Deadline yesterday broke the news that Disney and Sony were unable to come to terms on a new deal for Spider-Man to continue to be produced by Disney and Kevin Feige, meaning that Spidey is effectively out of the MCU. Since then Sony has come out with a statement saying “Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. 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”. They also go on to say “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.” So what does all this mean? Should we panic? Let’s attempt to break this all down.
First let’s talk about the deal breaking down. Deadline reported that Disney wanted a 50/50 split on the webslinger going forward rather than the 5% of first dollar gross that they currently get now. On first glance this does feel like Mickey Mouse is marching right into Sony’s office with his giant swinging balls demanding whatever the hell he likes because y’know.. it’s Disney and Disney always get what they want. Though anybody who watches comic book movies religiously knows exactly what Disney and Kevin Feige has done for the Spider-Man franchise. Before Tom Holland’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War, the Spidey franchise was pretty much in the gutter. Hardcore fans felt the character wasn’t being represented right while more casual fans were fed up with being force fed the same story time after time, reboot after reboot. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, Peter Parker’s introductory scene in Civil War managed to achieve more for that character in ten minutes than Sony had with five previous full length features. Since then Spidey’s interaction with the MCU has made him one of the biggest superhero names in the world once again and thanks to Feige and Disney, is back on his throne where he belongs. So is it really unfair for Disney to be asking for a 50/50 split? Not in a million years.
At the end of the day though, it is Sony’s franchise and they have every right to do this. But why have they decided to go down this road? Looking at the statement above they have definitely done everything in their power to push the blame toward Disney, especially with sentences like – “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.” They’re trying to word it like Feige is prioritising some of the newer IP’s over Spider-Man… have they watched any of these MCU movies? I’m guessing not because it’s clear for everyone to see how highly Feige and the team over at Marvel rate the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (spoilers ahead). Just looking at Far From Home, it’s clear to see that Marvel are more than happy to insert Spidey right into the now vacated Iron Man spot, pretty much making Tom Holland the face of the MCU going forward. So why on earth would Kevin Feige decide to prioritise other projects over this one?! It makes zero sense and adds more fuel to the fire that Sony just think they can do this on their own and have no interest in splitting anything equally with Disney. I have no idea why they think this.. maybe they like to take credit for the revival of the character, maybe they look towards the success of Into The Spider-Verse which was critically acclaimed without the support of the MCU. Either way Sony seem weirdly confident that they can do this alone. So what happens next?
A part of me still optimistically believes that this is nowhere near as bad as it looks. Neither Sony or Disney have actually confirmed that Spider-Man is out of the MCU, only that Kevin Feige will no longer be the producer going forward and in Sony’s statement they even talk about continuing down the path they’re on by saying “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.” But what does this really mean? Some have taken this as confirmation that Spidey’s still in the MCU but the individual movies will be produced by Sony’s team. This may be the case but why not just say that? Why not put everyone’s mind at ease and confirm that Spidey is still part of the MCU? Everything about this just seems fishy and definitely has me worried about the future of these movies.
Let’s say that Sony do go ahead without Disney and Marvel. Let’s also look at the worst case scenario and imagine that the agreement is completely dead and Sony have their third Tom Holland led Spider-Man movie hitting cinemas. So first thing first, Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan who has played a massive role in the first two movies will be gone without explanation. All mentions of the world changing events of MCU’s Infinity Saga will have to cease, leaving a giant elephant in the room going forward. Speaking of which, no more mentioning of Tony Stark. Hey no big deal right? It’s not like Tony’s character completely shaped the person Peter Parker has grown up to be. It’s ridiculous, the movie would be a failure in fans eyes before it’s even hit the cinema. Surely Sony are smart enough to realise this?
I hope this is the case. I hope the backlash (even despite Sony’s recent statement) is so strong that they quickly look at Disney’s 50/50 offer as something they can’t turn down. And that backlash has been strong. I’ve even found myself shouting and raving about how I now hate Sony and may look at buying an XBox in future.. hey I was angry when I first read the news, don’t judge. But this is the sort of visceral reaction Sony must be seeing. There’s a joke I’ve seen doing the rounds on social media about how Sony think they can throw Holland’s Spidey into Venom 2 instead of the next Avengers movie and it be just as successful, sad thing is that Sony probably was thinking this! I’m just praying that calmer heads prevail and the Spider-Man character gets prioritised over this stupid dick measuring competition between the two giants.. well, one giant and Sony. Either that or Sony see their stock price plummet and just go crawling back to Disney like everyone else. Yeah it’s not right but if it means I get my beloved Tom Holland back home where he belongs then I’m a happy man.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the situation has completely changed by the time you read this. It’s also worth noting that this weekend is Disney’s D23 Expo and Kevin Feige is scheduled to appear so fingers crossed he’s able to clear some of this up or even better, let’s hope it’s not something that needs addressing come that time. What do you think will happen going forward? Let’s me know in the comments below and pray with me that we haven’t seen the end of Spider-Man in the MCU.