The spectacular spider is slinging his way back home to Marvel. After what had been an unprecedented web of rumors, a press release from Marvel has confirmed that they will be partnering up with Sony Pictures to bring Spider-Man into The Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as producing future Spider-Man Films. Sony Pictures has held the exclusive feature film rights to the character since 2002’s Spider-Man.
First Spider-Man will appear in an unnamed film from Marvel Studios, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Then, on July 28, 2017, Spidey will headline his own feature film, released by Sony Pictures and produced by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige and Sony’s Amy Pascal. There are already several reports that Andrew Garfield will not be reprising his role as Spider-Man.
The press release is quick to point out that while Feige and Marvel Studios will be involved in the future Spider-Man Films, “Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.” This means that Sony will still have control over release dates and the final say on story content. Also according to the release, Sony and Marvel are “exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films.”
Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said of the deal, “Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s great characters, beloved around the world. We’re thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building.”
The announcement reflects an astonishing amount of cooperation between what would seem like two corporate rivals. Disney has even pushed back almost all of Marvel Studios’ slate of upcoming films to make room for Sony Pictures’ next Spider-Man film, starting with Thor: Ragnarok, which will relocate from July 28, 2017 to Nov. 3, 2017. That, in turn, will bump Black Panther to July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel to Nov. 2, 2018, and Inhumans to July 12, 2019. The two Avengers: Infinity War movies, however, are still slated to open on May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019.