Spider-Man is back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! After over a month of uncertainty Marvel and Sony have come to a new deal that will keep everyone’s favorite wall-crawler in the MCU at least for two more films. The deal will see a new “Spider-Man” movie movie set in the MCU released in the next few years while also seeing Sony continue forward with their own Spider-Man-themed universes after both studios reached an impasse and stopped the hearts of millions of fans with a breakup in August. Now that the details of new deal have been released let’s take a look at exactly what this will mean for Spider-Man and his appearance in either studio’s projects going forward.
So, to recap in mid-August Sony and Marvel announced that Spider-Man would be leaving the MCU as the deal between the two studios had expired and negotiations broke down. While Spider-Man is a Marvel character, Sony has owned the rights since the late 90s and continues to maintain those rights as long as they produce a Spider-Man film every few years. The studio formed a deal with Marvel that allowed Spidey to be featured in several MCU properties starting with 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War”. Since then Spider-Man has been featured in two solo MCU movies as well as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” while Sony has established its own cinematic universe based on Spidey’s rogues gallery and produced an award-winning stand-alone animated feature in 2018. Many rumors were sparked from this breakdown in communication most of them assuming that finances were a big issue as Sony was receiving little to no financial benefit from Spider-Man’s inclusion in non-stand-alone films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel was also reaping the benefits of merchandise, but the straw that broke the camels back was reportedly Disney’s demand for 50% of the opening weekend gross opposed to the 5% the studio received from the original deal putting Sony in a position of losing significant financial compensation for loaning the character to Marvel. Now, over a month later, the two studios are back on track with a new deal set in stone.
So, let’s look at what this new deal involves. While most of the specifics have been obtained from insider information rather than official press releases, it was confirmed by both studios on Friday, Sept. 27 that Spider-Man is indeed back in the MCU. The new deal officially green-lit the third Spider-Man solo film for the MCU for July 16, 2021 adding it to the slate of Phase Four MCU pictures set to begin next year with “Black Widow”. Since Spider-Man was billed as a centerpiece to the next phase of the franchise and established as somewhat of the new Tony Stark in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Far from Home” it’s no surprise that the sequel is being released rather quickly, even before the next “Black Panther” movie which has yet to receive an official title or release date. Spider-Man, who will continue to be played by Tom Holland, will also be part of at least one other MCU film and possibly a fourth stand-along project.
According to Variety, inside sources have said the deal will see Marvel receive 25% of the profits from future MCU Spider-Man-led movies. Disney will also retain merchandising rights and will cover around a quarter of the financing for the features. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige will be a producer on the next film as well which was confirmed in a joint press release from the two studios.
Both Disney and Sony seem ecstatic about the continued relationship. Sony released a Tweet to commemorate the announcement expressing excitement for the partnership to continue.
“We have had a great collaboration over the last four years, and our mutual desire to continue was equal to that of the many fans,” Sony Pictures said. “We are delighted to be moving forward together.”
In a statement, Kevin Feige also expressed excitement and implied that while Peter Parker will continue to be a part of the MCU he fully expects Sony to continue with their own Spider-Man projects.
“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” Feige said. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”
So, what does this mean for the future of Spider-Man? Well it’s important to realize that deal is still limited to only one stand-alone film and one more major MCU movie. Where Spidey goes from there is anyone’s guess although, again, there have been rumors a fourth stand-alone project is mixed into the deal. Sony is going full steam ahead with their own Spider-Man themed projects with 2020 set to see the release of “Morbius: The Living Vampire”, the second Sony Spider-Verse film based on the heroes supporting characters that started with “Venom” last year. A “Venom” sequel has also been announced and rumors are swirling about a sequel and potential crossover film with the MCU to follow up Sony Animation’s Oscar winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”. What this all means is that we can expect PLENTY of Spider-Man material on the big screen in years to come from within several different film universes. The wall-crawler remains one of Marvel’s most iconic and popular characters if not THE most popular character from the comic book giant. It was expected that Sony and Marvel would find a way to continue their relationship as the marketability of the character and what seems to be an immunity to over-saturation have made him one of the most important properties for both studios. Now that a deal is done it will be exciting to see where each studio takes their respective Spider-Man properties in the years to come.