Tom Holland’s Spider-Man looks to have an uncertain future within the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that Sony Pictures and Marvel have seemingly divorced.
Following the news that Spider-Man: Far From Home has become Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing release of all-time, it has been announced that Sony is to part ways with Marvel Studios, the film’s co-producer.
The ‘divorce’ was initially put down to Disney requesting a bigger piece of Spider-Man movies going forward – a suggestion that Sony turned down in preference for an extension of the existing agreement that sees Marvel receiving 5% of first-dollar gross, as well as all merchandising revenue.
The subsequent inability of both sides to agree a way forward saw Marvel president Kevin Feige withdraw from his producing role on any future Spider-Man movies from Sony.
The news means that the Spider-Man character is unlikely to appear in any future MCU movies, despite the fact that Far From Home‘s story arc had appeared to set him up as one of the principal players in a post Iron Man, post-Endgame world. In total, Holland has appeared in five MCU releases, beginning with Captain America: Civil War and concluding with Far From Home, which saw Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) seemingly become integral players in his world.
As the dust settled on the initial report of the falling out, The Hollywood Reporter subsequently acquired a statement from Sony Pictures vowing to continue with Spider-Man in his current guise and expressing disappointment that Feige will no longer act as lead producer on the film franchise.
The distributor said the blame for this lay with Disney.
“We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film,” the statement read.
However, there is some hope in that the same statement continued: “We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own.
“Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
Sony has owned the film rights to the Spider-Man character since 1999, an era in which Marvel was recovering from bankruptcy and had licensed out a number of its characters to film studios.
In the intervening decades, Marvel has patiently gained the film rights back to most of its characters, including – last year – the X-Men characters and Deadpool, owned by Fox. Iron Man started out at Paramount and Universal.
However, Spider-Man is viewed as by far the most popular character not held by the studio, which prompted Sony to fight so hard to keep hold of the character but revive him – following the relative box office under-performance of Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man films – with the help of Disney and Marvel.
However, the new landscape does pose the possibility that Holland’s Spider-Man could now be re-directed into Sony’s own Marvel universe, which was launched with the Tom Hardy-starring Venom last year, and which earned $856 million globally.
A sequel to that film is in the works with Andy Serkis recently signed up to direct. While the studio also has Jared Leto set to play Morbius, a vampire character from the Spider-Man mythos.
It is disappointing for what it is, but we hope Spidey finds a home soon. Your thoughts?