Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has recently left his most recent community: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This all occurred after Sony, which has owned the character since 1999, and Disney, which owns Marvel Studios, failed to reach a deal last month.
Spider-Man has only been in the MCU for about four years since his appearance in “Captain America: Civil War.” Yet his winsome portrayal by Tom Holland, his fan-favorite father-son-like relationship with Marvel legend Tony Stark and his funny, relatable scripts have won him a firm place in movie-goers’ hearts.
So what really happened and what does this mean for the future of the beloved Spidey?
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The current agreement — or lack thereof — places Spider-Man in the hands of Sony rather than Marvel. But to be clear, up until this impasse, Sony has been a part of this character’s life.
Until Aug. 20, when it was officially announced that the two studios had reached no agreement, it is widely believed Sony owned 95% of the rights and Marvel claimed 5%. The agreement also meant Sony released all films with Spider-Man as the main character (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home”) while Marvel released all films with Spider-Man within a larger MCU team or as a supporting character (including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War”). Sony released “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” on its own.
Sources said when Marvel tried to renegotiate for a 50/50 split, the two studios talked, but Sony ultimately rejected the proposal.
But the end of this arrangement does not mean the end of Tom Holland Spider-Man vehicles. Though it does mean Holland’s Spidey will no longer appear in the MCU, Holland expressed he plans to continue making movies with Sony at the D23, Disney’s biennial expo.
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“It’s going to be so fun, however we choose to do it,” Holland said. “The future for Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we’ll find new ways to make it even cooler.”
In fact, it is believed Sony has two Spider-Man titles with Holland in the works. And Holland expressed excitement in working with Sony exclusively in the future in a written correspondence with GQ Style.
“Sony has also been really good to me, and the global success of ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is a real testament to their support, skill and commitment,” Holland said. “The legacy and future of Spidey rests in Sony’s safe hands. I really am nothing but grateful, and I’ve made friends for life along the way.”
For fans and critics, however, expectations for Sony’s solo Spidey iteration are mixed. The immense popularity and excitement surrounding “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” brings hope to some. But the memory of the Andrew Garfield’s lackluster reign as the Brooklyn webslinger, an endeavor produced and released by Sony, still leaves a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths. Sony also put out the Tobey Maguire iterations of the early 2000s.
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The addition of Peter Parker to the MCU improved Spider-Man’s popularity immensely. Not only did the MCU give him a critical role in its family, but it allowed him to grow to heights the character has not seen in a very long time — possibly ever. His incorporation into the larger universe, paired with Holland’s engaging performance, rejuvenated him and turned him into one of the best-loved members of the Avengers, as well as a strong solo force.
Perhaps Sony’s involvement in the MCU has taught them what it will take to continue this momentum with the character. After all, the artistry and entertainment value of “Into the Spider-Verse” should surely tell audiences something about what they can expect from Peter Parker’s future.
Only time will tell, but one thing is sure — with great power comes great responsibility, and Sony has taken on a considerable amount with this step.