[This is a followup to 'Spider-Man Can Still Join The Marvel Cinematic Universe' based on new info.]
[Update 2: Marvel joinced MCU]
Will Spider-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe or won't he?
That's the question on every Marvel movie fan's mind this week as a series of reports based on leaked insider Sony emails and documents confirm rumors that Sony and Marvel were in talks over potentially sharing the character and re-introducing him into the MCU with Captain America: Civil War. Those talks broke down but a deal can still be made.
As we discussed on the latest episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, crossovers are inevitable and represent the next evolutionary step for the genre. There will be a day when Spider-Man stands alongside Marvel Studios-owned heroes in The Avengers. It's just a matter of when that happens.
We know Sony has a Spider-Man summit planned for January where Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal, fellow executives and producers will meet to discuss and plan out what's next for their prized superhero film franchise. After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took a nosedive critically and financially relative to its predecessors and competitors, Sony's ambitious plan of dating sequels and spinoffs for Sinister Six and Venom began to fall apart.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 lost its 2016 release date (and writer-producer Roberto Orci) while mixed reports pointed towards the possibility that Venom and Sinister Six might be cancelled as the studio searched for other ideas. And all the while that was happening, Fox was hitting new milestones and winning over critics with its most successful Marvel-branded film yet in X-Men: Days of Future Past and engaging fans with talk of a series of sequels (X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Force) and spinoffs (Deadpool, Gambit and Wolverine 3).
Then came Warner Bros.' 10-movie plan of interconnected films based DC Comics which included Suicide Squad - a film that would seemingly compete directly with Sony's own Sinister Six in the latter half of 2016. The former however, would be riding the buzz of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier that year and as we learned recently, features an all-star cast including Will Smith, Tom Hardy, Jesse Eisenberg, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Margot Robbie and potentially, Viola Davis. It's also running on the Fury awards season buzz of director David Ayer.
If Sony didn't kill their own plans with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and if Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. didn't with their far larger and more exciting recent franchise announcements, then Suicide Squad might single-handedly dampen internal hopes for Sinister Six since it has more momentum at this point and will beat Sony to the punch on the all-villain team-up front. That was supposed to be the big selling point of Sinister Six.
All this is to say that Sony's Spider-Man future looks a little bleak, or at the very least, in a state of flux and uncertainty. Combined with the interest from Marvel, the Sony hack which revealed much of this information, and the timing of the Sony Spider-Man summit in January, this all lends credence to the idea that it's still possible that we see Spider-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the not too distant future.
And that's what the rumors and scoops are pointing towards currently as well, including the latest from Badass Digest whose inside sources explained that it's too late for Spider-Man to have a major role in Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: Civil War but not too late to late to be an Avenger. They reiterate what we said last week, that if a deal is made, Spider-Man can still be worked into Cap 3 as a cameo, setting up future roles in The Avengers: Infinity War movies and a new Spider-Man solo movie (and potential trilogy of solo movies). The Russos, by the way, (who are all but confirmed to direct The Avengers 3 & 4) would produce the Spider-Man titles if a deal is made.
As much as some fans want to see Spider-Man be a focal point of Marvel's live-action adaptation of the Civil War storyline, it's a little too late and he's reportedly not in the current version of the script. With production beginning early next year, a lot of things can change though, so we may have to wait to see what Sony comes up with in January in light of the hacks.
The idea of bringing Peter Parker over to the MCU is simple in theory but the devil is in the details (or detail$). If Marvel introduces a new Peter Parker by replacing Andrew Garfield (who we love) with another actor and skipping the origin story and romance stuff as previously reported, that helps Marvel out by putting their own spin on the character while also giving Sony an out on rebooting their franchise again so quickly.
Who controls what is the problem. Does Sony still get to do their own Spider-Man spinoffs and must they therefore conform to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Who has creative control of this new version of Spider-Man and the spinoffs? Does Sinister Six get pushed aside if a deal between Marvel and Sony happens and if so, does Drew Goddard get to direct/write/produce the new Spider-Man? Do we see Avengers characters crossover into future Spider-Man sequels and spinoffs? Who pays what percentage for marketing and earns what percentage from box office sales, home video, merchandise, etc.
If they can make it work on the business side, which for a lot of reasons is extremely challenging, it would be unprecedented and would open the doors for both studios. It would also leave some room for Fox and Marvel to eventually work on something similar to get the Fantastic Four and X-Men involved down the road.
Sony's self-contained Spider-Man universe might not be able to bring in the big dollars and it's only going to get pushed to the side even more against the growing competition, so maybe they can work some magic with Marvel and still have him pop up in Captain America: Civil War, even if it's just Peter Parker snapping a few photos for The Daily Bugle. If not, we still don't know what the plans are for Sinister Six and it feasibly serve as a new launching point for Sony if it comes down to that.
What do you want to see happen?
Sinister Six is currently scheduled for November 11, 2016.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!
Header edited from art by Aidan Casserly