Spider-Man: Swinging Back into the MCU

The Spider-Man: Far From Home movie poster promoting Sony and Marvel’s last collaboration on the Spider-Man character in film before renogtiations began.

The Spider-Man: Far From Home movie poster promoting Sony and Marvel’s last collaboration on the Spider-Man character in film before renogtiations began.

Hannah Hart, Staff Writer

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Warning: Spoilers ahead regarding many Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man. Does whatever a spider can. Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves–just like flies. Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man. Spider-Man, the superhero alter-ego of fictional Queens resident Peter Parker, is now officially reinstated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

When you Google ‘Spider-Man movies’ you will first be greeted by the five Spider-Man movies that preceded the most recent rendition of the webslinger by the MCU. These movies include the original Tobey Maguire trilogy, and the two rebooted ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ movies featuring Andrew Garfield. These movies are the sole product of Sony’s take on Spider-Man, whose rights they acquired from Marvel in 1985 for 10 million dollars. With this deal, Sony adopted Spider-Man and every character in the Spider-Man universe, such as love interests like MJ and villains like the Green Goblin.

The MCU, which is now owned by Disney, has been adapting Marvel comics to film since 2008 with the release of Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, or Ironman. Spider-Man’s first appearance in the MCU was in Captain America: Civil War, where Iron Man became his mentor. This storyline has been expanded on since with films like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far from Home.

These films were made possible by a deal between Marvel and Sony in February of 2015 that allowed Marvel to produce a new solo Spider-Man film in 2017, which we now know as Spider-Man: Homecoming, and tie him into the MCU via Captain America: Civil War. The Civil War debut featured Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and was released by Disney whereas Homecoming was released by Sony, but produced by Marvel.

Money has always been a major issue between the studios (which would cause them to cut ties later) but this deal stated that each side would only profit from the films they released and that Marvel would be given 5% of merchandising revenue. So, Marvel and Disney only profited from superhero team-up films with Spider-Man whereas Sony only profited from solo Spider-Man films.

On September 5th, 2019, it was confirmed that the world-famous webslinger would be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for good. After five Spider-Man movies that generated an impressive profit for each studio, respectively, Spider-Man was kicked out of the MCU because Marvel proposed a 50/50 split of profit for each movie featuring Peter Parker and Sony denied. This split was devastating for fans to hear, especially those who have waited so long to see Spider-Man team up with the Avengers. “I was upset when he left but I’m really happy now that he’s back,” sophomore Aine Byrne said.

If Spider-Man was truly pulled from the MCU, then the consequences would have been monumental. After the effects of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man’s next movie, Far From Home set up the first storyline after the close of the main Avengers film series. This foundation would be built off of, bridging the gap between new and old and linking the new MCU films, those in Marvel’s Phase Five project, with something familiar so that audiences would keep coming back.

Not only was Spider-Man perfectly set up to step into the role of his previous mentor, Tony Stark, at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, but our titular character’s secret identity was also leaked, providing a base storyline to be branched off. Excluding Peter Parker from the future of the MCU would have meant ineffective character introductions and little leadership, which could have jeopardized the entire direction and legacy of the MCU as a whole.

However, living with the pain of no Peter Parker is much preferable to enduring the next movie Sony might have put out. With the Spider-Man universe to themselves, Sony could have wiped the slate clean and started anew for the fourth time or it could have gone forward by addressing the cliffhanger posed at the end of Far From Home without any mention of his MCU life. This would have meant no mention of the Avengers, no characters or settings featured in any movies from the MCU, and no Tony Stark; the individual that opened the door for Spider-Man to make his initial entrance into the MCU. Every relationship that Spider-Man built in the MCU would have to have been severed in order to appease copyright laws, forcing Peter Parker’s Aunt May and Tony Stark’s friend, Happy Hogan, apart as well as never mentioning the effects of Avengers: Endgame.

When the story arc of a character is disrupted so swiftly by studio negotiations, it forces audiences to wonder how authentic the conflict actually is. “Why would they get rid of that storyline when they were making so much money off of it and fans enjoyed it so much?” sophomore Emma McLaughlin said. “I’m wondering if maybe it was to bring more attention to the films and companies involved just for the sake of publicity.”

Luckily, both studios recognized that coming to an agreement would benefit them more than going their separate ways and after a few weeks, Spider-Man was reunited with the MCU. This deal guarantees another solo Spider-Man film that will pick up after the events of Spider-Man: Far from Home and a future MCU team-up film. Sony, with this deal, plans to expand Spider-Man into their universe as well, which could mean anything from an animated version of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the Spiderverse series to a Venom team up, but either way, fans are excited.

Spider-Man is a staple character that deserves a chance to stand among his MCU counterparts and his return home solved one of the stickiest studio situations ever. “I was very disappointed and surprised when they announced that Spider-Man would be leaving,” McLaughlin said. “Especially since the movies were and are still very popular.”

Fortunately, the reconciliation of Disney and Sony will be providing fans with more Spider-Man movies in the future that are bound to be just as, if not more, popular than their predecessors. Look out for Spider-Man’s upcoming solo film in 2021 that will, hopefully, provide Peter Parker with his very own happy ending.