Back up the water spout

He really can do whatever a spider can. In this case, the spider can get back into the Marvel family before being sprayed out of the universe. Less than 30 days after the announcement that Spider-Man would be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures announced that Spider-Man will return to the MCU after the studios reached a new deal to continue their partnership much to the excitement of Spidey fans everywhere. Fans around the world will rejoice at the news, as it ensures crossing brands for the wall-crawler for years to come.

There’s much confusion as to who was responsible for negotiations breaking down and resulting in initial announcements that Spider-Man, who was being set up to be the focal point of the MCU, would no longer appear under the Marvel logo, and future Spider-Man sequels would not include crossover with Marvel’s shared world of superheroes. But alas, the new Sony/Marvel deal sees Marvel Studios producing the next installment of Spidey’s cinematic franchise, with Kevin Feige taking a lead role in production. Spider-Man will also appear in other MCU movies going forward, as he has previously. The third film in the modern series releases July 16, 2021.

Feige made an interesting remark during the announcement, and it’s hard to say whether it’s a throw-away line or a hint at something more to come. When commenting on his pleasure at reaching a new deal with Sony, Feige said, “As Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.” Some have inferred that this might imply that Sony’s planned series of connected Spider-Man spinoffs will somehow wind up merged into the MCU, possibly by having the spinoff characters – notably, Venom – appear in the solo Spider-Man movies. This could mean Marvel is offering to coproduce the spinoff films as well, even if they’re kept separate from the main Spider-Man series. However, it could just be wishful thinking from fans of the films everywhere. We could all be thinking way too deeply into it.

It can be assumed that with the popularity of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Marvel could have convinced Sony that the model scenario is not to use the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man for the planned “spider-verse” of spinoffs, but instead to use Miles Morales from Marvel’s Ultimate comic book universe and the star of their award-winning animated movie, thus giving Sony not one but TWO Spider-Man solo franchises – one within the MCU, and one as part of a separate shared “spider-verse.” Later on down the line, in phase 6 or 7 a separate, second Spider-Man and his collection of shared-world spinoff characters could appear in a crossover event alongside the MCU Peter Parker version of the character, and perhaps some other MCU heroes as well. A multiverse setup of this sort would pay off huge. Just think about the idea of a story starting in the Peter Parker MCU Spider-Man movies, continuing in a Miles Morales Spider-Man movie, and then culminating in a big crossover Avengers event with various multiverse characters. Fans would absolutely lose their minds.

Even lacking such an MCU-Spider-verse crossover event, the idea of Sony refining two different Spider-Man franchises within two different shared superhero worlds is pretty enticing, and any desire to just have Peter Parker’s MCU incarnation appear in Venom and other spin offs should be dwarfed by the appeal of multiple Spider-Man franchises and playing in two different shared universes. Add in the dangled carrot of possible future MCU crossover events, and it’s hard to imagine Sony turning it down.

Whatever comes to pass, all that matters is Spider-Man is back in the MCU and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. When you think about it, he never really left. It was always a game of who’s going to blink first, with too much money on the table and too much story to tell for both sides to walk away forever. The mouse’s eyes never close and Sony was already dry-eyed.

Tony Tann