This has been an absolutely monumental week in entertainment news. At any other time this year, Netflix producing a live-action Legend of Zelda series would have been the top story that people would have talked about incessently for weeks on end. But when Marvel announced that they have reacquired the film rights to Spider-Man, it barely warrants any notice at all.
That’s right. After five films, two lackluster franchises and over a decade of exclusive Sony control, everybody’s favorite wall-crawler will finally be returning home – kind of. Son certainly didn’t give up a multi-billion dollar franchise without a fight, and the admittedly complicated arrangement between the two studios keeps Sony in the picture, even if Peter Parker will now suit up with the other Avengers in future Marvel Studios films. So what does this deal mean for Marvel moviegoers?
Spider-Man will be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe before July 28, 2017. Why is it before then specifically? That’s the date of Spider-Man’s Phase 3 solo film. That leaves us with several possible films that he can appear in: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Captain America: Civil War is the likeliest canidate to include him in, at least in some capacity. Peter Parker played a monumental role in the comic’s narrative: revealing his secret identity to the world and having to deal with the fallout of that decision. But while he will invariably be threaded into that film, it might not be where he is initially brought into fold.
Since Iron Man, Marvel Studios’ post and mid credit scenes have just as highly anticipated as the films themselves: filled with in-jokes, teasers and world-building events that excite everybody from die-hard comic fans to action fans introduced to the characters through the films. I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if a quick casting call and some last-minute reshoots lead to an Age of Ultron post-credit scene either showing Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man or presenting him as an already fully formed hero.
Marvel and Sony will co-produce future stand-alone Spider-Man films. As expected, Sony isn’t quite ready to give up on the Spider that lays the golden egg sack. Amy Pascal, the Sony Producer who oversaw the previous five Spider-Man films, will represent Sony as a producer on all future Spider-Man films. Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will co-produce them, lending his considerable experience at big screen superheroism to a franchise that has perplexingly failed to find a lasting place in theaters since 2002.
Sony will have final say over all things Spider-Man. Although this is the most saddening addendum to the inter-studio deal, it likely won’t add up to much when all is said and done. While Son has undeniably botched their solo efforts with the wall crawler, they have had their share of success with him as well. They aren’t completely inept, despite what popular opinion on the matter might be.
But let’s face it, while the studio has face-saving veto power with the character, they will in all likelihood take Marvel’s lead in the matter. With Kevin Feige on board as a producer, and with his genre redefining success with the MCU, Sony – ever mindful of their dwindling film prospects – will invariably heed Feige’s suggestions on where to take both the character and the franchise.
Marvel’s Phase 3 is going to look a lot different than it was shaping up to be. Why exactly does July 28, 2017 ring a bell to Marvel fans? That’s because it used to be Thor: Ragnarok‘s release date. Thor 3 got moved to November 3rd, which used to belong to Black Panther. Black Panther, in turn, was delayed until Captain Marvel’s July 6th date. Captain Marvel was moved back to The Inhumans‘ November 2nd slot and The Inhumans was pushed back until after Avengers: Infinity War Part II.
Although some fans will probably be miffed that they have to wait longer to see Thor smash in Loki’s face or that there’s now pretty much no chance of the Inhumans showing up in either Infinity War installment, these changes are pretty minor in the gran scheme. No film was axed from Phase 3 entirely and no film was really delayed for all that long.
Marvel wants to keep to their “3 films per year” plan to keep from oversaturating the market and spreading their talent too thinly. I for one couldn’t be happier at their restraint in the matter. It’s far better to do things slowly and well than to hurriedly rush half-baked films into production (remember Iron Man 2?).
The Character is going to be rebooted (again). While no mention has officially been made of Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb or current Peter Parker actor Andrew Garfield, all signs point to them being out of a job. Neither have ever been especially well embraced by the community at large and the current franchise would never fit into the MCU as is.
While some have speculated at the possibility of casting a black actor in the role of Spider-Man (which is, oddly enough, not entirely without precedent), that doesn’t seem like it will be the route that the studios will go. In fact, rumor has it that they’re already looking at Logan Lerman (from the Percy Jackson films) and Dylan O’Brien (from Teen Wolf) to replace Garfield in Spider-Man’s next big screen appearance. While I would prefer a web-head that wasn’t quite so tweeny, the writing’s already on the wall that Garfield is out of the picture.