Why Spider-Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

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Spider Man and the Avengers Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

As Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe continues to find success – with Iron Man 3 launching Phase 2 to a total box office take of over $1 billion worldwide – we’ve also seen a number of other properties return to the Marvel fold. In some cases this is because the production companies who temporarily owned them missed the deadline for rebooting the property, allowing the rights to revert back to Marvel (see: Daredevil). In other cases, as with Sony and Columbia’s recent return of Ghost Rider, the properties have been sold back to Marvel because the other studios simply didn’t want to use them any more.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, given those recent precedents, that so much attention was given this week to a rumor that Sony was considering selling off major franchises like Spider-Man and Resident Evil in a bid to raise capital for their entertainment division. If this were true, then it would open up the possibility of Marvel buying back the rights to Spider-Man and potentially integrating the character into the Marvel cinematic universe.

So, is there a chance that we’ll soon see Spider-Man fighting alongside Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk, joining the growing shared universe of Marvel movies? In short: no. This is not going to happen. Not a chance. Sony isn’t considering it, and they never were.

The rumor has been thoroughly debunked by SlashFilm, and appears to have arisen from confusion regarding a letter written to Sony’s current CEO, Kiz Harai, in which major investor and owner of Third Point Offshore Investors, Dan Loeb, advised that the company sell a 15-20% stake in its entertainment division, in order to raise capital and prove the value of the division.

Andrew Garfield as Spider Man1 Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

The talk of Sony selling off Resident Evil and Spider-Man was based on the mistaken belief that Loeb’s proposal suggested selling actual properties, when in fact he was simply recommending that Sony sell stock in its entertainment properties. Whether or not they will actually decide to do so is still unclear, as Harai was pretty non-committal on the issue. In the report that started the rumor, over the The Register, Harai responded:

“Third Point’s proposal involves the way we manage a core business of the Sony group and the direction of our management. So the Sony board will give it thorough consideration before replying to Mr Loeb.”

Perhaps there will come a point in the future at which Sony is inclined to sell Spider-Man back to Marvel – after all, it’s hard to predict whether or not the franchise will continue to be profitable for the company, and how long the popularity will last. But the difference between Spider-Man and properties like Ghost Rider, Blade and Daredevil is that The Amazing Spider-Man netted a worldwide gross of over $750 million when it was released last year, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is likely to see similar success when it’s released in 2014. Including the original trilogy, the Spider-Man movies have made over $3.3 billion at the box office, and are currently the most lucrative movie franchise that Sony owns.

At this point, it would probably require a temporary break in sanity for Sony to sell off the property. To put the final nail in the coffin of this rumor, head of Sony Pictures Amy Pascal responded to the reports by telling AICN that she would “never ever ever” let go of the Spider-Man franchise, which she considers to be tied into the legacy of her time at Sony Pictures.

Spider Man 3 Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

Before you get too up in arms, Spidey fans: As we discussed on our Screen Rant Underground podcast, Marvel Studios holding all the cards is not necessarily the best approach. Marvel only has so much budget to go around in their film division, which means they can only make so many films per year. Even if you saw more of Spidey in the Marvel Movie Universe, that major franchise would come at the expense of seeing second-tier characters like Doctor Strange or Black Panther getting their turn at bat. And considering Sony and Marvel were once planning to merge their universes by having an Oscorp cameo in The Avengers, fans may nonetheless get what they really want: to see Spider-Man and The Avengers side-by-side.

Would you like to see Spider-Man return to Marvel so that he can play with the other kids, or do you like the fact that a few Marvel characters are being developed by other studios, away from the Marvel cinematic universe?

[poll id=”609″]


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in theaters on May 14, 2014.

Source: The Register [via ComicBookTherapy], SlashFilm and AICN.

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. I don’t care as long as we keep getting good quality reboots.


      But give us a quality reboot now.

  2. PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE put Spidey in the Avengers 2. It would be the icing on the cake. FIgure it out, but DO it!

