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Why Sony and Marvel sharing Spider-Man could be a win for everybody

Those cheers you just heard? That was the sound of millions of Spider-Man fans celebrating the news that Marvel Comics’ beloved web-slinger is likely to get at least one more movie set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sony Pictures and Disney’s Marvel Studios are reportedly near an agreement to team up for another film featuring Tom Holland as Spider-Man that will unfold in Marvel’s interconnected movie-verse. The news arrives mere weeks after a highly publicized split between the studios that would have ripped Spider-Man out of the MCU — his home since the franchise was rebooted and Holland took over the role — for the foreseeable future.

But now Spider-Man is, reportedly, back in the mix in the MCU — and if the two studios play it smart, it could make the web-slinger bigger than ever.

In the report detailing the studios’ move back to the bargaining table, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige — the producer on Spider-Man’s MCU films and architect of the cinematic universe — hinted at the character’s unique, universe-hopping potential.

“[Spider-Man] happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse, you never know what surprises the future might hold,” teased Feige.

That one sentence offers a lot to unpack for anyone familiar with Spider-Man’s current big-screen environment.

While Marvel has a well-established (but still rapidly expanding) cinematic universe, Sony has also been hard at work laying the foundation for its own interconnected Spider-verse (not to be confused with the animated movie of the same name). Last year’s Venom managed to be a box-office hit despite poor reviews, and a sequel to that film is on the way.

The studio also has a film based on the vampire antihero Morbius in the works with Jared Leto cast in the lead role, along with projects in development based on a long list of supporting characters from Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Comics universe, including Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web, Black Cat, and the villainous team known as the Sinister Six.

That’s all in addition to the concepts introduced in the studio’s aforementioned Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which had various Spider-themed heroes from different universes teaming up for an adventure.

Given Sony’s desire to establish its own superhero universe, it’s not difficult to see how another movie set in the MCU could benefit both studios — and tie up some of the messy loose ends Spider-Man’s sudden exit from the MCU would have created.

The upcoming MCU film could not only provide a clearer picture of Spider-Man’s place in the MCU going forward, but it could also introduce the concepts that will allow him to hop between the MCU and Sony’s Spider-Verse as needed. In doing so, the MCU could continue to allude to his presence as events transpire and bring him in when it makes the most sense narratively, while simultaneously allowing him to forge a future in Sony’s evolving universe.

In other words, when it comes to Sony and Marvel’s respective billion-dollar investments in the man of spider, teamwork makes the dream work.

The roaring success of Into the Spider-Verse also works in the live-action character’s favor, as audiences have already been eased into the concept of a multiverse of heroes and villains. This can also be said of some of the ideas teased — but not enacted — in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

As such, having Spider-Man help usher the concept of universe jumping into the live-action realm makes sense. Holland’s version of Spider-Man has often been the character whose eyes the audience is asked to see through, after all.

Details are still scarce regarding the form Spider-Man’s next MCU adventure will take, but if it’s handled properly by both studios, Spider-Man could hold the rare distinction of being a superstar in not one, but two cinematic universes.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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