Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures officially announced on February 9 that Spider-Man, the beloved flagship superhero of Marvel Comics, will now be a part of the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s clear that the rumors and email leaks about this happening were valid.
This development obviously paves the way for Spider-Man to appear in other MCU films like Avengers: Infinity War and give Marvel tighter control over the character. In addition, this agreement between the two studios will also allow for characters from the MCU like Iron Man or Thor to appear in standalone Spider-Man films.
First the plan is for Spider-Man (who sadly will be recast–goodbye Andrew Garfield, you were a great Spidey) to appear in an unspecified future MCU film. Then another solo Spider-Man film will be released on July 28, 2017 that will be a co-production between the two studios with Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal overseeing the film. The announcement didn’t make clear which film Spider-Man will appear in, but undoubtedly he is a shoo-in for Avengers: Infinity War, Part I. That film is due to come out in 2018 so that means he can probably make his debut appearance in next year’s Captain America: Civil War! That would be just amazing (pardon the pun) since Spider-Man was an integral part of the comic book mini-series of the same name last decade. UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has reported that Spider-Man will indeed make his MCU debut in the third Captain America film.
From glancing at the MCU and Sony’s original film schedule, the next Spider-Man film, originally scheduled for 2018, has been bumped up a year earlier. The new schedule pushes back the new Thor film, Thor: Ragnarok, to November 3, 2017 and the Black Panther debut film will now come out in 2018. The domino effect continues as Captain Marvel will now premiere on November 2018 and the Inhumans movie has been re-scheduled for 2019.
One film that may have been lost altogether is the Sinister Six film that was supposed to come out next year and directed by Drew Goddard. In the joint announcement there wasn’t any mention of that movie’s fate, which was to feature Spider-Man’s greatest foes teaming up to defeat him. Perhaps Goddard may be assigned to direct the next Spider-Man film instead.
Also unclear is whether or not plans to do a film about the Black Cat will go forward. Given the crowded production plate, there may not be any room for that character now, which is probably for the best. While a vital character in the Spider-Man mythos, the Black Cat may be unfairly compared to the more well-known Catwoman by average moviegoers who don’t follow comics.
Overall, this is hands down very exciting news that pumps new blood into the floundering Spider-Man film franchise. Now he is back where he belongs with the right people making sure we get the best Spider-Man on film. And that is how it should be because Spider-Man is Marvel’s best known and popular superhero. So, it only makes sense that Marvel Studios handle Spider-Man. Just look at what they have accomplished to date. Starting with Iron Man and continuing with Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel Studios have shown that they produce the most faithful and spirited big-screen adaptations of their superheroes. In the end, it benefits both studios. Sony still retains their film rights to Spidey, but pass on the logistics of putting out a quality film to another studio that has proven they have the talent to produce a topnotch Marvel superhero film. Marvel Studios gets a bonafide superstar added to their roster who can help pave the way for a Phase Four of their MCU because let’s face it by the end of the decade some of the actors currently playing our favorite heroes may either want to move on or be too old by then to realistically play the characters. Who better than Spider-Man, who will probably be recast with a much younger actor, to help spearhead the MCU in the future?
This development also demonstrates the tenacity of Marvel Studios and Disney. Systematically, they have steadily regained the film rights for many of their characters. With Spider-Man now in their clutches, the only big name characters not under Marvel’s direct control are the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Trying to regain the rights to the X-Men from 20th Century Fox will be much harder to pull off if not impossible given the frosty relations Marvel has with Fox and the continuing success the latter film studio has had with the revitalized mutant film franchise. That could be the main reason why Marvel seems to be de-emphasizing the mutant heroes lately. But as for the Fantastic Four…that would depend on how Fox’s reboot is received. If it flops, then Marvel has a stronger hand in getting them back. If it succeeds, then it will be quite some time before the Fantastic Four joins Spider-Man and the rest of the Marvel Universe on film.
For now though, let’s celebrate this film development.