Spider-Man an Avenger After All

Jacob Dorsey

After two months of uncertainty over Spider-Man’s future in film, Disney and Sony have come to an agreement to keep the character around for at least one additional Avengers film.

On September 27th a joint statement released by the two companies confirmed that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will produce the next Spider-Man film, as well as feature the character in an additional Marvel Studios movie. This announcement also revealed the release date of the currently untitled sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home, which will release July 16, 2021. “I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” Feige told Variety.

Spider-Man was removed from the Avengers franchise only two months ago when Disney and Sony failed to come to an agreement over Disney’s involvement in future Spider-Man films. Anonymous sources at Deadline Hollywood revealed this information on August 20th and Sony confirmed the news that same day through the official Sony Pictures Twitter account. According to the Sony Pictures Twitter account, Disney decided not to continue its partnership due to Kevin Feige’s workload: “We … understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him (Kevin Feige) … do not allow time for him to work on IP (intellectual property) they do not own.”

Deadline Hollywood reported that negotiations failed back in August due to Disney asking for “a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios” which Sony immediately turned down. That deal would have seen the company sharing financing costs and splitting the revenue together at 50 percent each. (This number has since been disputed by other publications.) The newest deal disclosed by Variety states that Disney “will receive roughly 25% of the profits … and will put up roughly a quarter of the financing.”  The previous deal had Disney receive 5 percent of the total box office revenue from the film’s first day of release. Due to the nature of such agreements, the only parties privy to this information are Disney and Sony, who rarely make these deals public.

Marvel sold the right to use the Spider-Man character to Sony Picture Entertainment in 1999. Disney – who now owns Marvel – made a new agreement with Sony four years ago for limited use of the character. Marvel Studios had access to the character for its Avengers movies and Kevin Feige was brought on as a producer for solo Spider-Man films. According to the Marvel Studios press release, Sony Pictures would “continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.” The agreement ended after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Although the collaboration between the two companies has been extended, the future of this relationship past these two new films is still in question.

The collaboration was unprecedented when it originally happened and was proof that anything can happen. It is possible that the companies will continue to agree to new terms every so often to keep Spider-Man in these movies. However, Sony has been trying to figure out how they can build its own “cinematic universe” around Spider-Man characters without Spider-Man himself – they might want the character back to better establish their future films. In his statement to Variety, Feige alluded to eventually removing Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saying, “He also 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.”