When it was announced that Marvel Studios and Sony had negotiated a deal to let Peter Parker play in Kevin Feige’s sandbox, fans around the world were elated and at the thought. With Tom Holland appearing as Spidey in Captain America: Civil War last year, the hugely anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming just around the corner, an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War and an already announced 2019 sequel to Homecoming, things seemed about as great as anyone could ever expect.
Then Sony struck.
Recently announced Venom and Black Cat/Silver Sable films have been revealed to be non-MCU films. While nobody I know can truly understand why Sony decided to make Marvel films outside of the widly successful MCU, most of us had talked ourselves into a place where we decided we could live without those characters because there are so many great stories to tell in the MCU with many of Spidey’s other supporting characters. It seems that Sony’s Amy Pascal agrees, as she mentioned in a recent interview at CinemaCon when asked about the collaborative efforts of Sony and Marvel Studios:
“Because Sony and Disney and Marvel all decided that the right thing to do was to allow Peter Parker and Spider-Man to be in the MCU, and to work with the Marvel guys and have them produce this film, and I think that was a very rare thing for three companies to do and a very brilliant thing for them to decide to do because there are only so many stories that you know you can tell again and again and again about Spidey, and this is something that we would never been able to do in any other way. So, it was a very selfless thing that was very smart on the part of all the companies.“
That all sounds pretty great, but Pascal also decided to add this little tidbit as well:
“One of the things that I think is so amazing about this experience is that you don’t have studios deciding to work together to make a film very often. In fact, it may never happen again–after we do the sequel.“
One thing we can say about Pascal is that she sure can make two consecutive and incongruous statements as quick as anyone! So on one had these two massive corporations have done “the right thing” which was also a “selfless” thing, but working together to bring Spidey together with the larger MCU; on the other hand, it may never happen again after the 2019 sequel.
Now logically, it makes no sense for Sony to walk away from this deal. They have Holland signed on for one more Spidey-film beyond the 2019 sequel and, with the current structure in place, can work with Marvel to drop one Avenger or another in the two sequel films and guarantee highly successful films. They get to work with Feige’s team, assuring a quality product and they get to benefit from the financial windfall of having say Hulk team up with Spidey. So why would Pascal walk away?
Lainey Gossip may shed a bit of light on that, though if what they’re saying turns out to be reality, we are probably all going to be very disappointed. It seems that Sony, run by superhero hating cheapskate Tom Rothman, is not thrilled about the production costs of making a good film. Look upon the face of the destroyer of your dreams!
According to their sources, part of the budget angst comes from the return of Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in the film, an addition for which Sony is on the hook. Now as I understood it, the deal sounded like Sony could use MCU characters in their film. They would be footing the bill for the film, but also getting ALL the profits from the box office. Maybe the people at Sony were confused at how that works, but that sounds to me like if you approve a script with Robert Downey Jr. and Paltrow in it, you should be ready to pay them. And let’s be honest, adding Downey to this film might be the thing that boosts it over the billion dollar mark.
If Sony is balking at the investment to make a profitable film, maybe their minds will change in the wake of a billion dollar windfall. If not, it is possible, that as Pascal says, the partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony may come to an end (though likely not after the 2019 film as she insists since Marvel Studios would be foolish not to insist that Holland complete his initial contract). We can all hope for the best in this situation, but it doesn’t seem that Sony is following any sort of logical progression that I can find. Obviously almost everyone knows that this arrangement between the two studios is a dream come true and a seeming win-win. However, it’s possible that Sony may be the exception and walk away from the Golden Goose far too soon.
Like many of you, I’ve had plenty of day dreams about Norman Osborn stepping into the MCU in Phase 4 and becoming the looming threat we’ve seen in the comics, but I had also hoped for some adaptation of Secret Wars in which Spidey would pick up the symbiote. One thing that seems obvious about the folks at Sony is that they are missing someone like Feige who thinks along the same lines as many fans and thus delivers on many of those dreams.
What do you think about the possibility of Spider-Man heading back to his own universe? Let us know in the comments.