When it was first announced that negotiations had broken down between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures and Spider-Man wouldn’t be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore, it seemed like a bad dream. MCU fans thought it was just negotiation tactics and expected the whole thing to blow over after a few days, especially given the very vocal fan response to the situation.
But now, it’s looking like the split might be permanent and Spidey might actually be out of the MCU for good. So, here are five reasons why Spider-Man leaving the MCU would be devastating (and five why it might not be so bad).
10 Devastating: He has unresolved plotlines in the MCU
If Spider-Man was leaving the MCU after some sort of natural conclusion, that would be one thing. If Marvel suddenly lost the rights to Thor, for example, it wouldn’t be too bad, because he reached a natural ending to his MCU tenure in Avengers: Endgame and we could live with that being his final appearance. Spider-Man, on the other hand, has a ton of unresolved storylines.
He’s been framed as a murderer, his secret identity has been revealed to the world, he just got together with the girl he likes, he’s still following in Tony Stark’s footsteps – now, all of those storylines will be cast aside and left unresolved.
9 Might not be so bad: Tom Holland is still Spider-Man
The fan outrage over Spider-Man leaving the MCU has mostly come from the fact that we finally got the perfect on-screen incarnation of Peter Parker, and now, we’re losing him. But we’re not really losing him. Tom Holland will continue to play the best screen version of Spidey to date; it’ll just be in Sony movies, not Marvel movies.
There have even been suggestions that Sony still has director Jon Watts signed on for another Spider-Man movie. So, just because he’s leaving the MCU, it’s not the end of the world – we’ll still have the Spidey we know and love from those movies.
8 Devastating: Sony doesn’t understand the character
The problem with Sony is that their executives think they understand Spider-Man as well as Marvel and the simple fact is that they don’t. Sony’s only good Spider-Man movies have been Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, and these were the only ones where they gave Sam Raimi creative freedom.
They enforced decisions on him making Spider-Man 3 and they’re the reason he quit Spider-Man 4. The Amazing Spider-Man movies were Sony’s take on Spidey and they really sucked. Spidey fans have no faith in Sony handling the character. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse might have been an exception, but that was animated and not live-action, so a different team of execs were steering that ship.
7 Might not be so bad: Now, he can cross over with Venom and Morbius
Sony Pictures have been building up their own MCU-style cinematic universe with the obscure Marvel characters they have the rights to. They’ve only released Venom so far, but they have a movie about Morbius the Living Vampire on the way and several others in development, all based on Spider-Man villains.
With Spider-Man back at Sony, he’ll be a part of this universe, and he can cross over with its characters. It seemed unlikely that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Tom Hardy’s Venom would ever share the screen, but now, they can. And the same goes for Jared Leto’s Morbius and all the others on the way.
6 Devastating: He was being set up as the next Iron Man
Spider-Man: Far From Home focused heavily on setting up Peter Parker as the next Tony Stark – not just in terms of Tony’s legacy, but in the MCU as a whole. Spidey was probably poised to be the next character to triumphantly sacrifice themselves and bring tears to everybody’s eyes in a gargantuan battle sequence against a powerful villain – possibly Norman Osborn, his arch nemesis from the comics – in an Endgame-sized event movie a few years down the line.
But now, he’ll never live up to his old mentor and he’ll never become the MCU’s next Iron Man-shaped anchor because he won’t even be there.
5 Might not be so bad: He’s no longer in Iron Man’s shadow
Spider-Man got his own character arc in the MCU, thanks to his solo movies, but serving Tony Stark’s character development was also a large part of his role in the franchise. He got Tony to open up emotionally and think about starting a family. Then, when Tony had that family and the “Time Heist” was proposed to him, he turned the idea down until he was inspired by the chance to bring Peter Parker back to life.
Even after Tony died, he loomed large over Spidey’s MCU story in Far From Home. With Sony taking Spidey back, at least he’ll be out of Tony’s shadow.
4 Devastating: The MCU will now be even more inconsistent
Following the Marvel Cinematic Universe, going from movie release to movie release every couple of months, is a lot of fun. But at the end of the day, when the quality dips and the superhero trend inevitably goes out and the MCU finally ends (like, actually ends, rather than ending its ending with six new beginnings), all we’ll be left with is a gigantic DVD box set with one enormous story to tell.
While there were already a couple of blips in the consistency of this – Bruce Banner getting recast, Spider-Man: Homecoming’s erroneous “Eight years later...” etc. – Spider-Man suddenly being cut out will make it as inconsistent as the DC Extended Universe.
3 Might not be so bad: Sony can do a Sinister Six movie
Whenever the producers of the MCU were asked about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man facing the Sinister Six – the team dedicated solely to destroying your friendly neighborhood web-head – they got all coy about it. There’s a good chance that Sony prevented them from doing this, since the company owns the rights to 900 Marvel characters and once planned their own Sinister Six movie.
Now that Spidey has been dragged back to Sony, at least we’ll be able to see him fight the Sinister Six on the big screen. This arrangement might have very few silver linings, but that’s definitely one of them.
2 Devastating: His MCU character arc is ruined
Kevin Feige has been saying that Spidey’s tenure in the MCU was never meant to last forever, and that they always planned to have him for just a handful of movies, but come on, Spider-Man: Far From Home was clearly just the beginning of Spider-Man’s MCU character arc.
He was just learning to become a hero on his own before his life was thrown into a tailspin. The MCU’s greatest strength is its character arcs – following characters like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers as they grow and change and strive towards an ultimate goal – but they only work if the franchise is able to finish those arcs.
1 Might not be so bad: He can stand on his own again
What has made Spider-Man such an endearing character for so many years is that he’s just a regular kid. He was bitten by a spider, he acquired superpowers, and he felt the need to use those superpowers to help people. But no one gave him a handbook on superheroism. He had to figure it out on his own.
When we met Peter Parker in the MCU, he was being recruited by Tony Stark. He’d been figuring it out on his own, but we never saw that part of the story. Now that he’s back at Sony and out of the MCU, he can stop being a supporting player and stand on his own two feet again, driving his own story forward.