The prodigal son returns.
It’s the moment fans have been waiting for since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was first established. First reported by the official Marvel website, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have announced a partnership that will allow the beloved web-slinger Spider-Man to appear in future Marvel films. This means he will officially have a presence alongside the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the hugely successful Avengers characters in future films. It is likely he will appear in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, whose original comic storyline featured Spider-Man heavily, as he finally revealed his identity to the world after 40 years of publication history. After this appearance, Disney and Sony will continue to work together to integrate the universes of the Avengers and Spider-Man together, looking for ways “to integrate characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the Marvel movies are known, into future Spider-Man films.”
The Disney/Sony partnership will affect the current Marvel release dates, pushing back the line-up to make room for Spider-Man to appear in 2017.
“Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal…. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.
The motion picture rights to Spider-Man were sold by Marvel Comics due to financial problems in 1985 and were shopped around various production companies and studios before they were finally secured by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999. From 2002 to 2007, the Spider-Man film franchise under the direction of Sam Raimi grossed over $1 billion before it was rebooted in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. When The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed both critically and at the box-office, rumors began that Sony was seeking help from Disney to revitalize the franchise. Their previously-announced slate of films, including a third Amazing Spider-Man film and a Sinister Six film were put on hold as Sony scrambled to rework their ideas. Furthermore, the Sony hacking in 2014 did the studio no favors and e-mails were leaked detailing discussions between Sony and Disney regarding distribution rights to the character.
Sony will continue to retain full creative control and financial, distribute, and own the new movies; however, it is unlikely that they will be able to create any major character and plot development without consulting the Marvel Studios braintrust, which has rigorously made sure all their films adhered to the same continuity and worked off one another.
According to a reporter for The Wrap, The Amazing Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield will not reprise his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
CONFIRMED: Andrew Garfield is NO LONGER Spider-Man. Someone new will be cast. First appearance in MCU, then solo film.
— Linda Ge (@lindazge) February 10, 2015
Producer Kevin Feige, who has produced and spearheaded the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception in 2008, said: “Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.”
CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, issued his own statement: “Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s great characters, beloved around the world. We’re thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building.”
Beloved by all, Spider-Man is a major member of the Avengers in the comics, often serving as the relatable kid among gods and legends. His sense of humor and relatability made him the poster boy of Marvel Comics and he quickly became Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s most famous creation.