Rumors have been flying for months about Sony and Marvel negotiating to let Spider-Man, a character owned by Sony, appear in Marvel movies. When emails leaked as a result of the Sony hack in December, though, it appeared the talks were dead. But a press release from Marvel last night announced that Spider-Man will be appearing in at least one movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as well as having his own standalone film in 2017. Complicated? Sorta. But here’s how it’s all going to work.
Wait, isn’t Spider-Man a Marvel character already?
[credits text=”The Geek Twins”]
Though Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the 1960s and ran in Marvel Comics, in the 1990s Marvel didn’t have a dedicated movie studio, and sold off Spider-Man’s rights to Sony. Though the studio now owns the rights to many of their characters, they’re still missing some major heroes, most notably Spider-Man and the X-Men.
Because of the deal, Spidey can now appear with The Avengers on-screen
As soon as the deal was announced, Marvel also announced that a new Spider-Man film would be released on July 28, 2017, pushing the other previously scheduled MCU films back a year or so.
It’s also expected the Spider-Man will appear in Captain America: Civil War, scheduled to be released May 6, 2016. The film is based on a Marvel comic arc from the 2000s that pits Captain America against Iron Man over the issue of the Superhuman Registration Act, a bill that regulates superheroes and essentially turns them into government employees. (Sound familiar, Watchmen, X-Men and The Incredibles fans?) Spider-Man also plays a crucial role in the series, torn between aligning himself with Steve Rogers or Tony Stark.
This isn’t good news for Andrew Garfield
When news first broke about Sony’s and Marvel’s agreement last night, commentators zeroed in on a single line from the release, saying that Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Sony’s Amy Pascal (who recently announced her resignation as Sony’s top film executive after the Sony hacking scandal) “will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger.”
Many saw that line and assumed the worst for Garfield, who starred in the first two films of Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Reviews for the films were mixed, and more importantly to executives, the films did not meet expectations at the box office. Now, according to reports this morning, Garfield will not be part of the franchise going forward.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 10, 2015
It sets the stage for some really interesting crossovers
If the Sony/Marvel partnership works out (and all indications are that it will), we could potentially see Spider-Man pop up in the Avengers: Infinity War films in 2018 and 2019, especially if he does appear in Captain America: Civil War as expected.
If the film holds close to the comics, it could also potentially feature another appearance by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as introduce upcoming Marvel heroes Black Panther and Captain Marvel, meaning we’ll have an Expendables-esque number of superheroes on one screen come 2019.
However, though the comic version of Infinity War featured members of the X-Men, unless Fox and Marvel reach a similar agreement to the one Sony and Marvel just struck (unlikely given their recent litigious history), we won’t see Wolverine in a Marvel movie soon. Super-nerds like us will just have to continue dreaming up crossover scenarios in the meantime.