    • Can you imagine how PERFECT his character would fit in? His comedy and his rebellious edge. He’d be perfect and IF RDJ doesn’t return, his wise cracking jokes could be great. If he jumps in A2 then you could really open a ton of dialogue where he gets to know all of these wild and crazy characters.

  3. I have no problem with Sony holding the rights to produce the Spider-Man franchise. I know opinions are split on the the Amazing Spider-Man, but I enjoyed the film and liked Garfield in the role as Peter Parker even more than Tobey Maguire. I’d rather another company produce Spider-Man movies than have it sit on the shelf at Marvel Studios or limit the characters they’re willing to greenlight for other films.

    Plus, I don’t see the need to integrate Spidey into the MCU any time soon. There is still a ton that can be accomplished within his own world that there’s not a need to cross him over to the Avengers franchise any time soon. I’m looking forward to the next installment & hopefully they continue to build towards an eventual Sinister Six plotline.

    • This.

  4. Sony won’t give up Spiderman huh?


    • hahahahaah

  5. Let’s put it into perspective guys. Marvel hasn’t done right by Spider-Man, even in the comics, for the last 20 years. Sony, on the other hand has portrayed him probably the best out of the two with the first two movies in the Raimi trilogy (look up Ebert’s review of the 2nd movie). Last I checked, Marvel’s pretty much done everything but kill the charact- OH WAIT.

    • Hey JP, that was the least intelligent comment I’ve ever read.

      • orly. One More Day, Clone Saga, Howard Mackie’s reboot, Brand New Day’s cluster of confused stories that never went anywhere for 3 years, I could go on. There were few memorable stories sure, but Marvel still does not hold Spider-Man in any high regard. Rather he has been reduced to a gigantic man child, which has been proven since they have not bothered to undo the events of One More Day. Superior Spider-Man has definitely been an improvement but only because the writer writes Doc Ock much better than he or anyone’s written Peter Parker since One More Day because in their eyes he’s pretty much a whiny brat that doesn’t hold himself responsible for anything anymore and is entirely reactionary.

        Bottom line is, Marvel does not understand his character and I do not want them touching the movies if they continue disfiguring his character in the comics.

      • Well what would you know? You are the guy that REPLACED Peter! I hate you! I HATE you! *cries* /Playfulness

    • Strongly disagree. The whole of Brand New Day was fantastic even if One More Day was garbage. Mark Millar and Terry Dodsons run was great too. I’m in the camp that likes superior spider-man too btw. Don’t worry it’s just a story

      • yeah i love superior right now!

  6. Yeah, there’s no way now – there was a chance if the Amazing Spider-Man reboot didn’t do well, but it did well enough, and I see the sequel doing better. Andrew Garfield makes for a good Spidey. So yeah, Sony’s got the character for the foreseeable future.

    Maybe it’s a good thing in a way. Marvel Studios has enough on its plate at the moment. Someday in the future I see it happening, but not until we’re all old.

  7. I don’t care as long as Spidey can be part of the Avengers..

    How great would that be?

    • 100% agree… especialy the part about Fox.

    • Agreed. Of all the properties I want to see go back to Marvel, its the Fantastic Four. I hope their next reboot also stinks badly enough to return it to Marvel.

  8. I never thought I would be reading about hedge fund titan DAN Loeb on Screen Rant but money talks. Dan Loeb just wants Sony to explore a spin-off of Sony Entertainment and possibly have an IPO. That way Sony unleashes more value for its shareholders. There’s no chance they sell Spiderman because it’s their most valuble property and it would really hurt an IPO of Sony Entertainment (if it actually happened).

    This is pure business and shareholders always want more value. We all know that Sony isnt doing so hot. When was the last time you bought a Sony product? Sony needs all the help they can get.

