Ever since Marvel launched its shared movie universe, many fans have dreamed about seeing characters like the X-Men, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four join Iron Man and the rest of The Avengers in various cinematic adventures. It would be great fun to see these characters crossing paths as they regularly do in the comics, but the big screen reality is complicated due to different movie studios owning the movie rights to these cash cow franchises.
The record-setting box office take of The Avengers proved that audiences crave this kind of movie team-up, and the subject of crossovers has been addressed by various parties in the past year or so. Hugh Jackman publicly mused that he'd love to share the screen with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man (and "kick his ass."), X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner loves the idea of an X-Men/Avengers team-up, and while Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige essentially told everyone not to hold their breath, fans continue to wonder if it could someday happen.
If it was up to Avi Arad, however, Spider-Man and the Avengers would never meet on the silver screen. Arad is a former Marvel Studios executive and remains a producer on the studio's various films, with a focus on Sony's rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. Arad and producer Matthew Tolmach recently spoke to TotalFilm (via CBM) about the possibility.
Here's what Arad had to say:
"I for one don't see the value for us in it. I think we're doing such a good job with the Spider-Man Universe. Spider-Man is arguably the number one character in the world. He shouldn't make a cameo."
Arad appears to have retracted his position a bit, though, having later said that the idea would be possible if they found:
"a natural alliance for some reason...I cannot talk for Sony."
So Arad is clearly not speaking for the studio, which might mean the possibility remains alive. Still, Tolmach - who produced The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and is working on the Venom and Sinister Six spinoffs - chimed in with his point of view:
"The practical side of it is, look, how many movies have we just talked about? It's all we can do to build that universe. We're not going beyond that."
From a practical, pragmatic point of view, it's true that Sony, Arad, Tolmach and the rest of the creative team involved in developing a shared movie universe based on The Amazing Spider-Man have their hands full and plenty of characters and storylines to work with without negotiating with Marvel Studios or Fox about how and where they'll be able to merge onscreen. Not to mention navigating the various schedules, salaries - and egos - of the stars of the franchises involved.
As for Arad's comment on the "value" - he's speaking about the studio and it's willingness (or lack thereof) to share the profits and spotlight with any other franchise or studio. There would be tremendous value for fans of the characters and movies, and a potentially rewarding opportunity for the writers and directors to explore the facets of these different franchises. It's very clear, however, that the Spider-Man, X-Men and Avengers movie universes are heading in very different directions. A crossover on this scale could happen in some form, eventually, but don't expect it anytime soon.
What do you think? Do you want to see Spider-Man and the Avengers meet up on the big screen?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be in theaters on May 2nd, 2014. The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be released on May 1st, 2015.