Sony Pictures don’t just consider themselves to be building a Spider-Verse based on their Spider-Man spinoffs; in their view, they’re building an entire Marvel Universe. Sony Pictures acquired the film rights for Spider-Man and his associated characters back in the ’90s, and there’s a sense in which their original trilogy helped blaze the trail for the MCU itself. In 2015, they struck an unprecedented deal with Marvel that allowed Spider-Man to be rebooted (again) as part of the MCU, while Sony would push ahead with their own movies based on the 900 Marvel characters whose film rights they own.
This began with Venom, which grossed over $850 million worldwide and performed particularly well in China, proving there’s a real appetite for these spinoffs. Sony intend to continue these films in a shared universe based on the MCU, which they call the “Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters,” including films like Morbius and TV shows such as Silk. The precise relationship between the SPUMC and the MCU is uncertain, although it sounds as though they’re going to be loosely connected by Spider-Man: No Way Home, probably by virtue of the Multiverse.
Speaking to Variety, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group President, Sanford Panitch, has explained how the studio interpret the universe they’re building. “We don’t really think of our 900 characters as the Spidey-verse,” he observed. “We have a Marvel universe. The volume of characters we have — you know, wait until you see this next Venom. You don’t miss Spider-Man.“
Not every fan is likely to agree, but oddly enough Panitch’s comment suggests the studio is actually learning from the comics themselves. There, although all the characters exist in the same universe, each office is run by separate departments of Marvel – and there are only occasional crossovers of some kind. The so-called “X-Office,” for example, is responsible for the editorial direction of the entire X-Men line, and they’ve been pushing ahead with a popular relaunch courtesy of superstar writer Jonathan Hickman.
Meanwhile, there’s a separate office related to Spider-Man and his associated characters such as Black Cat and Silk, and they generally move things in their own direction. Everything’s a lot more self-contained than people think, which mostly works but sometimes doesn’t; both the X-Men and Avengers comics currently have vampire plots featuring Dracula, and it’s difficult to almost impossible to reconcile the continuity between these two ongoing stories.