A dispute between Disney and Sony has effectively removed Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Deadline reported on Tuesday that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige will not be involved in any further Spider-Man films. The decision comes as a result of a months’ long struggle between Disney and Sony over co-financing of future Spider-Man films.
The Deadline report notes that Sony currently has two Spider-Man films planned. As scheduled, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home director Jon Watts will direct.
Star Tom Holland will reprise the role of the web-slinger in both movies.
Sony’s refusal to share Spider-Man, one of Marvel’s signature characters, ends a deal that began in late 2014. In that arrangement, Marvel had freedom to use the Spidey within other MCU movies while Sony distributed solo movies.
Spider-Man made his MCU debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. That film, in turn, set up Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming the following year. Homecoming brought in $880 million worldwide. The follow-up, Spider-Man: Far From Home, has already taken in more than $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office.
Spidey also figured prominently in the previous Avengers films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The latter unseated Avatar to become the highest grossing film in history.
Deadline’s article does not address whether Sony will allow Marvel’s use of Spidey in other MCU films. But given the contentious nature of the standoff, that seems unlikely.
This isn’t the first time Sony has come to blows over Spider-Man. The studio shut down a planned fourth Spidey film from Sam Raimi, director of the original Spider-Man trilogy. Raimi cited creative differences.
The Raimi disagreement, in turn, led to the character’s first reboot in the form of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 starring Andrew Garfield in the title role.
Following the failure of that film’s sequel in 2014, Sony shelved its plans for its own shared universe.
Marvel’s revitalization of Spider-Man has been one of the few feathers in Sony’s cap in recent years. Reboots of Ghostbusters and Men In Black proved to be less-than-fruitful. The success of Venom is enough to give hope that this won’t be the death knell for Spidey’s cinematic adventures.
Sony’s rationale seems to be that they did good business with Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. And they did it without Marvel or Feige. Regardless of the track record, that’s hard to argue.
Only time will tell whether the web-slinger can continue to swing high at Sony without the involvement of Disney and Marvel.
All images courtesy of Sony Pictures.