The dust still has not settled over the shocking news last week that Spider-Man is leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). So much for making Spider-Man: Far From Home earn over $1 billion to keep Spidey in the MCU! As we all digest this huge turd sandwich and cling on to every nugget of hope that Sony Pictures and Disney/Marvel Studios can still work out a deal, it’s time to face reality and ponder on what happens next for our favorite Wall-crawler in live-action films.
As mentioned in the previous post, actor Tom Holland still is contracted to do one more Spider-Man film and right now plans for that film are going forward from Sony. The film studio has the right to do a Spider-Man film without Disney’s blessing but obviously, cannot have it connect to the successful MCU. Sony may feel they can get along fine without the MCU and it may very well be the case, but it’s a dangerous gamble now. The animosity towards Sony by many fans is well documented with campaigns starting to boycott any Sony Spider-Man or related film. The question is will this anger keep up next year when Morbius and Venom 2 premiere? If both films falter or just earn less than expected in the box office then it can be attributed to fan backlash and can force Sony back to the negotiating table. This may not happen but then again look at Solo: A Star Wars Story and the backlash it received for The Last Jedi.
One no-brainer way to entice Spider-Fans to make Venom 2 a success is to shoehorn in Spider-Man now that Sony has him. One thing the studio has in its favor is that many fans are dying to see Spider-Man meeting Venom and fighting Carnage. Yes, the two characters fought each other in Spider-Man 3, but that version of Venom was poorly received. The Tom Hardy version was a hit with with fans though the film Venom was not as well thought of. If Spider-Man and Tom Holland are forced to appear in Venom 2 do the filmmakers have the skills to make it an organic appearance rather than an obvious cash grab? We’ll see.
If an MCU-less Spider-Man film goes through, what will it be like? Well for starters, say goodbye to the popular Iron Spider suit and even the other suits seen in recent films. Those outfits were created using Tony Stark technology and there isn’t anyway Disney will allow those suits to be used. In that case, if Holland is starring, what does this mean for the other characters and actors? Well, we can probably count on J.K. Simmons to show up as J. Jonah Jameson and that’s about it. All the other actors like Marissa Tomei, and Zendaya are out and their roles will be recast. In a sense, the third Tom Holland Spider-Man film will be a reboot. Plus, there isn’t any guarantee Holland will want to continue the role after his obligation is met. There are signs this may happen. It’s been reported that the actor unfollowed Sony in social media and he has professed in the past his love for the MCU, so he cannot be faulted for walking away from the role that made him famous. So, yet another reboot and recasting will follow. Here we go again with Uncle Ben being killed!
Will the next film conclude the story teased at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home? It’s possible, but it would force audiences to ask too many questions about the rest of the MCU. So, do not be surprised if we never get a conclusion to the cliffhanger where Mysterio exposed Spider-Man’s secret identity to the world. What makes this even worse is the fact that film executives allowed this to happen. Supposedly, Sony and Disney were negotiating for months and things were not going well. If that was the case, why end Spider-Man: Far From Home with a cliffhanger? This only enrages fans who are invested in the character and does not create good will towards future Sony Spider-Man films.
Can the film studio churn out quality films? Sure, look at Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It would be terrific if they can produce a live-action version of the film featuring all the past actors who played Spidey. The best hope is that executives behind that film, Chris Miller and Phil Lord are put in charge and Sony honchos Avi Arad and Tom Rothman stay out of the way. Those two execs are responsible for butchering the Sony Spider-Man films (Arad) and the Fox X-Men films (Rothman). It was Arad who forced director Sam Raimi to use Venom in Spider-Man 3 and Rothman was behind the rushed X-Men: The Last Stand and the moronic decisions and cost-cutting in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Now that Sony has Spidey all to themselves, they can go hog wild with introducing every single character that has appeared in Spider-Man comic books. Just picture The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and its clumsy worldbuilding times 1,000. Expect Sinister Six and other villains solo films, maybe even that stupid Aunt May/Super Spy film will be produced. Basically, expect diminishing returns for each Spider-Man film and related spinoffs as the character is diluted by Sony. At least they cannot produce any Spider-Man TV shows. Disney owns the rights and there isn’t anyway they will allow this.
Maybe by that time, Sony will tire of Spidey and sell the rights back to Disney, who will have to retool him in the same way they are doing with the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Or Sony Pictures could be sold and Spider-Man’s rights will revert to Disney, or maybe cooler heads will prevail and a deal can be struck. Disney has shown in the past that they are great at playing the long game. As great a character as he is, Spider-Man is not crucial to the continued success of the MCU. Hey, maybe this will free up a slot for that third Ant-Man film.
The bottom line is that Sony and Disney will continue to butt heads as long as Sony feels the character is profitable to them. All fans have to do is stop paying to see these upcoming films and Sony will pay attention. It worked with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it can happen again and we can get Spider-Man back to the MCU where he belongs much sooner.