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What Happens Now For Spider-Man After Disney/Sony Remove Him From The MCU?

Life is never easy for Spider-Man, now is it? Last week, the agreement between Disney and Sony to share Peter Parker blew up, resulting in Spidey’s removal from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This comes hot on the heels of the second pairing of Disney/Marvel and Sony in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which just became the highest grossing Spider-Man film ever. What happens now, both for Disney/Marvel and Sony, as well as to the character himself? Where does the friendly neighborhood web slinger go from here? Your guess is as good as mine, but we can look into this a little bit today…

In case you’re not aware, here’s a bit of a primer on what’s happened so far here. The Marvel Cinematic Universe initially did not include Spider-Man, as Marvel had sold the character to Sony. They made the three Sam Raimi movies with Tobey Maguire, then the two Marc Webb ones with Andrew Garfield that weren’t as well received. That led to another reboot, this time in a deal with Disney/Marvel, where they would share rights. Newly cast Tom Holland would be introduced in the MCU and utilized in Marvel films, while Kevin Feige would produce standalone flicks for Sony to distribute. All was happy, at least at the start.

Variety‘s report on the breakdown of negotiations includes this bit on how it all got started:

“In 2015, Disney, Marvel and Sony announced a deal to share the Spider-Man film rights, which led to Holland portraying a younger version of Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Sony distributed the films in which Spider-Man was the main character while Disney handled the other titles.”

That deal had come to an end, with new negotiations on a team up beginning, though talks broke down. Variety‘s subsequent article on the divorce has this information:

“Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go it alone. As every fanboy and girl out there now knows, it will no longer partner with the Disney-owned Marvel Studios on producing sequels.

Fallout from the creative divorce has revealed a callous truth about Hollywood’s obsession with the bottom line: Studios don’t like to cut big checks, particularly when the recipient is a rival studio.

On Wednesday, Sony confirmed reports that the producing deal between the company and Disney employee and Marvel chief Kevin Feige would end. That leaves the franchise without Feige’s guidance and effectively removes Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige’s team had been credited with giving the character a lighter touch that blended wisecracks and teen angst in a way that was truer to the original comics.

Sony had been in negotiations to keep Feige in the fold as a consulting producer, but Disney — who just this year swallowed 20th Century Fox and all of its Marvel characters with it — left the table after Sony refused to increase its share of the profits. Some reports said that Disney was looking to essentially become a 50/50 partner in the series. Another insider close to the deal said negotiations came up for renewal as long as six months ago, and Sony did not move to act on a new pact. Others with knowledge of the deal disputed this, saying Disney made it clear it was no longer interested in partnering. The finger-pointing has been dizzying.

Several insiders said Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman was willing to give up as much as roughly 25% of the franchise and welcome Disney in as a co-financing partner in exchange for Feige’s services. When Marvel took on producing duties on “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2015, Disney negotiated for a percentage of first-dollar gross and licensing rights for consumer goods. While Spider-Man may never again appear in a Marvel Studios-produced film, the character will still be found roaming Disney theme parks taking photos with families and emblazoned on merchandise in gift shops.”

Right now, rumors have Feige pushing for the two parties to go back to the negotiating table. If nothing happens, then Spider-Man will no longer be in the MCU, while the sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home will not be able to mention anything MCU related. This isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, least of all the fans. Money shouldn’t get in the way, but this is Hollywood, so…you know.

Where does the character go from here? No one knows yet, but if a new agreement can be reached, perhaps Spidey can finish his MCU story. If not, both sides could suffer. Sit tight to hear if anything new comes of this debacle. This was just a table setter, article wise. Hopefully, I’ll have something new and definitely to report soon…

Stay tuned to see what happens to Spider-Man and if this marriage and be salvaged!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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