  9. Sony should give spider-man to marvel.
    Spider-Man is part of the mcu technically
    Sony and marvel studios did an animated movie.
    Oscorp billboard was shown in the iron man 3 mobile game.
    Disney is selling the freaking merchandise.
    Sony agreed to let Disney put oscorp in the avengers.

  10. In 1975, two books about a skyscraper catching fire were best sellers. Each was bought by different studios. Rather than make two mediocre movies, they elected to pol their resources, and the “Towering Inferno” was born. With money from two studios invested in the venture, they were also able to afford Paul Newman and Steve McQueen (as well as a host of other stars). With that in mind, the idea that Marvel and Sony might examine the potential of pooling their resources and creating a great cross-over movie isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It would have to be a really good story, however.

    • Agreed.

      This is why I want Spiderman to stay with Sony and why a massive global threat should bring both studios (and maybe Fox if they want) together for one huge series of movie events.

      • ^that is pretty much my nerd dream.

        • +1

    • Except that it’s an uneven, “pooling”. More like Sony pouring a bucket of water into the Marvel/Disney pool. Why on earth would Marvel agree to it? All it does is lend credibility to the version of Spider-Man that Sony created and help Sony KEEP Spider-Man, a character that Marvel should own.

      What you and others keep suggesting is counter intuitive.

  11. While I do want Spider Man owned by Marvel, I would want to see more then a few superhero movies a year.

    Why can’t Sony and Marvel work together on this? It would do great for both sides.

  12. Having Spiderman comically show up at the end of the battle scene in the Avengers would’ve been awesome. These companies need to stop BS’ing and work out deals.

  13. I honestly don’t think marvel would necessarily do it justice but I like where these new movies for Spider-man are going! Bring on the Sony and Marvel cross over!!

  14. I don’t really mind different studios owning properties but I would like to see spidey (Garfield) in avengers 2 or 3. Or at the very least reference that they do exist in a shared universe. I for one loved the amazing spiderman last year. Loved it a lot more then Raimis. And I can’t wait for the sequel.

    • +1

  15. I would say that the biggest test will come in the next few years. New characters being introduced that are not the all time favorites. If there was a way for Marvel to include some X-Men and Spiderman into the Avengers 3 /War World Hulk story arc that would make all the sense in the world. Seeing that the tide will change and the movie going public will most likely be uninspired for Magic and things they can not simply just outright understand. You would want to go out with the biggest bang. I know it would never happen but if they could come to some agreement perhaps Sony & Fox would let them borrow them for “Credit”. If they are in fact going to go all out with a WWH story, you would need everyone to really make the story work. Or even connect future movies with cross over cameos,say Iron Man Flying by in NYC or Spider Man talking to Shield, etc,etc. I know it is a long ways off. I just think its the bigger and better story but it can only happen once the Hulk, if only by accident kills a fellow Avenger. To set up the story arc of being sent away and betrayed by IronMan/Stark. Which is the better story since they are friends currently. Or whatever way they are going to go in the over all story. I would also like to see a better version of the Fantastic 4 that embraces and is “OK” with having powers and being Hero’s. I would also like see a Fantastic 4 , which they go investigate and use their powers to escape traps and being captured. Which is the story most people know them from the comic. The past Fantastic 4 seemed too cool for school.

  16. Sony is doing a pretty good job so what I DO want to see is a crossover… soon.

  17. Spider-Man belongs with Marvel. Spider-Man should be in AVENGERS 2. Time for ALL the fans of the comic book/movie world to petition and protest Sony into doing the right thing.

    • Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  18. Sony has every right to hold onto Spider-Man. Who is the most beloved character of Marvel? Spider-Man. Who gave the ultimate push towards superhero movies in the early 2000’s? Spider-Man. Who is arguably the most relatable character in the history of comics? Spider-Man.

    People would kill to see him in The Avengers, but Spidey can hold out pretty well on his own. When and if the quality of his films decrease is what will really determine if he ever finds his way into the MCU.

    • Very true. I hope the qulity stays high, no more SM3-like debacles.

