As Captain Ray Holt of Brooklyn Nine-Nine once said, “Never love anything.”
Well. It’s happened. Or at least it’s starting to happen. Or maybe it’s happening but not the way we think. Or maybe it’s not happening at all and this is just one big publicity stunt. Any which way, I think you all know what I’m talking about.
According to various sources, Sony and Disney have come to a stalemate in terms of their desired futures for the wall-crawler on film, and if there’s no resolution or further negotiations, the character will be pulled from the MCU, no longer to be produced by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. Instead, Sony plans to make two more films of the character with Tom Holland starring and Jon Watts directing, however nothing has been signed. Marvel and Disney have stayed radio silent about the news since it broke out, but Sony has come forward in an effort to enact damage control and seemingly save face in light of many people pinning the blame on them, instead pointing the finger at Disney, taking to Twitter and posting a short thread saying that they’re essentially keeping Feige from producing any films they don’t own. This, of course, refers to Disney asking for a larger piece of the pie when it comes to the solo films. Initial reports from sources such as Variety stated, “The dispute stems from Disney’s demand that future Spider-Man films would be financed on a 50/50 capacity,” however later on it seems the numbers have shifted from 30/70 according to Hollywood Reporter, to 25/75 according to Deadline, and so on.
As of right now, the comic book side of social media is seemingly engaging in an all-out war over this, with different sides threatening to boycott either Sony or Disney, either celebrating or raging over the news, and so on. It’s spawned so much attention that nearly every trending word or term was something Spidey-related, which doesn’t even happen whenever a trailer or a movie comes out. In short, social media has been set ablaze in a magnitude not seen in a long time, and it’s not going unnoticed. All this hysteria, all this news, all of it comes down to one thing, and one thing only: corporate greed. Not just from Disney, and not just from Sony. The both of them.
Disney, as we all know, is getting too big for anyone to handle. The Fox deal alone is the prime example, it shouldn’t have been possible in the first place, and the fact that it was is truly worrying. They own a huge amount of popular franchises that were either bought and molded into something new by them, or just created by them originally and capitalized on. Despite how popular they’ve all become, it’s still too much for anyone to turn a blind eye. So if it’s true that they asked for a 50% stake in future Spidey films, then it really is super unnerving, even if they were going to co-finance them. Spider-Man is Marvel’s most famous character, and so far, he’s been built up to essentially be the next crux and protagonist that anchors the MCU as a whole. If he and his entire supporting cast just vanish, especially after Far From Home‘s jaw-dropping cliffhanger, it couldn’t be swept under the rug. Audiences would notice, and it would hurt the MCU, both narratively and potentially financially. Risking all of that just for a bit of extra money is incomprehensible, to say the least, and it could be one of the biggest blunders the company’s ever made.
And in my opinion, Sony are just as greedy and culpable. At the end of the day, Marvel and Disney pretty much handed them their highest grossing film of all time on a silver platter, and instead of playing the long game and looking at the bigger picture, they seemed to have bolted at the first sign of rocky troubles. The name of Sony’s comic book movie game has always seemed to be studio interference, from doing it to Sam Raimi with Spider-Man 3 and the canceled Spider-Man 4, to Marc Webb with Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2, the writing was on the wall. Even more so with the latter, since the infamous leaked emails in 2014 showed all these overzealous plans they had to make their own Spidey cinematic universe. Even when things seemed to change with the Marvel deal in 2015, they still had that itch to succeed without any help, setting their plans for Venom, Into the Spider-Verse, Morbius, and others into motion. No matter what, they can’t seem to call it quits, and they very well may be on the path to repeating the same mistakes if they don’t coalesce with Disney. Both of them would suffer huge losses if this deal falls through, and neither of them can afford to take these blows to their brands.
Now what about the middle-man, Kevin Feige? No reports have said he was actively involved in the meetings, and despite speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the whole situation, he hasn’t specifically said everything’s all said and done. What I will say, however, with full confidence, is that I highly doubt he’s gonna be one to sit this game out and refuse to do anything. With all the reports of how hard he pushed for the deal to be made in the first place, it’s clear that the character means a lot to him, especially with how he pretty much got his start as a producer with the original Sam Raimi trilogy along with the X-Men films. I can also say, with full confidence, that if anyone can resolve the situation, it’s him. If he could get Disney to make Ike Perlmutter take a step back, as well as rehire James Gunn after eight months of limbo, he can probably get them to pull back and reconvene with Sony. Maybe it’s the optimist in me talking, maybe it’s the shill, but I truly feel like this whole situation is far from over, and Spidey won’t leave the MCU without a fight.
As for me and what I personally think and hope for? Essentially, I think the whole situation is fishy and makes no sense. Sony and Disney are both greedy, but it’s incredibly unlike Disney to just let a super popular character go quietly without further attempts to seal a deal. Also, Sony looking to do two more Spidey movies with Tom Holland is nearly impossible to keep from being confusing. They’d have to change so much about his Peter in order to fit outside of the MCU, and even then people would still be confused. There’s no way they’d succeed in that type of situation. Even Tom Holland in the past couple of days has seemed strangely optimistic, especially in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, despite a 2017 interview with Collider that’s been reposted by Comicbook.com showing him say that he’d “never give up his ticket to the MCU.” It feels like what’s happening is that both Sony and Disney are actively trying to use the media and social media to pull power moves and vice grips on one another, hoping to make the other budge. One, or both of them will need to blink soon, with or without help from Feige and others, and reconvene to broker a new deal. Either that, or this really is the end and both parties just screwed up big-time.
So what’s the moral of this story, kiddos? The greed of corporations ruins stuff for everyone, that’s what. I understand all of those who are happy with this or just have no feelings towards it. It’s totally fine, and nobody should make them feel like bad people over something like this. However, it’s just incredibly messy and disheartening to hear all of it. The past four years have, in my opinion, been truly exciting and special when it comes to this character in live action. While we all have our disagreements, seeing yet another live action iteration of Peter Parker get his story nipped in the bud due to corporate intervention is frustrating, and the constant rebooting will only teach us to not be attached to any new versions of the character since he won’t be around after a good while. If we’re getting yet another reboot, we might as well just start from scratch and toss Peter aside for someone like Miles, Miguel, Jessica, Gwen, Cindy, and so on. Either continue this Peter’s story in the MCU, or just go with new characters altogether. All in all, until Marvel and Disney make official statements saying the deal is truly dead, I’m gonna have hope. Until then, once again, “Never love anything.”