Will he or won't he? It's the question on every comic book movie fan's mind when it comes to one of the world's most popular super heroes Spider-Man and whether or not he could rejoin the Marvel family and their Avengers movie universe.
[Feb 9 2015 Update: Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.]
What seemed like wishful thinking on the part of Marvel Comics readers became a reality in 2014 when leaked information confirmed that at several points in time last year, Sony and Marvel had preliminary talks about ways to share the film rights to the Spider-Man character. Marvel wants to reboot Spider-Man again with a new lead actor but skip the origin story and add him to 2016's Captain America: Civil War, future Avengers movies and potentially, a new standalone trilogy.
There were reports that Sony was planning a Spider-Man summit in January to discuss the future of the Spider-Man franchise but there's been little news on this front since and it seemed that Sony would be continuing on their own, with plans of developing Sinister Six for 2016, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 for 2018, and potentially other spinoffs in between.
Yesterday however, Sony Picture co-chairman Amy Pascal announced that she would be stepping down from Sony and working as a producer with the studio. She claims it's been something she's been in talks about for quite some time and no doubt, the Sony hacks and situation surrounding the financial disaster of The Interview had a major impact on this decision. It also may have a major impact on their key film franchise plans going forward.
Sony is losing money hand over fist, and the leak of internal emails and documents in late 2014 put Pascal in an awkward position for sentiments she shared privately about others in the industry. Sony's motion picture division is already in a strange place and Pascal's departure paints a curious, if partially bleak picture for the future. Whoever steps in for the job (Hollywood execs Tom Rothman, Doug Belgrad and Jeff Robinov are all rumored candidates) could make their mark with some big decisions depending on who gets the job, reports Variety.
Insiders claims key Sony movie brands Ghostbusters and 21 Jump Street are safe and strong but there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Spider-Man, a sequel (or sequels) to Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Angelina Jolie's Cleopatra.
The thought is that new leadership, after Pascal steps down in May, could be open to negotiating (again) with Marvel about Spider-Man. Even though Marvel Studios made their movie plans for the next four years clear when unveiling their "Phase 3" slate, Captain America 2-3 directors Anthony and Joe Russo were interested in producing new Spider-Man projects and giving the character a small introductory role in Captain America: Civil War and a lead role in The Avengers: Infinity War.
Given the negative trend (financially and critically) of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise in its current form and the shift in consumer interests and buzz towards the larger franchises from Fox (X-Men and soon Fantastic Four), DC Entertainment (Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad next year), and main Marvel Cinematic Universe, it might not make sense for Sony to keep on their current path. As we've discussed countless times here and on the Screen Rant Underground podcast, The Amazing Spider-Man is now competing against the idea of a Spider-Man who's connected to The Avengers. What's more exciting and prosperous for the long-term future?
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.
Header image edited from art by Soulr4v3n.