      • they’ve learned their lesson…we all have lol

  19. I actually loved TASM, so I don’t mind Spidey sticking around with Sony.

    I know people would love to see him join The Avengers, but really, there are other characters who have been part of the Avengers roster for decades and deserve to be on the team a lot more (Spidey only joined recently), and with the way the characters are portrayed in the movies, it’s not the team is in need of a wise cracking, jokester.

    Right now I’m happy with the way things are. Marvel Studios is making great movies, and Sony is doing Spider-Man justice (well, in my opinion they are). Of course it would be a great bonus to have the character appear in The Avengers sequels, or one of the future movies, but it’s not something I feel ~NEEDS~ to happen (unlike, for instance, Black Panther finally getting movie-treatment)

    • I agree with you, it doesnt NEED to happen, but if it did, i wouldnt complain. Im a huge spidey fan, so even just a verbal nod to him in the avengers would make me happy. and Im not saying he needs a major role if he is in it, but if sony and marvel cooperated and let spidey jump in for a minute it would be monumental, just think of a moment in the next avengers film (assuming its another NY battle) and Cap has his hands full with some unnamed villains when *thwip* spidey jumps in and says “you go Cap, i got this! – cap says “thanks”- spidey says “everybody gets one!” the crowd goes INSANE. i die happy.

  20. I did not choose an answer (at the time of writing this) although I am inclined the last options of receiving quality films.

    I know for sure I am against Marvel gaining back the right for a number of reasons. While true I would like to see Spider-Man in a larger universe, there is simply no need for it in my opinion. While Spider-Man has had his number of run=ins with other villains and heroes from the get-go of his early years, the character have always been treated as a loner of sorts. He was not in the Avengers until only years ago.

    Movie universe wise, Marvel Studios is planning on adapting lesser known heroes and are limited in the amount of films to be made at a time. Marvel Studios had a couple of hits but they are far from perfect and some of their films feel assembly-line formulaic productions- adding another super star character and streamlining the production and divided resources between more films at a certain period of time would not end well.

    Another major complaint is people against Sony. Sony has only made four Spider-Man. The first was okay at the time of its released (it has not aged well though), Spider-Man 2 is still considered one of the better super-hero production to date despite its own weaknesses, and the Amazing Spider-Man is still successful if anything and renewed interest even if minimal. Spider-Man 3 (and to a lesser extent the first one) was the only one that while successful was downright terrible on a major scale. They did not bastardize the franchise as a whole such as the Ghost Rider or Fantastic Four films. Even X-Men films have claimed more controversy and that series has renewed interest at least and still going strong. In short, it could be worse.

    For those complaining Spider-Man could be done better and closer to his roots with Marvel Studios should also note the controversy of Iron Man 3 that beyond the film’s own fundamental flaws did not satisfy much fans with treatment of their characters. If Marvel Studios took a risk with a lesser-known character franchise that started the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe in the first place, what would make one think that Marvel would not alter anything of Spider-Man which is currently in its second rendition? If anything, they would feel okay about it and make changes and twist because the franchise was able to survive with different interpretations and bad film(s). Just because its in Marvel Studious, the film would not automatically be perfect.

    Personally I can see both sides MAYBE making some agreement to allow the characters to share screens. Possibly ideal in terms of dividing the chores of the film-making process but what about continuity? Iron Man 3 had minimal continuity in which fans wondered about while Kevin Fiege responded that it would answer in other Phase 2 films. Well a film should not defer to another film to answer its own questions of logic, especially if its by another studio.

    I want a quality film and I think Sony for now is an okay home for the Spider-Man franchise.

  21. I dont mind that spidey is staying with sony. If it went back to marvel we might not get a spidey movie for a very long time

  22. Everyone seems to assume that if Marvel had all their characters, we’d be getting everything we’ve gotten so far, with the addition of these other movies.

