In the expansive gallery of Marvel’s superheroes, there are few characters that even come close to the level of name recognition and reputability as Spider-Man. In the year 2018, he got an Academy Award-winning animated film, a game that set the record for sales of a third party game from Sony at 3.3 million copies and a role in the fifth highest-grossing film in the history of the world. It would be an understatement to say that the year 2018 was kind to his brand. Far From Home, which was released early last month, has even surpassed Skyfall to become Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time. It seemed like the property of Spider-Man had a bright future under the guidance of Sony and Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe – so it was a surprise to many when reports surfaced in late August detailing Sony and Disney’s disputes which would land it in very uncertain waters.
Discussions became heated when Disney proposed that they begin splitting the cost of future Spider-Man films 50/50 between the studios. When Sony declined, Disney removed Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige as producers of future projects in an attempt to force Sony’s hand. This ploy failed, and now Spider-Man is effectively out of the MCU. Fans have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottSony in protest and have begun disputing over which company is more at fault. Objectively, it seems as though the situation was fine until Disney approached Sony with a new deal that would net them more profits from the franchise. It would seem the blame is on the side of the mouse.
Sony made a statement on Twitter about how “much of the news about Spider-Man was mischaracterizing recent discussions” and contained the first public mention that it was Disney’s decision, not Sony’s, to discontinue Marvel Studio’s and Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. They even hinted that the reason that this new deal was proposed in the first place had something to do with all of the newly acquired Marvel properties that are now the responsibility of Disney’s studios, specifically the Fantastic 4 and X-Men franchises, both of which have seen massive flops with their most recent films. The public critical failure of 2015’s Fantastic Four and Dark Phoenix may be why Disney is pouring more funding into their reboots and why they are asking that the costs of future Spider-Man films be split.
A Spider-Man future controlled by Sony doesn’t seem all that bleak though. Two projects Sony recently headed, Marvel’s Spider-Man for the Play Station 4 and Into the Spider-Verse, were both met with critical acclaim. The most recent Spider-Man film also concludes in a place where the character is largely set free of his tethers to the MCU. This could line up well for the two solo Spider-Man films starring Tom Holland that Sony already has planned. I, for one, am excited to see where Sony will take Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, although I am apprehensive of the next movie, which will suffer from a jarring loss of MCU content.
Myles Gibbs is a UF journalism junior.