This month has proved to be a turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and more specifically for Spider-Man. When it was reported that Marvel Studios and Sony failed to strike a new deal on sharing the rights to the friendly neighborhood superhero, the internet went berserk.
To understand the drama with Spider-Man’s move to Sony, one must understand the complicated history between Marvel Studios, Sony and Disney.
In 1999, Sony and Marvel made a deal when Marvel sold their film rights for Spider-Man as a way to save themselves from bankruptcy. The deal? They would share the rights and Sony would be the sponsor.
To keep the rights, Sony had to produce a new Spider-Man move every few years. This explains the Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations of the character. As each series continued, the movies grossed less and less. This left Sony looking for alternatives.
Later, Sony struck up another deal with Marvel Studios and, after much deliberation, agreed to share the rights to Spider-Man. From this, we saw Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as a centerpiece of the MCU, first appearing in “Captain America: Civil War” and going on to have a spot in four more movies (two of which were solo Spider-Man films).
Earlier this month, when Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) and Sony met to renew their deal, rumor has it that Disney asked for 50% of future Spider-Man profits. Sony stood its ground and rejected the offer. Because of the disagreement, Spider-Man film rights were taken from the MCU and put solely into the hands of Sony.
On a positive note, Spider-Man’s character no longer has Marvel’s storyline limitations and Sony will have creative freedom to do whatever they want with the character. Sony plans to continue using Spider-Man but will avoid any references to the MCU.
Spider-Man will continue to make his way on screen and fortunately in a new dynamic. Until then, in the words of Norman Osborn, “Godspeed Spider-Man!” See you when we see you.