Spiderman and the MCU

Originally posted on 11/02/15 via Alternate Dimensions

We’ve had substantial rumours since the breach of Sony security last year, but despite attempts to deny or handwave it away there has been a strong undercurrent of discussion over what would happen if Spider-man could enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well it’s official now. Marvel announced via a press release on Tuesday night that while Spiderman’s cinematic world is still owned by Sony, the two companies are going to enter a mutually beneficial partnership which also benefits the fans. And the news is so big it needed a bonus edition of 1Up Culture.

The exact details aren’t crystal clear right now. We have some outlines as to what it all means but until we see it in action or one of the executives takes the time to map it out for us (unlikely) we’re still going to have some rough edges surrounding the deal. But here is the stuff you need to know:

1. Spiderman will make his next appearance in an upcoming MCU film, namely Captain America: Civil War next year.

2. A Spiderman solo film will be released in 2017 by Sony but under the creative direction of Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal and Marvel.

3. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute own and have final creative control over the direction of Spiderman and his solo movies.

4. MCU characters will be eligible to appear in Spiderman solo films, while Spiderman characters can also crossover beyond Spiderman himself with permission.

5. Andrew Garfield, star of the two ‘Amazing Spiderman’ movies, will not be returning as rumoured.

This is probably the best possible scenario for everybody involved. It was highly unlikely Sony would just sell the franchise back to Marvel. Spiderman is their most successful film franchise to date, bringing in over $4 billion over the five films. Even if the movies haven’t done as well as they might have hoped either critically or commercially, it is still a cash cow franchise for them, and however much money it would take for them to give up complete ownership would probably cost Marvel more money than it would be worth.

Now, Sony continue to be able to make films and make money. They still own the franchise and perhaps most interestingly, they still have the final say on what happens regarding the character. This particular note could make for some interesting round table discussions between the two companies in the future, and expect any bad parts of the MCU Spiderman to be blamed on Sony since they are the current pop culture punching bag. Marvel on the other hand, will take over some of the creative responsibilities of the Spider-verse and incorporate this into the wider MCU

Here’s where it gets interesting though. The Sinister Six movie that had originally been bumped up by Sony after the disappointment of Amazing Spiderman 2 is still happening, although at a later date. This throws into question a couple of things that is important to consider with this new iteration of Spiderman.

The Sinister Six was built up by the villains of the Amazing Spiderman universe, and even though Andrew Garfield is not returning that does not mean they are rebooting the franchise for a third time. We may be getting a Batman Forever scenario where the actor of Batman changed from Keaton to Kilmer, but the series didn’t get rebooted (although it was drastically changed it was simply a new creative direction) If this is the case then presumably the story will continue off the back of Gwen Stacy’s death for the third movie in 2017, and the villains such as Green Goblin will remain in their recent conceptualisation.

Whether you were a fan of the ‘Amazing’ franchise or not, this is good for the one fact that we won’t need another Spiderman origin story. It would be a waste to retell that story so soon after the last with the Maguire series still from the past decade and a half. What disappoints me is that Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker was one of the strongest elements of the newer movies (alongside the web-slinging scenes across rooftops). His chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen was dynamic, and although that isn’t that big a deal anymore because, you know, she’s dead, it will be a shame he wasn’t given another movie to work with.

Of course the speculation that the universe of ‘Amazing’ is remaining is purely an educated guess. It is possible the Sinister Six could be a rebooted universe as well, but it isn’t really necessary right now. The only reason would be if they were to bring in the Miles Morals Spiderman rather than Peter Parker. It’s a longshot but not entirely ridiculous. Both Marvel and DC have been under pressure to ‘diversify’ their rosters, and although we are getting Black Panther it would be a big move if we got the Miles Morales Spiderman instead. There was a push from sections of the internet before Garfield was cast to go with rapper/writer/actor Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) of Community fame, and now with Miles Morales getting a boost in the comics realm it is possible, especially since the MCU has taken plenty of inspiration from the Marvel ‘Ultimates’ stories. And Andrew Garfield has stated previously he would have liked to pass the torch to Morales Spiderman in the ‘Amazing’ universe.

Imagine if we had been kept in the dark as to who was playing Spiderman, and in following with the comic Civil War arc (spoilers ahead) as the fight between Iron Man and Captain America grew over the Superhero Registration Act, a previously unmasked Spiderman appears. He sides with Tony Stark and takes off his mask, but instead of the white Peter Parker we’re expecting (and we get in Civil War) we actually get the black Miles Morales. It would be a potential surprise on par with the Mandarin/Trevor reveal in Iron Man 3, only good. (spoilers end)

It is pure speculation, and ultimately I expect them to go with the more recognisable legacy of Peter Parker, but it’s worth frantically debating like all minor comic book movie possibilities until an actor is cast for us to announce that the series will be subsequently ruined by his casting (aka the public reaction of just about every hero in the new DCU). Thing is, if we go the Peter Parker route, we don’t need to spend time retelling the origins. Slip it in here and there maybe, but we know by now what we’re dealing with when it comes to Parker.

There is still much to be announced, but the good news is we can rest easy knowing we will finally see Spiderman alongside the rest of the Avengers (or whoever is left after Age of Ultron). Sony will continue to make boatloads of money off of the webslinger, and Marvel get to play with one of their true A-list stars after years of pining after him. And as for their main competition in DC…your move.

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