Look, the specifics of why Sony’s agreed deal between Disney and their shared rights to Spider-Man fell through probably has a lot more working in the background. But for the sake of brevity, the entire situation can be summed up with the following. Sony and Disney both agreed to play with the same ball (Spider-Man) as long as Disney acknowledges that the ball belongs to Sony and they agreed to the terms of condition. Then Disney started getting a little too handsy with the ball (negotiating for a 50/50 split between their co-financing situation). Sony didn’t like that, took the ball and went back to its court. Cool? Cool.
Obviously, this has huge ramifications for both Sony and Disney’s future plans and franchises. Right now, that future is looking fairly uncertain for what fate will befall Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Some of it we foresee for the better and some of it for the worse.
So if you’re done grieving for the web-slinger’s untimely departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), then it’s time we begin to discuss what this could potentially mean for everyone. Let’s swing!
Missing In The MCU
Right, so let’s address the giant elephant in the room here: Spider-Man might not be in the MCU anymore, which could be deeply problematic (keyword: might. This isn’t confirmed yet.) We all know that Tony Stark sacrificed himself to save everyone in Endgame, knowing that he had left a worthy successor behind in the form of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The seeds of this were sown in Homecoming with Tony taking Peter under his wing, and a foreshadowing of that fate in Infinity War with Peter donning his Iron Spider Armour.
In Far From Home, they further emphasize this point ad nauseam. There were scenes in which Peter and the media overtly discussed Spider-Man’s role as the “New Iron Man”. We see him surrounded by shrines and pictures of Iron Man to further drive home the point that he has to live up to the legend. Heck, he even gets a rock-and-roll suit up montage! It’s clear that Disney was setting him up to eventually become their next, big frontrunner. All that, as of now, could be throw out the window.
It’s not all chaos and mayhem though over at Disney. Based on the info released for Marvel Studios’ Phase 4, none of their projects seem to entail Spidey’s involvement. The direction the franchise is heading to is a definite departure from the previous phases with risky films like Eternals, Shang-Chi and Blade currently being developed. So at the very least, Disney has bought itself some time to sort this whole dispute out with Sony or prep for an MCU without Spider-Man. But they can’t hide forever, this is SPIDER-MAN we’re talking about here.
Eventually, the MCU is going to have to acknowledge his absence, that is unless Disney and Sony resolve their deal soon. One possible explanation that Disney could utilize to give our boy an out, if it comes to it, would be Mysterio’s reveal at the end of Far From Home. His identity is out there for the world to see and he was framed for destroying an entire city. He’d probably go into hiding for a bit…or forever. It wouldn’t be such an insane prospect. Disney could just sweep all the Earth drama under the rug and take the focus to space.
In a post-credits scene in Far From Home, it’s shown that Nick Fury is operating out in space with the Skrulls. The new Eternals film will undoubtedly be dealing with intergalactic beings like the Celestials and the next Doctor Strange sequel lined up will take him through the multiverse. Thor: Love and Thunder sees the Asgardian also out in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. We still have films like Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, Blade and Black Widow taking place on Earth but none of them have any real connections to Spider-Man. They could just say that they wanted to take the franchise in a “brave” new direction away from heroes on Earth,
Whatever they’re planning to do, we hope they either come to a clean compromise with Sony to bring Spidey back or at the very least come up with a decent explanation. But enough of the rat and his friends, let’s see what plans Sony could have in store for the character if they do decide to pull him completely out of the MCU.
Into The Sony-verse
If Tom Holland’s Spider-Man stays in Sony’s court, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll be working to incorporate the character back into their shared universe. In the past, we discussed the possibility of Tom Hardy’s Venom crossing over into the MCU alongside Holland’s Spider-Man. We even worked on a potential angle for the crossover and how the two characters could form a dynamic duo on screen. If Spider-Man is back with Sony, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to have him enter into the Venomverse instead. 2018’s Venom did surprisingly well, drawing in a box office of $US 855 million worldwide without a single mention of Spider-Man. With Carnage being teased in a post-credits scene, Sony is setting up Venom to have a franchise of his own.
Now, imagine bringing Spider-Man, a major name, into the fold. That would undoubtedly get butts into seats if they had a Venom-Spidey crossover film. We’ve already seen the whole Spider-Man/Venom hero-villain bit in Raimi Spider-Man 3, maybe it’s time for something new. Spider-Man’s a vigilante operating outside of the law and Venom is an anti-hero who is also operating outside of the law. I think the two would make for a great team. Hardy’s Venom and Holland’s Spider-Man, has a ring to it, doesn’t it?
Admittedly, Sony’s burgeoning franchise isn’t as grand and successful as Disney’s MCU but Sony has been a busy little bee. And not unlike Disney, they’ve been working on a cinematic multiverse of their own as seen in Into The Spider-Verse. Last year we saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse make a killing in the box office (though not as big as big brother Venom) and has garnered critical acclaim and near-universal praise. We have already established in the past that Spider-Man has some connection to the character of Miles Morales with his Uncle Aaron Davis appearing in the MCU.
So at the very least, Disney has flirted with the idea of bringing Miles Morales into the MCU. Perhaps they could roll Tom Holland’s Spider-Man into the mix as another version of the hero waiting to join the Spider-Corp! Will some contrivances need to be invented to accommodate for Holland’s Spider-Man into Sony’s cinematic multiverse? Yes but it doesn’t have to be jarring and I have faith that if push comes to shove, they’ll bounce back from all this fairly well.
Same Spider-Man, Different Direction
We sincerely doubt that Sony is willing to launch a reboot for a whole new live-action Spider-Man, so Holland is staying for now. That being said, Sony might want to begin distinguishing their new Spider-Man films from the ones in the MCU, which may result in some changes made to Spidey’s character and personality. A lot of Peter Parker’s journey to heroism in the MCU stemmed from his relationship with Tony Stark as his mentor and surrogate father figure. If Stark and the MCU are out of the picture, Sony will have to tweak his personality to fit their more grounded and gritty setting. What does that mean? Well, it probably means we won’t be seeing anymore futuristic Stark inspired Spider-Man suits. Peter is going to have to learn to be more independent and that may affect his outlook on life.
Now I’m not saying he’s going to be full-on Edgy-Peter as seen in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 but we may see him take life more seriously. He wouldn’t have an all-powerful benefactor or high-tech S.H.I.E.L.D backup to bail him out anymore. He has only his wits and his powers. He’s not alone though. There’s a whole multiverse of friends who could lend him a helping hand. Spider-Men from different times and universes. Some of them played by Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire perhaps?
Hey, it’s not impossible and it would be a way bigger cameo than J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson appearance in Far From Home. If deal’s dead in the water, then it’s important for Sony to set themselves apart from Disney in terms of characterization. Unlike Disney, they don’t have any constraints on the Spider-Man property. They should use it to take greater risks with their characters like the way they did with Into The Spider-Verse. Sure they might not have Disney’s fancy big budgets but they have a lot more creative liberties and a ton heart to boot.
People say that when a divorce happens, the children caught in the crossfire are often the ones who suffer the most. Let’s hope this isn’t the case with our boy Spider-Man. Right now, the future’s looking pretty uncertain for Tom Holland’s character but no matter what happens, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of him on the big screen.