Spider-Man Swings Out of the Marvel Universe

Paola Hernandez Olvera, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After news emerged on Aug. 20 that Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man franchise were parting ways, fans of the infamous web-slinger went into a mass hysteria.

Deadline, an online entertainment magazine, was first to report the news that Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker, arguably the most successful and loved version of Spider-Man, is being removed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“I first learned about Spider-Man as a kid, and I had a lot of toys and early video games of him,” MCU fan senior Jacob Cortez said. “I always wanted to be him as a kid. I remember going on Snapchat, on the IGN story and seeing something about Spider-Man leaving. I think it sucks that they couldn’t work something out because as far as we know about upcoming movies, Spider-Man was going to move up and have a bigger role [in the MCU].”

The conflict between the two companies ultimately came down to money. Sony, who owns the rights to the Spider-Man franchise, made a deal in 2015 with Disney, the parent of Marvel Studios, to allow the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to appear in the MCU. Consequently, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has appeared in the MCU for five different movies, earning Sony and Disney collectively, an estimated $9.5 billion in box office revenue alone.

“Far From Home is my favorite Spider-Man movie so far,” Cortez said. “I know it made a lot of money, so I’m not at all surprised by how much money Marvel makes off of them.”

Despite the box office gross, Disney demanded that Sony agree to split all future Spider-Man movies in a 50/50 co-financing agreement, essentially splitting all profits evenly between both companies. Sony refused, and Disney ultimately cut Spider-Man from the MCU entirely.

“I mean, I get both companies both want to earn money and not lose money, but I feel like they just get greedy and nothing gets resolved,” Cortez said. “MCU movies make tons of money, and the latest installment of Spider-Man has been one of the highest-grossing MCU films, so [the greediness] just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Cutting Spide-Man from the MCU entirely, however, comes with more than a few theoretical problems. Spider-Man is a key character in many crucial MCU plots and has interacted and affected the storyline of many other MCU characters. Simply removing the web-slinger and all mention of him from future films hardly seems reasonable to many fans. Many fans questioned how Sony and Marvel plan to continue their relationship without sharing custody of Spider-Man.

“[Even without Spider-Man], the MCU will still be one of the richest film companies,” sophomore Tykwanice Buchanan said. “Phase 4 has already brought in more fans, [so if the companies separate, the Spider-Man franchise] will probably get picked up by someone else because of how valuable it is.”

Although it seems the end is near for Tom Holland’s beloved Spider-Man character, negotiations between Sony and Disney have been confirmed, regarding Spider-Man’s future, so maybe all hope is not lost.

“I grew up on Spider-Man and the MCU,” Buchanan said. “My mom owns every single Spider-Man movie, and I have the comics and shirts. I’m devastated but at the same time we all know this isn’t the end of Spider-Man, he loves us 3000.”

As of Sept. 27, Buchanan was proven right- it isn’t the end of Spider-Man at all. Sony and Marvel have announced that the web-slinger will remain in the MCU, under a new deal. Instead of a 50/50 deal, Marvel and Sony will each receive 25% of profits. The next Spider-Man film is set to be released July 16, 2021.