    If Marvel\Disney had owned X-men, FF, and Spider-man along with the entire Marvel line-up, the same as Warner had with DC, you know what we’d be seeing?

    We’d see Marvel making X-men, FF, and Spider-man movies, rebooting them every few years.

    But “Necessity is the mother of invention,” so instead Marvel had to developed second string characters, announce the Avengers, etc. Now they’re planning GotG, Ant-man, Doc Strange, etc.

    And as it is we’re getting more Marvel movies than Disney would do on its own.

  23. Just please give this franchise back to Marvel sorry Sony you failed !

  24. Let’s just dream a minute. How the hell does Spidey miss what happened in NEW YORK? I mean all of Iron Man 3 was about how Tony was messed up about it. They’d have to be like “Oh hey, Spidey was totally in a coma for like ever, while the city that he lives in AND SWINGS BETWEEN ITS BUILDINGS is rebuilt…”. Yeah, like Spidey isn’t going to know when buildings are all jacked up (from the Hulk and those aliens and their big ass whale alien).

    I want it so bad, but it’d be ridiculous for the story. While I would LOVE to see Spidey crack jokes about Thor and find his niche amongst gods and OTHER genetically modified humans, the story won’t work. We’re too far into Avengers and since IM3 focused ENTIRELY on one member’s reaction to New York, it’d be ridiculous to not try and reconcile Spidey and what happened.

    • heres how you reconcile: peter was not spiderman yet, as amazing spiderman takes place after avengers (it was released after also) which explains spiderman not helping. in amazing spiderman, there are construction cranes all over the city that help spiderman get to oscorp, those cranes are there to repair damage from avengers. boom.

      • That actually makes sense.

        • Except for the fact that Captain Stacy did not believe Peter when he said that Connors had turned himself into I giant lizard. I get what you’re trying to say but Captain Stacy and New York wouldn’t be all that surprised about a giant lizard running around the city if the Chitauri had previously invaded in the same movie-verse. I agree with Gfunkpalace, as much as I want it to happen there obvious plot holes that would need some SERIOUS fixing

          • Just because something like that happened doesn’t put into the realm of something that SHOULD or MUST happen. There has only been ONE instance of a human turning into something large and not many know about the Hulk. If there was another alien invasion? Sure, there’d be a continuity error. But Connors turned himself, a human, into a monster. And, if anything, the fact the mayor thought it was a possibility that there was a dinosaur running around New York is something. There isn’t that much of a continuity error. The biggest one presented was the Met Life Building still being there.

  25. I don’t know why everybody things Spider-man should be in Avengers. Spider-man is a loner and was that way for many years. Only recently, in the comics, did Spider-man join the Avengers. So does that mean you want Wolverine in the Avengers also? As long as the studios continue to make good movies it shouldn’t matter. It would be nice for cameos or a mention of other super-heroes in other movies though.

  26. I would love to see Spiderman under Marvel Studios because it would be a seamless transition from Spiderman to the Avengers (playing with the other kids).

    Same time, I understand the idea that Marvel would do well to find a way to have their franchises developed by other studio– actually no…

    If Marvel had a preference, they would take Spider-man in a heartbeat regardless of what people say about the Studios budget to create only a certain amount of movies per year. The Spider-Man franchise would pay for itself and THEN some!

    The other franchises are a different story (Fantastic-Four, solo X-Men movies like Deadpool, Wolverine, X-Factor, etc). Sometimes those can be a hit or miss, and they will probably take away from the Dr. Strange, Black Panther (If we EVER EVER get to see a damn over due solo film), or Hulk.

    Spider-man is not going to take away the opportunity at all, because this franchise is a sure fire money maker. It will pay for itself, and allow the Dr. Strange, etc to come out next month or a month before etc. It won’t effect Marvel, and actually will help it GROW!

