Fans who are following the drama between Sony and Disney regarding everyone’s favorite wall-crawler hoped against hope that some announcement might happen at D23. While that was always a fool’s dream, it’s starting to sound like Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU is not one they want to hear. From the comments made today by both star Tom Holland and Marvel producer Kevin Feige, make it sound like Spider-Man is really done with Marvel Studios. The Spider-Man fiasco cast a dark cloud over the D23 Fan Expo, Disney’s answer to Comic-Con and Star Wars Celebration. Both Holland and Feige attended to promote different projects. Yet, like Thanos, it was inevitable that they comment on this news.
Again, as far as anyone knows, the negotiations between Sony and Disney are ongoing, despite the recent impasse. You can check out our earlier coverage of the Sony and Disney standoff and where the fault lies. To sum it up: Sony keeps 95 percent of the gross from Spider-Man solo films, whereas they get nothing from Spider-Man’s appearances in other Marvel films. Disney wanted to share the cost of making the films, meaning they would get more than the five percent they currently get from the solo films. What Disney asked for remains uncertain, some say they asked for 50 percent and others say they asked for 25 or 30 percent. Either way, Sony said “no,” and the negotiations fell apart. (Also, worth noting, Disney gets 100 percent of the profits from all Spider-Man merchandise.)
Tom Holland and Kevin Feige Finally Go On-Record About Spidey
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Kevin Feige attended D23 to promote the upcoming Marvel slate of films, including announcing the release date for Black Panther 2. Tom Holland attended to promote Onward, an animated film he lends his voice to with fellow Avengers alum Chris Pratt. While neither mentioned Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU directly. Holland did end his appearance with an apparent reference to the controversy. “It’s been a crazy week,” he said, “ but I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart, that I love you ‘3000.’” Later, Entertainment Weekly spoke to Holland and Feige to get their specific reactions to this news.
First, they spoke to Holland who confirmed that he’s going to continue to play Spider-Man no matter what the character’s fate in the MCU will be.
“Basically, we’ve made five great movies…. It’s been five amazing years. I’ve had the time of my life. Who knows what the future holds? But all I know is that I’m going to continue playing Spider-Man and having the time of my life. It’s going to be so fun, however we choose to do it. The future for Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we’ll find new ways to make it even cooler.”
How they will continue to tell the story of this version of Peter Parker remains confusing. Characters like Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, or any of the MCU bit-players will be unable to appear in future installments. Similarly, the character will likely be unable to mention “Tony Stark” or even refer to the events of the Avengers or previous Spider-Man solo films. What makes it most difficult, however, is that they will have to develop the movie without the guiding hand of Kevin Feige. While he did consult on Sony’s Spider-Man movies in the past, it sounds like he’s done with Spider-Man.
“I’m feeling about Spider-Man gratitude and joy…. We got to make five films within the MCU with Spider-Man: two standalone films and three with the Avengers. It was a dream that I never thought would happen. It was never meant to last forever. We knew there was a finite amount of time that we’d be able to do this, and we told the story we wanted to tell, and I’ll always be thankful for that.”
As statements go, this sounds pretty definitive. While there always remains a possibility that Sony and Disney could work out a deal, Feige likely knows where things stand. If so, he doesn’t sound optimistic at all. Though, consider Spider-Man: Far From Home ended on a cliffhanger, it doesn’t seem like they got to tell the entire story they wanted to. Still, from the tenor of Feige’s comment, it seems like Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU is to leave it.
Tom Holland Stays with Sony, but Who Gets Custody of Jon Watts?
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Earlier this week, reports suggested that both Holland and director Jon Watts signed with Sony for two more Spider-Man films. Yet, while Holland confirmed he will continue in the role, Sony has no such luck with Watts. Watts did sign for two films, but the two that already debuted. Now, according to Deadline, the director can go with Sony or Disney. Marvel Studios remains impressed with Watts’ work on the films and reportedly hopes to keep him in the fold. If he signs with Disney, this means Sony needs to find a new director for their future Spider-Man films. Losing both Feige (and the MCU’s) influence and Watts present a challenge for Sony to match the tone of the character already established.
While fans mourn Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU, at least Holland puts a happy face on the saga. He seems as excited as ever to play the web-head, no matter who puts the story together. You can still hold out hope that Disney and Sony reach an agreement. D23 is a public relations event, so this is not the sort of thing attendees want to talk about. The finality in Holland and Feige’s comments may offer a clue to Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU, but it could be just so much public relations talk. They wanted to end those questions to promote what they came to promote. Still, things aren’t looking good for a future team-up between Spider-Man and the MCU characters fans most want to see him interact with.
At Keystone Comic-Con, Holland confirmed that a third Spider-Man film is in development at Sony, outside of the MCU.
“It’s not the end of me playing Spider-Man. There’s definitely more to come. We sat down with some of our creatives. We pitched Spider-Man 3, which is going to be something very special, it’s going to be something very different. I’m just so grateful that Marvel changed my life and allowed my dreams to come true and Sony allowing me to continue living my dream. It’s a crazy week and it’s never been done before so we’ll see how it goes and it’ll be as amazing and as fun.”
So, while it’s not the end of Tom Holland playing Spider-Man, it does sound as if Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU is already decided. Things could still change as its very early days, but Sony has only a few years to make a movie or lose the rights forever. And, it’s still possible that a third Spider-Man movie could exist outside of the MCU continuity, only to return for another film. (Especially, if this third film underperforms compared to the previous two.)
What do you think about Spider-Man’s fate in the MCU? Do you want him to stay, or do you think Sony can pull off a solo movie with this actor? Tell us in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.