After Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sony's Spider-Man Universe has gotten wider than ever. Although many are still curious as to where the cinematic universe will go as it develops, it's likely the studio will look at some of its initial franchise expansion plans for ideas. One of those rumored films was based on Marvel's Nightwatch. The obscure '90s character might seem like an ill fit for a movie, but it could be a revolutionary superhero film in many ways.
Featuring a reluctant hero whose premise could be used to tackle and deconstruct superhero movie tropes, Nightwatch could organically and artistically add more superheroes to Sony's table. It would also be able to do with a character what the Marvel Cinematic Universe never could. Here's why a Nightwatch movie is one to watch out for.
Who is Marvel's Nightwatch?
Kevin Trench, aka Nightwatch, debuted in the pages of Web of Spider-Man #97. Walking in on the aftermath of a costumed hero dying in battle, he discovers that the hero is none other than an older version of himself. Hoping that discarding the hero's technology will help him avoid this fate, Trench instead takes on the identity of Nightwatch to defeat a criminal using similar technology.
As he becomes a more established vigilante, he aids several Marvel superheroes, antiheroes and villains, including Black Cat, Captain America, Cardiac and Venom. His story climaxed as he fought the scientist who created the technology, which was intended to save his dying son, Justin. Nightwatch is saved by a future version of the lad from another timeline, who helps stop his father from inadvertently destroying much of North America. In order to close the time loop and keep further destruction from happening, Kevin sacrifices himself by going back in time and dying, changing history for the better.
How Sony's Nightwatch Could Upend Superhero Movies
Though the time travel aspect of the story sounds convoluted, it could actually help make a potential Nightwatch movie into a sort of "anti-superhero movie." By having him so ambivalent in becoming a hero to avoid his own death at first, the movie could touch on the age-old themes of power and responsibility. Fighting criminals with similar tech to his own would be somewhat of a deconstruction of superhero movies where the villain has similar powers and appearances to the hero. Likewise, concepts like time travel and multiple continuities have definitely become more mainstream in the genre, especially in regards to Sony and Spider-Man.
The film would be especially ballsy if it completes Nightwatch's story in one long film by having him choose to die by the movie's end to keep disaster from happening. This would truly show the potential threat of being a superhero while also cutting off a potential franchise at the knees instead of artificially extending it. If done well, Nightwatch makes for a great one-and-done story that adds to the Spider-Verse without wearing out its welcome. A possibly more somber tone would also fit with the "darker" universe of Venom and Morbius than the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
A Black hero would also add some diversity. Still, at the same time, the lack of importance placed on his race would be refreshing for a Black hero, as well. Of course, it goes without saying that Nightwatch was heavily based on Todd McFarlane's Spawn. If Sony were able to make a fantastic Nightwatch movie before McFarlane's long-awaited Spawn reboot ever releases, it would be a hilarious bit of full-circle irony. Of course, Sony even considering this likely hinges on the success of Morbius and other movies in their planned Spider-Man universe, but Nightwatch could certainly be the perfect vessel to completely subvert the superhero movie genre.
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