    In the meantime, I like what Marvel and Sony are doing. They need to stop talking about it though and start doing it. As in having the next Spiderman movie, and then next Avengers movie begin integrating into each other’s worlds. OSCORP in Avengers, or a newspaper story of Spiderman. Stark Enterprises cameos in the Spiderman film. when the big Thanos crossover event happens, the cameos should come to a head where Spider-man shows up in the movie as at least a small supporting character (which he was in Infinity Gauntlet comic)!!

    • Having Spidey swing through The Avengers 2 or 3 is harmless enough (and you’re right, people will love it), but tell me, what happens in Amazing Spider-Man 3 or 4 when Doc Oc or the Green Goblin tries to destroy New York? Where are the Avengers? Why doesn’t Iron Man just show up and take them all out? Or the Hulk? Or SHIELD? And if they do show up, what the point? Why make it a Spidey movie if the other heroes save the day?
      Now, the same can be said about Marvel Studios’ movies (for instance: there are questions about why no one helped Iron Man in IM3), but as one, relatively small studio with a carefully laid out plan, I have faith they’ll explain the other heroes’ absences during that time-frame (as they have done so far).

      Therein lies the problem with different studios working together. Things will get confusing because the machine isn’t managed as tightly as would have been with a smaller group of engineers. Marvel might want to go one way with their stories, and Sony might want to go another with theirs… and that’s when things get too convoluted.

      Think of it as too many cooks in the kitchen… you end up with crappy food.

      • How would Iron Man or Hulk come in and just take them all out. Dock Ock has defeated the Avengers. He has had Stark beaten on his own. Osborn has also done this. The new sinister six defeated the recent Avengers team as well. Thor isthe only problem for Spidey’s rouges……

        It could easily go the opposite direction in which you claim.

      • See, those things are probably on the smaller scale for the Avengers. Doc Ock, Green Goblin, etc.? Psshhh…. They’re on the smaller level. The police can deal with them. Plus, particularly when we’re talking about the Avengers, SHIELD and the Avengers are likely going to beaten back pretty hard. It’s pretty difficult to help when you, yourself, aren’t doing so well.

  27. Spider-Man going back to marvel and being in the universe how? The amazing spiderman 2 has motorcycle that say stark industries on them and the stark building in the skyline and as mentioned oscrop was gonna be in the avengers it will in the second one (Webb didn’t have a rendering of oscrop ready for the first avengers) and ravencroft is the prison in their world. So if marvel somehow gets it back there would be 2 Spider-Mans running around Spider-Man and the amazing Spider-Man in there world and that wouldn’t work might as well add ultimate Spider-Man then have 3 of them running around

    • The motorcycle has nothing to do with TASM2. They confirmed that that was just some random person’s bike, with a Stark logo decal on, that was parked near the location where they were filming TASM2 (besides, Stark Industries doesn’t make bikes).

      Also, Stark Tower was never in TASM1, and Oscorp was never in The Avengers. There were rumors that they’d include Oscorp in the NY-skyline of The Avengers, but that didn’t pan out.

      There aren’t any ties between the two franchises.

      • Yes the motorcycle is not important but it puts them in the same world and in amazing Spider-Man 2 the stark building (avenger building) is in the skyline but my point was that. Spider-Man is already apart of the universe and if marvel got Spider-Man back that world mess up the eggs that they have already planted

        • I don’t think you’re getting the point dude… there ARE no eggs planted. Spidey and The Avengers don’t exist in the same movie universe.

          The photo of the bike was just a random person’s bike, parked closely to the set of where they were filming the movie (it might very well have been one of the crew members’ bikes… who knows)
          Point is, the bike won’t be in the movie.

          And again, there is no Stark tower, or Oscorp Tower, in either films. I don’t know where you heard Stark Tower will be in TASM2, but I’m pretty sure it’s just another false internet rumor (I could be wrong about that – I doubt it – but I could).

      • Except the Empire State University T-Shirt (that belongs to Sony) being in the Item 47 one-shot. There are ALREADY Easter Eggs!