There's a very mild spoiler for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in this story. Nothing that affects the film, and nothing that's not already been revealed in news stories, but we've put this here just to be on the safe side.
Today sees the UK release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a film that's a springboard for the Spider-Man cinematic universe that Sony has planned. That universe is being overseen by producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, who are working on The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Venom and Sinister Six, amongst other unnamed films.
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there's a very brief appearance from B J Novak as Alistair Smythe. The role was revealed by director Marc Webb back in February, and Smythe is the man in the Spider-Man comics who is the son of Spencer Smythe. Spencer Smythe creates the Spider Slayers, and Alistair goes on to turn himself into the Ultimate Spider Slayer.
Furthermore, there's also a brief role for Felicity Jones, playing Felicia Hardy, in the new film. Felicia Hardy goes on to become Black Cat in the comics.
So: is this coincidence?
We asked that question to Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad. Specifically, we asked if we should be reading much into the fact that they've seeded Black Cat and the Spider Slayers in the new movie? "Definitely", Avi Arad told us. "Everything you see that makes you think about the comics, I think you should read into it". Matt Tolmach added that "There are no accidents". Arad noted that "when they'll be implemented, that's food for thought".
There's not much ambiguity there. Which film Black Cat and the Spider Slayers will appear in remains to be seen - be it a straight Spider-Man sequel or a spin-off movie - but it seems very clear that they're on their way.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in UK cinemas now. It opens in the US on May 2nd.