. The basic beats of a child developing powers from a bite, getting taken in by someone somehow familiar to the situation and being held captive can be done with or without Spider-Man, too. In fact, Silk breaking herself out could make her introduction more resonant, all told.

And when you have Silk on her own, she can shoulder much of the hero role. After all, there wouldn't be a lot of difference between Cindy Moon and Peter Parker in their overall presence: both are driven by their family and both struggle to balance being a hero with life as a masked vigilante hero.

But, where there are differences is what makes for an interesting story. Silk not having Peter's “With great power” ethos makes her morality itself more of a journey, one that's inherently interesting with a backdrop of baddies; Silk might not be coming in from a place of immediate good, but seeing what's going on and the damage the other antagonists are doing could put her on a path towards being a protector and standing up for what's right. Cindy's someone who could understandably go either way because she was stripped of her family and circumstances beyond her control mean she'll never be “normal” again. She has some compelling (and deeply politically resonant) reasons to be mad and want to inflict pain. Her choosing to fight for something better would give any depiction of Uncle Ben's death a run for its money.
 
WHY THIS MAY BE THE BEST MOVE FOR SONY
 
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Sony's Spider-Man-Cinematic-Universe-Without-Spider-Men could easily become a contrived attempt to keep a lucrative property in their corner while comic book movies are at their most relevant. The entire slate so far is made up of characters mostly defined by their relationship to the web-slinger, and telling stories with them on-screen without him feels more than a touch self-defeating.

They need a stand-in to provide the moral compass and create a contrast for all the different shades of weird and evil. Of the non-Parker spider-candidates, Silk is one of the most interesting. She may be new but she has a strong contingent of fans, especially since she's Asian-American, which provides racial diversity and more international appeal. Her story is heartbreaking and provides opportunity for some very provocative storytelling.

Being different is good. Fox carved out the R-rated comic book film space for themselves with Deadpool and Logan, doing things Marvel would never dream of putting into their movies and doing very well in the process. Sony can do the same, they just need to shake the idea that they need the MCU or should rush to a successful balance sheet. The stories need to be good and make audiences believe that this whole venture can have legs even without Marvel crossover. Silk would be a great way to set them apart from the homogenous history the MCU is drawing from and do something's that's different and feels worthwhile. They just have to hope these Venom and Morbius flicks work out first.

Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018

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