“Mr. Feige… I don’t feel so good”
We should have known that this was going to happen. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time and yet we ignored it. Call it true believer optimism or just the logical thought process of continuing a smart business plan that brings in billions of dollars. We allowed ourselves to get comfortable even though we should have been weary. This was always a relationship that was kind of rocky. You know the kind, where one minute everything is sunshine, rainbows, kisses in public and the very next moment you’re waking up in a bathtub full of ice and are missing a kidney. You should have seen the signs but bliss tends to blind us from what’s happening behind the scenes. The cracks that lay underneath the surface waiting to bring everything crashing down.
Sony, as of this moment, has parted their business plan with Disney/Marvel meaning that Spider-Man no longer is apart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s done. He’s gone. Unless a new agreement can be reached, Spider-Man Far From Home will be the last time you see Spider-Man in the MCU. Let that sink in for a second. Process what’s being said here because it’s the cold, dark truth. If you thought watching Peter Parker turn to dust in Infinity War was bad, and it was one of the most painful moments of my adult life, this is about to be a whole lot worse.
Yet, why are we surprised? Sony has been convinced that they can carry this entire Spider-Man Universe without Marvel or… Spider-Man. A universe where characters like Kraven the Hunter, Morbius, Black Cat, and Venom can exist outside the expanded Marvel Universe. An expanded Spider-Man Universe without Spider-Man. Such a ridiculous notion. It’s like making a steak dinner without including the steak. With Marvel/Disney using Peter Parker within the MCU these movies would stand kind of like a middle finger to the House of Mouse. A, “see, we don’t need you to be successful” which is a fine way of thinking despite how silly it is. As a life long Spider-Man fan, I know the only reasons why characters like Kraven and Black Cat work is because of Spider-Man! I don’t want to see a Kraven the Hunter movie if it’s not the classic storyline of Spidey in the black suit. I don’t want to see a Morbius the vampire movie with Jared Leto… like, at all. These characters need Spider-Man to be effective and the worst possible thing that could have happened for Marvel/Disney was the success of Venom.
For reasons unknown to me, Venom made a killing at the box office. Something around eight hundred fifty million or so. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve seen Venom, it’s trash. I’m not saying it’s not an enjoyable movie experience because it is. But it’s enjoyable in the sense that you can make fun of it while it’s on the screen. That’s how terrible it is. You can’t take it seriously and halfway through you start hoping that Spider-Man doesn’t show up because you’re an overprotective parent and don’t want him hanging around a crowd like this. Numbers are numbers though and by all means, Venom was a success. A success that didn’t have Spider-Man in it. You can almost hear Sony ripping Peter Parker out of the MCU, but there were film obligations to be had first.
Now that those obligations are complete it looks like Sony is going to get their Spider-Man Universe after all. It was announced today that after some negotiations, if you could even call them that, Sony has decided to take back Spider-Man. I use the term negotiations loosely because it’s being reported by Deadline that Marvel/Disney offered a 50/50 split in profits (Sony currently takes in 100%) and Sony said “nope”. Just like that. They didn’t even hit Marvel with a counter offer. That’s insanity!
Listen, folks, I love Spider-Man but even I can admit the movie franchise was as dead as Uncle Ben before Marvel breathed new life into it. Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a trainwreck of a movie that failed on epic levels. Epic. I would argue the only thing that movie did right was the whole Gwen Stacy ending but even that was shoehorned in for shock value. In short, Sony had run the franchise into the ground. A once proud superhero movie, one of our greatest superheroes ever, was bombing at the box office and Sony was fully responsible for this.
Don’t forget before Marvel/Disney offered the partnership for Spider-Man, Sony was struggling big time. They took a massive hit during the e-mail scandals and had even fired the head of the production company. In a lot of ways, Marvel bailed Sony out. As a matter of fact, Far From Home is the highest-grossing Sony movie ever. Do you think that happens without the involvement of Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios? Sony had shown that they had no idea how to handle the character and within a couple of years, Feige and team turned him into a billion-dollar franchise. That’s nothing but profit for Sony so to see them walk away from the table without making a counteroffer is bonkers. Are you that confident in your ability to make a good Spider-Man movie outside of the MCU? Please show me the source of this confidence? Please, I’m being serious.
What happens now? Tom Holland and director Jon Watts are under contract for two more Spider-Man movies just now those movies won’t be apart of the MCU which means we could be in for yet another soft reboot of Spider-Man. That means no Tony Stark, no Avengers, no Nick Fury and if you don’t think that that’s bad I don’t think you’re seeing the far-reaching implications here. Where did Peter Parker get his suit designs? Tony Stark. How can he have Stark suits in a Sony Universe where Stark doesn’t exist? Any future Sony films can’t acknowledge anything that happened in Civil War, Infinity War, or Endgame because they don’t have the rights to those happenings. Suddenly you’re looking at a scenario where we’re probably going to have to watch Uncle Ben die… again. And I’ll be honest Geeklings, I’m over it.
Just because Sony will continue the character with the same actor doesn’t mean that he’ll be the same. In fact, chances are he won’t be the same. At all. It’ll be a water-downed version of something we’ve grown to love. I haven’t been shy in stating that Tom Holland is the live-action Spider-Man I’ve been hoping for my entire life and he deserves better then what’s about to happen to him.
Is this something that can be fixed? Of course, it can. Sony is clearly trying to play hardball here in the hopes that Marvel comes back with a lower percentage offer but that’s not going to happen. There is no way Disney, owner of the free world, comes back with a lower number losing all leverage. The MCU will be fine without Spider-Man, as sad as that may sound. They can Doctor Strange him out or throw him in a multiverse and it’ll be like he never existed. Sony on the other than will constantly live in the shadow of the MCU. Fans were shown how great Spider-Man movies can be and you’re going to take that away from them because of money? What’s half of a billion dollars? A shit ton of money.
Sure, you can make the argument that Sony paid all the production costs and yeah I’m sure that’s a lot of money but does it even matter when Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios, and Disney are making you a billion-dollar movie? It’s not like the studio was losing money on Spider-Man like they were before Marvel got involved.
At this point I fully expect Marvel to play it cool. Disney Expo is this weekend and I would be very surprised if this is even mentioned. I think Feige and Disney would prefer the fan backlash to speak for itself. It is already being reported by i09 that a Sony representative is stating that the issue is about Feige getting a producer credit on the films and not money. If that’s the case please get over yourself. Feige has actually assisted on a few Sony movies and hasn’t gotten any credit. I would hate to believe that Sony is really this shallow, but a representative already making a comment doesn’t bode well for Sony. The backlash has been immediate and without mercy. Venom can make a killing at the box office but fans want to see him brought into the MCU, they don’t want to see Spider-Man brought into this Sony Universe.
I want to believe that a deal can be reached and Sony making a comment this quickly allows room for optimism. But as of right now… I don’t feel so good. And either should any Spider-Man or MCU fan.