Okay by now you will most likely have heard the news broken by Deadline that Sony and Disney have decided to part ways with their sharing agreement over the rights to Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The whole thing is quite complex and has a lot of little things going on that are way above everyday folks understanding of how the movie business works so I am not even going to attempt to go into that, but the simplest way to describe the split is that its over money.
Disney asked for fifty percent of the takings on any future movies involving Spider-Man and Sony said no! Disney doesn’t make any revenue from the Spider-Man movies outside of the MCU, only from the merchandise and toy sales from Homecoming and Far From Home, which is still not pocket change and amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, but with the last movie now about to become the highest-grossing Sony movie of all time (eclipsing James Bonds Skyfall), well something had to give and sadly for us it did.
So what does this mean going forward for the future of the MCU and the Sony Spider-Man Universe?
The deal that Sony and Disney had allowed for the use of some Spider-Man characters such as Spidey himself, Aunt May, The Vulture, Mysterio, etc be allowed to not only be mentioned in MCU movies but also be featured.
Now with that deal currently no longer an option, it would mean that some events of movies that are part of the MCU such as Avengers: Endgame and to a lesser extent Spider-Man Far From Home are now off-limits and arcs for characters such as Aunt May and Happy Hogan would be pretty much null and void as Sony hasn’t got the rights to Happy. Likewise, the use of the E.I.D.I.T.H glasses that where a major plot device in the last Spider-Man movie would not be able to be used, the same thing with the Iron Spider as those still would remain the property of Marvel and Disney!
The MCU would suddenly lose that plucky kid from Queens and none of their movies going forward would be able to reference him by direct name, only implication. This isn’t a new thing as there are as of yet no mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to the rights belonging to Fox, who is now owned by Disney!
Disney could opt to buy out Sony’s Columbia Pictures wing, but the chances of that happening are quite remote as, like Disney themselves, Sony has very deep pockets!
Sony is reportedly working to expand the Spider-Man universe across a whole range of connected movies and TV shows based around the hundreds of characters that Sony have the rights too, and at least two more movies starring Tom Holland and directed by Jon Watts have been greenlit, and it’s only a matter of time till Spidey meets up with Venom who is also owned by Sony.
Marvel still owns the rights for the characters for comic books and merchandise which is a multi-billion dollar industry by itself with Spider-Man being one of the sought after children’s toys currently.
Other characters who are associated with Spider-Man are a bit of a grey area. Disney bought the rights to use Kingpin back in 2012 for their Daredevil series on Netflix, and though he is a character associated with Spider-Man, he should be allowed to appear in future MCU movies and spin-off television shows, once the embargo over the character from Netflix is over late next year!
Spider-Man is not dead by any means and there are so many stories that can still be told, but sadly the chances of a Spider-Man and Human Torch crossover (the characters are best friends in the comics) are pretty remote now, and villains such as Doctor Octopus showing up in an MCU movie are about the same.
The current project which will apparently feature not only live-action movies and television shows, but also sequels to the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and the fan favorite Venom which is currently in pre-production and being directed by Andy Serkis and will once again see Tom Hardy reprise his dual role as Venom and the very reluctant Eddie Brook!
This of course could still work and work well with the right writers behind the movies and taking the character back to his small town roots, firmly based in New York! Spider-Man has for the whole been a brass tacks character, an everyman that people could relate too. He had money worries, elderly relatives and a great burden of keeping bread on the table and a roof over his head at times. Add to this the huge weight of guilt he has felt for decades and that he must remain as the web slinger and take him back to his roots. Peter Parker is a very clever guy in the comics, he is almost as smart as Tony Stark and invents his own gadgets, including his webshooters to help him as Spider-Man. Often these would fail at the most inopportune moment which only added to the drama of the story!
With Far From Home taking almost a billion dollars at the box office and soon to be released on the home entertainment market, there is little doubt that Spidey will return, just sadly Kevin Feige will not be involved.
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