The historic partnership between Marvel and Sony could soon end, which would result in Spider-Man being removed from the MCU.
It seems that Sony and Disney, Marvel’s parent company, were unable to negotiate terms that would keep both parties happy in the partnership.
This means that not only will Kevin Feige no longer act as a producer on Sony’s Spider-Man films, but also Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will no longer have ties to the MCU.
With the success of Venom and the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Sony may think they can be successful without Marvel’s continued involvement. However, the company may encounter a few problems if they move ahead with taking Spider-Man out of the MCU.
1. They will not be able to reference Tony Stark.
Sony reportedly has two films set to star Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in development. Keeping Holland is a good move, as he is by far the most successful live-action Peter Parker.
That being said, much of this Spidey’s character development is closely tied to characters in the MCU, or more specifically, his relationship with Tony Stark. The father/son dynamic between Tony and Peter became a much loved element of the films. Peter’s grief over Tony’s death, and struggle to carry his legacy, is at the core of Peter’s story in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Tony is effectively this Peter’s Uncle Ben. Unfortunately, without the MCU deal in place, Holland’s Spidey won’t be able to talk about Tony Stark. His beloved mentor will only be referred to vaguely, if at all. This problem will also affect Holland’s villains so far. Both The Vulture and Mysterio prominently feature Stark in their backstory.
2. Future Spider-Man films won’t be able to reference any non-Spidey MCU characters.
Moving forward, Sony retains access to Peter Parker himself, as well as his Rogue’s Gallery and supporting cast. So characters like M.J, Aunt May, and Ned aren’t going anywhere. There’s also a chance we could see Holland on-screen with Tom Hardy’s Venom.
But… future Spider-Man movies will not be able to reference characters from the wider MCU. This will make it difficult to refer to certain events from Homecoming and Far From Home, or any of the Avengers films in which Spidey appeared. They may vaguely refer to Spidey’s trip to space, but not who he went with or even why he went.
They could mention the blip, but cannot say that Thanos caused it. Aunt May’s fledgling relationship with Happy Hogan is dead in the water, as Happy remains under Marvel’s control.
It will be difficult for Sony to build on Peter’s story with such heavy restrictions on past references. Sony could choose to reboot the story while keeping Holland, but this wouldn’t go down well with fans.
3. Spider-Man will now miss out on any X-Men or Fantastic Four crossovers.
In an unfortunate and unexpected twist, the MCU seems to be losing Spidey just as they’ve regained the rights to Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
As fans will be aware, Spidey often works with the Fantastic Four in the comics. He has even, on occasion, become a temporary member of the team. As for the X-Men, Spidey is often shown as being close friends with Kitty Pryde, as well as a fan-favourite friendship with Deadpool.
Had the MCU deal continued, Sony would have had the chance to bring these stories to life. Sadly, it seems that the longed for live-action ‘Spideypool’ team up is unlikely.
4. Sony will lose the fan goodwill that the deal brought them.
When news of the Marvel/Sony deal first broke in 2015, both companies were showered with praise. Fans loved them for coming to an agreement that was best for the future of the character. If Sony moves ahead with taking Spider-Man out of the MCU, they will lose that goodwill.
If Sony thinks that the success of Venom and Into The Spider-Verse will save them from the backlash, they are probably mistaken. It’s true that fans loved Into The Spider-Verse, and it is true that most love Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. However, any boycotts of any future Spider-Man film by Sony would also not be a surprise, as fans protest the character leaving the MCU.
There’s no question that losing Spider-Man would be a blow to Marvel Studios. But the MCU survived for eight years without Spidey. Hard as it might seem, they can still afford to move ahead without too much damage to the MCU as a whole.
Sony has much more to lose.
We’ll have to wait and see how the situation unfolds.