Webhead-heads can breathe a big sigh of relief this fine Friday, as Sony Pictures and Marvel have reached an agreement that will allow the Marvel Cinematic Universe to retain the services of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
After striking a deal late Thursday night, Sony and Marvel have jointly announced (via Variety) that Marvel Studios and president Kevin Feige will produce the third film in the series that began with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and continued with this summer’s Spider-Man: Far from Home (our pitch for the three-quel: Spider-Man: No Direction Home). Holland, whose onscreen portrayal of Spidey is widely regarded as the best yet, will of course reprise his role in the third film, in addition to appearing in one future Marvel Studios movie. Feige also teases in the studios’ announcement that Holland’s Spider-Man may also appear in forthcoming Sony movies set in the studio’s own semi-burgeoning “Spidey-verse,” such as Venom, the sequel to which is expected in 2020.
Normally such an announcement would be business as usual, but Spider-Man fans were thrown for a loop over the summer when headlines all but pronounced the hero’s time in the MCU over. Marvel parent Disney and Sony were unable to reach a new financing deal—Disney wanted to fund the next Spidey film 50-50, keeping Feige in the mix as a consulting producer, while Sony reportedly wanted to retain the original terms of the two studios’ arrangement, in which Marvel gets approximately 5% of Spider-Man films’ first-dollar gross and 100% of the merchandising revenue. Under the new deal, Disney retains its merchandising rights, and Marvel and Disney reportedly receive about 25% of the new movie’s profits—in other words, the two sides met in the middle. Variety’s report characterizes Feige’s steady hand as Disney’s key bargaining chip, which is hard to argue with; the MCU architect was just handed a new Star Wars movie, after all. The importance of his guiding expertise to Marvel’s success is difficult to overstate.
“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” said Feige in a statement, per Variety. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.” It’s no surprise to hear Feige banging this drum—talk of Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and Holland’s Peter Parker crossing paths has been consistent since Venom blew up the box office.
“We have had a great collaboration over the last four years, and our mutual desire to continue was equal to that of the many fans,” said Robert Lawson, Sony’s chief communications officer. “We are delighted to be moving forward together.”
The next Spider-Man film is currently scheduled for a July 16, 2021, release, with Homecoming and Far From Home helmer Jon Watts in talks to direct, per THR.
See a couple of early reactions to Spidey’s extended MCU tenure below.
A post shared by Tom Holland; (@tomholland2013) on
Sept. 27, 5:19 p.m. ET: Updated with news of Jon Watts being in talks to direct.