Update to article June 2020: Disney and Sony did reach an agreement to keep Spider-Man in the MCU as originally planned. Tom Holland will appear in the third installment of the Homecoming series as well as another, at the moment, non-disclosed movie in the MCU. Holland’s third film is slated to premiere on July 16, 2021.
But, this may change due to issues with filming or releasing new movies due to the Covid19 pandemic. It is possible there will be a delay in all MCU films. Black Widow’s anticipated sequel has been delayed to November 6, 2020. You can read my list of cameos I hope to see in Black Widow here.
In the meantime, you can read my Homecoming review here and my Far From Home review here. They are not nearly as much fun as actually going to the movies. You can currently rent or buy the MCU Spider-Man movies on Amazon, but it won’t be available on Disney+ because Sony still owns the rights.
Spider-Man Leaving the MCU: Who’s to blame?
There is a lot of speculation and accusations flying around. MCU fans mostly blame Sony for the breakup. They often cite evidence such as:
- Sony is developing its own separate franchise with Spider-Man characters to try to bring Spider-Man into their mix. Therefore, they sabotaged negotiations.
- Sony got a big head when it’s Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse film won an Oscar for Best Animated Film, which furthered their belief they can reboot Spider-Man… (Again, for a FOURTH time)
- Sony is just trying to hit Disney where it hurts because Spider-Man is being set up to be a central player in the next few phases of the MCU.
To back up at least some of their claims, fans who blame Sony point to the fact that Disney asked for an even split of the costs and profits for upcoming Spider-Man films. To many MCU fans, the 50-50 split sounds reasonable
But this does ignore a few facts. Namely:
- Like it, love it, hate it, or want to cut someone over it, the fact is, Sony does own the rights to Spider-Man. They can determine that a 50-50 deal is unfair, despite pissed off fans protests, threats of boycott, and newer threats to “storm” Sony headquarters.
- Sony did reportedly counter with a few offers that Disney declined.
- The original deal was for Disney to receive 5% of the ticket sales on opening day and all merchandising rights. Sony would take in the rest of the ticket sale profits. Disney’s proposed change could mean a reduction in how much profit Sony gained per Spider-Man movie while not giving them any access to merchandising rights… which if Space Balls taught me nothing in life, its all about merchandising, that’s where the big money is.
Those that support Sony over Disney point out Disney is not exactly the family friendly entity that it portrays in films. It, like Sony, is a major corporation that (unlike Sony) has near control of the creative film industry.
Who should produce the next Spider-Man?
At this point, the better choice for producing Spider-Man is Disney. They have a well-established universe and characterization of Spider-Man that fits into the universe. And wouldn’t it be nice to see a full Spider-Man story arch played out in a series of live action films?
That’s not to say Sony has not made some positive strides with the Spider-Man franchise. Sony had pretty good success with the Spiderverse cartoon and Venom.
And some fans point out that Spider Man 2 with Tobey Maguire was actually pretty good. Others go even further to say that the trilogy really wasn’t that bad.
But to be fair, Disney has no shortage of crap that it has produced. Many would argue Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one recent example.
But whereas most studios have their A and B rate movie releases, Disney has so many tiers of inferior quality movies that they move well past the A and B rate movies… pretty sure they may be on double letters now having moved past the standard alphabet… I mean, literally, a line of sh*t so bad they don’t even deserve to be considered a bomb.
However, their stand alone and ensemble Spider-Man movies are not on that list. In fact, they are some of the better movies Disney has made, not just in the MCU, but overall.
Who’s the real victim of Spider-Man leaving the MCU?
The real victims here are the fans who want to see how Spider-Man’s story will play out in the MCU. Spider-Man was just getting started with hints at some really good villains coming in the next Phase or two of Marvel’s grand plan.
Spider-Man leaving the MCU will undoubtedly change at least some of the narrative for Phase 4, 5, and beyond. Still, the MCU has more than enough stories to develop over the next few years. And even if the MCU fails entirely to live up to the expectations set up in the previous decade of films, Disney will go on.
Right or wrong, it sounds like Sony’s movie making could be in some trouble, at least as far as stand alone Spider-Man movies go. If the anger keeps up, MCU fans have threatened to boycott all Sony Spider-Man movies in protest.
Also, a key fact (that Sony seems to ignore) is a large part of Spider-Man’s success in the third reboot is the MCU’s leverage. At least some fans of the MCU have watched Spider-Man movies simply because they want to see all chapters of the universe unfold.
In part, that’s why Captain Marvel‘s first installment did as well as it did. Captain Marvel was largely flat and definitely not even in the top 10 MCU films much less best films ever. But fans feared missing a plot point for the greater narrative, so they went to see the movie anyway, despite mixed reviews.
And since so much of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man’s narrative relied on the MCU (which Sony cannot use in their films without a deal with Disney), Sony will have to reboot Spider-Man again. I don’t see that going over any better then the unfortunate rebooting of Ghostbusters a few years back.
What’s next for Spider-Man?
Obviously, all I can do is speculate, but here are some theories of what will happen next for Spider-Man:
- Theory 1: Both sides planned this to gauge fan reactions. Maybe Disney fears Spider-Man fatigue like they started to see with Star Wars. Maybe Sony wants to see how fans will react to them building their own little Spider-Man universe.
- Theory 2: These are both faceless, greedy as f*ck corporations who only give a rats ass about their profits. They may change their minds only if fans start to actually boycott both company’s products en masse.
- Theory 3: Sony names the next movie: Spider-Man: Kidnapped from Home
- Theory 4: Disney will ask to buy the rights to Spider-Man. If Sony says no, Disney will ask to buy Sony.