Spidey is coming home! Sort of.
If you missed the momentous occasion late last night, Marvel made the official announcement that they've partnered with Sony Pictures to take the Spider-Man movie franchise in a new direction that will see the hero introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That's right, Spider-Man is going to be an Avenger.
The news means big change for both Sony and Marvel's current slate of films (see the updated Phase 3 schedule here) so we're going to address the burning Spider-Man questions that may not have been made clear from the initial announcement.
VIDEO Discussion: Spidey in the MCU
Marvel Does Not Own Spider-Man
Before we get too deep into this, it needs to be clarified up front that Sony Pictures has not sold or given back the film rights to Spider-Man to Marvel Entertainment. He's too valuable an asset. Marvel and Sony are working together and this character and his future films/spinoffs are simply sharing the same space as Marvel's Avengers and other live-action properties.
"Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films."
What Does This Mean For Andrew Garfield?
British actor Andrew Garfield was tapped by director Marc Webb and Sony to lead their rebooted Amazing Spider-Man franchise and he was a great selection. It's hard not to love the talented actor's charm and wit, and his portrayal of Peter Parker was compared favorably to Tobey Maguire's from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
Now that Spider-Man is joining the MCU though, Andrew Garfield's time is sadly up. He will not be playing Peter Parker any further. Marvel wants a new take on the character, as previous reports indicated, and it's all but officially confirmed that the "new direction" of Spider-Man means... a new Spider-Man actor too.
CONFIRMED: Andrew Garfield is NO LONGER Spider-Man. Someone new will be cast. First appearance in MCU, then solo film.
— Linda Ge (@lindazge) February 10, 2015
It's Still Peter Parker
Sorry, Miles Morales fans, Sony and Marvel are sticking with original 616 Marvel Comics universe Peter Parker for the foreseeable future. Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group:
"Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker's story into the future."
What About Sinister Six?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for all of its problems, was an attempt to setup a larger Spider-Man movie universe. Sony had officially scheduled an all-villains team-up movie titled Sinister Six for November 2016, to be written and directed by Drew Goddard, and were planning a Venom film for Alex Kurtzman to helm afterward. There were also reports and discussions of other spinoffs, including an all-female Spider-Man movie.
The infamous Sony hack of late 2014 however, revealed that Sony was unsure of all of these ideas while they bounced around the possibility of joining Marvel. With Spider-Man's financial and critical outlook on a downward trend, while competing studios steal headlines with bigger and more exciting projects and franchises, Sony making a deal with Marvel became an inevitability to sustain growth and make the character relevant in a crowded market.
So, just like Andrew Garfield, the current plans for Sinister Six are being scrapped. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but it won't be happening anytime soon.
Update: Sony will NOT release "Sinister Six" in Nov 2016, source says. Sony delaying, rethinking, but still developing in light of new deal
— Ben Fritz (@benfritz) February 10, 2015
Will There Still Be Other Spider-Man Movies?
Sony boss Amy Pascal is stepping down and will aim to produce films. Her first big move is to produce the next Spider-Man alongside Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. It's the perfect symbol of the studio partnership.
Their first step is to introduce the new Spider-Man in a Marvel Studios film before Spider-Man gets his own new movie in July 2017. Since the only Marvel movie before that date in 2017 is Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (likely set entirely off-Earth), we're going to meet the new Peter Parker in 2016. That leaves Captain America: Civil War - where we already know Marvel wanted to introduce Spider-Man - and Doctor Strange.
You can bet on Spider-Man getting at least a cameo appearance in the third Captain America movie before Sony and Marvel make a new Spider-Man solo outing together for 2017. After that, Sony will continue to make Spider-Man movies under this new direction and while they will take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony retains full creative control.
The deal will help future Spider-Man films acknowledge the larger events of the MCU and vice versa, and you can expect to see some Marvel Studios characters appear in Spider-Man movies down the road. That's something Amy Pascal very much wanted, as revealed by leaked emails from the Sony hack.
If you have more questions about the Spider-Man announcement, let us know know and share your thoughts in the comments!
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, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.
Sources: Marvel, The Wrap, WSJDragon Age 4: The Best Theories About The Dread Wolf Rises
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