As our readers probably know, Disney isn't the only studio that distributes films that bear the Marvel banner. Their characters are scattered across the various Hollywood roofs, with Fantastic Four and X-Men belonging to Fox, while Spider-Man is at Sony.
Since the film rights for all these properties are under different umbrellas, it presents a win-lose scenario for comic fans. While they are treated to numerous Marvel movies each year (there were four such projects this year alone), it eliminates the likelihood that the franchises will ever cross paths - meaning that fan-favorite icons like Spider-Man and Wolverine won't ever fight alongside Iron Man and Captain America (unless some deals take place between the studios).
And according to a new rumor, one of those deals may be on the table at Sony. HitFix is reporting that their sources say there are some "very cool" Spider-Man ideas being floated around to help the studio put their prized possession back on track while establishing connections to the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Drew McWeeny, the author of the piece, indicates that Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) would like to use the complete library of characters and titles for their films, and if they can strike a business deal, they will take advantage and expand their world even more.
Before fans start having visions of Peter Parker swinging around in The Avengers 3, there's a lot to break down here. As HitFix notes, this is just a discussion studio executives are having right now and an agreement between the two parties may not even come into fruition. Right now, we can't confirm or deny that such a contract is being put in place.
Fans may recall that this isn't the first time these developments have been brought up. Kevin Feige confirmed that there were talks between Disney and Sony to feature the Oscorp Tower from 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man in the New York City skyline during The Avengers, but the plans were later scrapped when it was determined that the visual effects work had already been completed. This opened the door to a lot of thinking, since it meant that the corporations were at least entertaining the notion of a crossover.
Still, at the time, the general consensus was that the streams wouldn't be crossed anytime soon, due to Marvel Studios' extensive slate that is full of unconfirmed dates and supposedly runs until 2028. The overwhelming success of Guardians of the Galaxy has allowed Disney/Marvel to take more chances by introducing other "third-tier" characters like Doctor Strange as they progress to Phases 3 and 4. A crossover would generate a lot of buzz, but it isn't something that Marvel truly needs right now.
And quite frankly, the MCU probably doesn't have much to gain from inviting the Amazing Spider-Man series to the party. As readers of our Summer 2014 Movie Awards post know, this May's Amazing Spider-Man 2 was rather unremarkable as Sony tried to do too much hoping to set up their own "shared" cinematic universe. Its critical reception was the worst in the franchise (even below the maligned Spider-Man 3), as was its domestic box office total ($202.8 million). That's all a long way of saying: Your Friendly Neighborhood is considered by some to be damaged goods.
At the same time, one can see how this would be an appealing proposition for the powers that be at Sony. As they look to rehab the brand and build up excitement for Sinister Six, Venom and the untitled female superhero film, making it all connected to the ultra-popular MCU would be a great way of accomplishing that goal. And while the terms of the alleged deal aren't known, it sounds as if the two studios would be able to keep their current schedules intact - with the only difference being an extra Easter egg or two.
Adding credence to this rumor is the fact that Marvel seemingly has a nice professional relationship with Sony (the polar opposite of the one they have with Fox), taking turns releasing flicks in the lucrative first weekend of May and continuing to feature the Web Head prominently in the comics, as illustrated here:
Still, getting along doesn't mean that the two will be working together. We still know as much now as we did when it was initially brought up, and viewers are all too aware that Sony is very unsure of what do with their tentpole superhero property after Amazing Spider-Man 2 struggled. This is in stark contrast to the well-oiled machine of Disney/Marvel, who has some big things in store themselves if reports are to be believed. There's a chance this is just one of many options Sony executives are discussing.
We're not denying that it wouldn't be fun to see Peter Parker join forces with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers against Thanos, but it might prove too difficult to pull off from a creative standpoint. Marvel Studios filmmakers already have enough trouble keeping everything in line during their own productions. Adding another element to the equation and considering the implications for an entirely different set of films has the potential to be more trouble than it's worth (for both companies, in all honesty).
Bottom line is, Disney and Sony may be better served going on their separate paths. The MCU is already in phenomenal shape and they're starting to lean more toward the cosmos side of the source material, which would make it difficult to fit in the Earth-bound Spidey. They'll eventually have to retool the Avengers roster once Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth step away, but that won't be for a while and when that time finally comes, the studio could have a whole new set of characters to fill the void.
Do you want to see Spider-Man in the MCU? Let us know in the comments.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be in theaters May 1, 2015.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is being planned for a 2018 release.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.