Spider-Man out of MCU amid Disney and Sony disagreement

David Eckstein-Schoemann

No good thing lasts forever. For those who don’t know it has been recently reported that Spider-Man will not appear in any more MCU movies due to Disney and Sony not being able to reach an agreement for future films. Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. To elaborate, let’s go back to when the franchise started.

Spider-Man movies have had their ups and downs over the years. Sony started the franchise in 2002 with director Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire as the lead character. The first two installments of this series were gigantic hits with both audiences and critics. Many would argue, these films are what revitalized the genre and inspired other studios to make their own superhero franchises. However, this was not meant to last as Raimi’s last entry Spider-Man 3 failed to reach the same level of quality as the first two due to Sony’s interference and has been shunned by both fans and movie goers for its overloaded story-line and campy dance scenes. 

Despite the reactions to Spider-Man 3, Sony knew they had a cash cow on their hands and had to make a new movie in the next few years or the character rights would revert back to Marvel. Due to Sam Raimi leaving the franchise, Sony decided to go the reboot route in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield in the lead role. While the first film received good reviews and did well at the box office, its sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t fare so well. Once again due to studio interference the franchise fell into the same trap as Spider-Man 3 with its sequel clustered with complicated storylines and an unfocused narrative. 

Down on their luck, in 2015 Sony decided to collaborate with Disney and incorporate the character into the MCU. Fans were thrilled to see their favorite hero interact with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Avengers. The deal allowed Sony to finance, distribute, and have a final say in solo films with Disney receiving 5% of the film’s revenue and profits from merchandising. Disney on the other hand, would finance and distribute crossover films the character appeared in. It was a fair balance to say the least.

This deal allowed Spider-Man’s appearance Captain America: Civil War with Tom Holland in the role. The actor delighted fans and audiences with his take on the character. Holland would continue his streak of films with his first solo outing, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and swing his way into both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. After all these years Spider-Man finally got a billion dollar movie with Spider-Man: Far From Home which teased a future where the character would be one of the main heroes leading the franchise. Sadly, it may not come to fruition. 

Reports have come in that Disney proposed a 50/50 co-financing agreement to Sony, with the possibility to extend the deal to other Spider-Man related films. Sony refused the offer and hoped to maintain their current deal. Rumors state they even went as far as to offer Disney 25% of the franchise. Disney however, refused their offer and both studios failed to reach an agreement. Because of this, Marvel studio’s president Kevin Feige will no longer be the lead producer on future Spider-Man films. Despite the fallout, Sony still plans to make a third and fourth installment with Holland in the lead role. However, these films will have no MCU connections. This means that characters and storylines from previous films will most likely be cast aside and forgotten. Reports also state that Sony executive Tom Rothman is very much in the mindset that they don’t need Feige’s help anymore as they plan to build franchises around their latest hits, Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. 

These reports were confirmed at this year’s D23 event with Kevin Feige and Tom Holland telling fans that they’ve told the story they wanted to tell and that the character’s future will be different outside the MCU.  This bit of news has divided multiple people in the industry, from MCU actors wanting the character back, to Stan Lee’s daughter, Joan Celia, siding with Sony for how Disney has “mistreated” her family. Fans since then have been calling for both studios to put aside their differences and make a deal. Though unlikely, it’s still possible a new deal can be reached with all the money to be gained on both sides. Things in the future may change, but as of now lets be grateful that we’ve had five great films with a character we all can’t get enough of.

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