It does not take a dedicated Marvel fan to know that Spider-Man is one of the superhero comic-book brand’s premier super-characters, the way Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are to Marvel’s rival DC. Over the years, the interpretation of Spider-Man on film was shouldered by Sony Pictures, to which Marvel sold the film rights in the previous decades. Following the consolidation of Marvel movies under Disney’s Marvel Studios, an agreement was made with Sony to share Spider-Man, with Sony getting the box office and Disney-Marvel Studios getting the merchandising and inclusion of the character in the MCU. However this deal was broken in August, leading to the studios parting ways.
But if Variety has the right of it, Marvel Studios (and by extension its parent company Disney) and Sony Pictures may have hammered out a new accord with which they can continue to share usage of Spider-Man in film and franchise. The two companies made a brief announcement last Friday, September 27, to the effect that not only will there be a third Spider-Man movie going off from the storyline established in 2016’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and that the character will continue to be portrayed by Tom Holland, the web-slinger will remain part of the MCU.
A statement from Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige seemed poised to reassure fans that the third major big-screen iteration of “Spider-Man” will not end anytime soon, as he expressed his thrill that “Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue.” The word from Sony Pictures last month regarding the breakdown of negotiations with Marvel noted that Feige was only stepping down from producing any upcoming “Spider-Man” films for them due to new responsibilities in developing the post-Avengers character landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Now that the two studios are collaborating again, that reason now seems to be polite fiction.
Wrinkles appeared in the Marvel Studios-Sony Pictures sharing deal for Spider-Man, forged in 2015, when in August Disney attempted to renegotiate the terms with an actual box office share from what was originally entirely taken by Sony. When differences could not be surmounted the two companies announced the cinematic bombshell, resulting in Spider-fans launching a public petitioning campaign to #SaveSpiderMan on social media. Whether it was the campaign or not, it is true that higher-ups from both Disney-Marvel and Sony came together last week for new talks, and it was positive enough that Tom Holland posted this on his Instagram.
There are no details yet on when Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man will team up with any of the MCU heroes once more, but his next solo film, again a Marvel-Sony co-production, is expected to come to cinemas by July 2021. Perhaps that will pick up the massive cliffhanger from “Spider-Man: Far from Home” which released July.
Image courtesy of Vox