Following the grandiose retirement of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s superstar Ironman in Marvel’s Endgame, fans of the universe responded explosively to the announcement of a new Spider Man movie. Spider Man, also known as Peter Parker, was the on-screen protégé of Ironman, and Marvel’s take on the beloved character through actor Tom Holland as a developing teen with conflicts about his identity was adored by the public.
While executive producer Kevin Feige’s execution on the character was well loved, fans looked forward to seeing Spider Man finally on-screen with other Marvel characters. For almost a decade, two cinema giants fought over the character rights and usage of Spider Man in the box office. While Spider Man was the creation of Stan Lee, one of the founders of Marvel, the creative rights are owned by Sony, which produced the critically acclaimed Sam Raimi trilogy and the Amazing Spider Man duology. Both of these productions, however, were met with definite shortcomings: the Raimi trilogy had a lackluster finishing while the Amazing Spider Man duology ended with talks for a third movie coming to an end. The MCU Spiderman trilogy, however, is continuously receiving critical acclaim and the hype doesn’t seem to be dying down as Disney announced the final movie of the trilogy to be coming in a couple years. With talks between Marvel and Sony regarding their collaboration to bring Tom Holland’s Spider Man into the cinematic universe, the Spider Man-dilemma seemed to be coming to an end. That was, of course, until last week.
The online community, ranging from hardcore Reddit fan pages to mainstream news outlets, reported that Spider Man would be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe as negotiations between Marvel and Sony executives fell apart. The original deal over Spider Man was that Disney – which owns Marvel – would receive 5% of gross revenue generated by all profits that trace back to the MCU Spider Man, while Sony would take the remaining 95%. Kevin Feige and his team’s success with the inclusion of Spider Man in the Avengers series and Spider Man stand-alone films propelled them to renegotiate with Sony, now asking for a 50-50 deal instead. Unable to come to an agreement, Sony decided to take back the character for their own films.
There have been multiple rumors circulating online from entertainment outlets such as EW which claims the negotiation has taken a turn for the better due to public outrage. Unfortunately, recent updates from both sides and a statement from Sony blaming Marvel and Kevin Feige will mean Spider Man won’t be returning to Marvel for a while. For now, fans are waiting for updates that may lead to a positive outcome. While unofficial, fans are speculating that a new instagram post from MCU Spider Man actor Tom Holland and Ironman actor Robert Downey Junior with the caption “We did it Mr. Stark!” may lead to their participation in negotiations.
With the love that comic book fans have for Spider Man, it’s been a tragedy to see that such iconic fan-favorites are caught between crossfires of corporate dealings. While it’s always been Marvel’s policy to not let its designers have access to the creative rights of their characters, Spider Man’s treatment in the entertainment industry is reflective of the way Sony and Disney executives had treated comic book legend Stan Lee during his lifetime, tunneling in on profits rather than the beauty and intrinsic value of the character.
Both sides are equally at fault in this situation. Even if one side provoked the other during negotiations, the results of these failed dealings show the immaturity and disrespect that billionaire companies have for the creators of the characters, the characters themselves, and most importantly, the fans who care. The future of Spider Man will most likely continue to be jeopardized by the struggle between the two corporations over the rights of the character. The only way to ensure that Spider Man doesn’t eventually disappear under the dust of corporate warfare is if fans continue to voice their love for the character and fight for his survival. While many may view this entire ordeal as childish or meaningless, Spider Man holds a dear place in the hearts of many generations, both from elders in their 70’s to children growing up in this digital age. Spider Man needs us.
Featured Image: BGM Twitter
-Andrew Hong (’20)