It’s going to be a very long week for Marvel fans, isn’t it?
After a tumultuous afternoon that included a bombshell report that Sony and Disney had parted ways in their shared custody of the Spider-Man franchise, thereby keeping Tom Holland’s Peter Parker out of future MCU movies from Marvel Studios, well…let’s just say the internet didn’t take it very well. You can read about much of the sordid story in detail right here, but in short, the two studios failed to come to an agreement about how to share the profits from the ongoing Spider-Man franchise, the latest installment of which, Spider-Man: Far From Home, just crossed the billion dollar mark at the box office. Additional reports that negotiations were continuing sounded a more hopeful tone, but what came next isn’t encouraging.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained a statement from a Sony representative that lays the blame for the breakdown in negotiations firmly at Disney’s feet. To be clear, the statement has nothing but praise for Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige and the creative guidance he has offered Sony’s recent Spider-Man live action movies. “Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise…We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film.”
That’s carefully worded and pointed, as is this: “We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own.” [emphasis mine]. “Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
The “which we will continue” part is also telling. Fans are worried that without Feige’s involvement, Sony will slide back into the mode that brought fans dreadful franchise entries like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or the creatively muddled (but financially successful) Venom. However, both Jon Watts and Tom Holland are expected to return for at least two more movies at the studio. While that brings creative and continuity challenges, there’s hope that the spirit and tone of the recent movies can still carry on. Maybe they can get Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who brought the brilliant Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to life in to produce and offer the same kind of faithful creative spirit that Feige did, and that was lacking from other attempts from the studio.
Sony also has an entire slate of Spider-Man related films of their own they’ve been slowly putting together over the last few years. All of those just became more viable now that they have sole control of their most recognizable and successful character. We wrote about all of those and how Spidey might change them right here.
Disney has yet to offer public comment on the split, but Sony’s statement doesn’t exactly make it sound like either party is ready to rush back to the negotiating table. Disney, however, will be presenting more information about their upcoming slate of Marvel movies at this weekend’s D23 celebration. Maybe something will be resolved before then, but don’t bet your webshooters on it.
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!