After the Sony hacks back in December of last year revealed leaked emails regarding a possible partnership between Sony and Marvel that would incorporate Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), fans of both the web slinger and Marvel were understandably enthused with the idea of seeing Spidey on the same screen as other Marvel heroes. For many, the glaring absence of Spider-Man in the MCU is still one of the biggest blemishes in an otherwise spectacular run for the studio – but that won’t be the case any longer. Marvel and Sony have announced a partnership that will send Spider-Man back home, essentially opening the door on any current or future story lines within the MCU. This announcement should not only impact the Marvel landscape creatively, but also the scheduling and planning of other Marvel properties.
Just last week, studio chief Amy Pascal announced her resignation from Sony after a tough couple of months for her and the studio. And while many may see the timing of this announcement only a week later as an indication that Pascal’s involvement was somehow stalling negotiations between Marvel and Sony, that speculation is apparently unfounded. Through the new proposed deal, Pascal will retain involvement in the Spider-Man franchise as a co-producer with Marvel’s Kevin Feige. But before a new solo Spider-Man film happens – which will still be under the Sony label – the plan is to have Spider-Man’s next appearance be in the MCU, and speculation points to that happening in Captain America: Civil War as Spider-Man is a crucial figure in the comic storyline. If true, that would pin Spidey’s return to Marvel on May 6, 2016, which is the current release date for Civil War. After that, a solo film back at Sony is expected with a tentative July 28, 2017 release date.
Although the announcement is exciting for many, fans of the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man will be disappointed in learning that the actor is not expected to return as the webbed crusader, which was supposedly part of the terms that Marvel had initially demanded, the logic being that they wanted a new, not yet established Spider-Man to debut within their universe. However, there was no indication that Marvel was not a fan of Garfield’s incarnation of Spidey, as the decision seems purely one of practicality.
For Sony, who has retained the Spider-Man property since 1999, the franchise is the studio’s most lucrative. Marvel, on the other hand, has done fine without the web slinger, with virtually all of their current properties pulling in huge box office numbers. Still, the partnership should be mutually beneficial for both studios, as fans have clamored to see Spider-Man within the MCU for some time.
The announcement has already made its effect on other Marvel properties, as Marvel has announced new release dates for the following titles: Thor: Ragnarok will now be released on July 28th, 2017, Black Panther will now open on July 6th, 2018, Captain Marvel will have a Nov. 2nd, 2018 release, and Inhumans is set for July 12, 2019. The news, however, will have no effect on Sony’s upcoming properties, Venom and Sinister Six, which aren’t included in the deal with Marvel.