A new cinematic direction for Spider-Man
What exactly are the implications of the rights for Spider-Man reverting to Marvel/Disney?
Spider-Man is Marvel’s figure head. He’s has been the comic publishers’ mascot pretty much since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko invented the character back in 1962. The scarlet webslinger has appeared on TV and was almost brought to the big screen by James Cameron back in the 90s. However, he had to wait until 2002 for his first big budget big screen outing, with Sam Raimi on directing duties and Tobey Maguire donning the tights as Peter Parker. After two sequels, it was rebooted as The Amazing Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield taking over the title role in 2012.
Meanwhile Marvel moved into film production, and steadily raised the standards of superhero movies. However, they had sold the rights to Spider-Man many years before, and Sony were keen to hang onto this multi-million dollar property. Then this week, Sony and Marvel announced they had come to an unprecedented deal whereby Spider-Man could return to the fold and appear in Marvel movies but Sony would retain financial, distribution and creative control.
This is great news for Spider-fans: we’ll finally get the chance to see Peter Parker stand tall with his fellow Avengers where he belongs, and with the power and creative clout of the Marvel team behind him. His first appearance looks like it will be in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (Spider-Man’s public unmasking is a key moment in the comic series) before getting his own movie in 2017, which will be co-produced by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, who has been overseeing the franchise for the last 13 years at Sony.
Feige stated: ‘I am thrilled to team up with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie. Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world’s most beloved characters. Marvel's involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.’
At first it looked like Andrew Garfield might possibly continue as Spider-Man. Despite some lukewarm reviews most people agreed he was a good fit, and the best thing about the two Amazing Spider-Man films he starred in. It would have cut out the necessity for yet another origin story, especially as the events in both movies didn’t contradict anything that had happened in the many MCU films. Now they have confirmed Garfield is getting the boot, alongside current director Marc Webb, with a younger hero heading back to high school (Percy Jackson’s Logan Lerman and The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien have been mooted as early contenders). This also impacts Sony’s previous plans for the character, with sequels and spin-offs (including a Venom and Sinister Six movie) apparently dead in the water.
This has further implications for Marvel’s Phase 3 release strategy, necessitating a quick reshuffle to make room for Spidey. Thor: Ragnarok shifts to 3 November, 2017; Black Panther moves to 6 July, 2018; Captain Marvel will now reach cinemas on 2 November, 2018 and finally Inhumans will debut on 12 July, 2019 (Marvel certainly like to plan ahead).
Marvel’s new release schedule in full:
1 May, 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron
17 July, 2015: Ant-Man
May, 2016: Captain America: Civil War
November, 2016: Doctor Strange
May, 2017:Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July, 2017: Spider-Man
November, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok
May, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1
July, 2018: Black Panther
November, 2018: Captain Marvel
May, 2019: Avengers: Infinity War Part 2
July, 2019: Inhumans