Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Why are people asking for Spider-Man to be saved? It's all about Marvel versus Sony

The plucky superhero is stuck in a web of contracts and studio politics

Tom Holland as Spider Man could be a thing of the past, and it's safe to say that fans are freaking out on Twitter. Photo: Supplied 
Tom Holland as Spider Man could be a thing of the past, and it's safe to say that fans are freaking out on Twitter. Photo: Supplied 

The latest Spider-Man film (Far From Home) scored an impressive 90 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes and drew in $1.1 billion (Dh4 billion) at the global box office.

It's safe to say Peter Parker is a hot ticket that is under no commercial threat of being cancelled, so why is the hashtag #SaveSpiderMan trending on Twitter globally? Because news has broken that Marvel Studios won't be involved in future Spider-Man films.

Why? Because of a dispute over profit sharing with Sony, who still hold the rights to the character (remember, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is owned by Disney). This is a common conundrum for such franchises, Star Trek has had the same problem.

Deadline has reported that Marvel wanted essentially 50 per cent of the cut from box office profits from solo Spider-Man films in exchange for their super-producer Kevin Feige to continue to work on the films.

Sony said no. For now, at least. They think they can do Spider-Man films without Marvel's help. But fans are freaking out.

Until now, the agreement has essentially been that Marvel has not received any money from the solo films, and Sony hasn't received any money from Spidey appearing in Marvel films. A real tit for tat; but Marvel wanted more.

What does this actually mean for the films?

Most importantly for many fans, it means we won't see other Marvel characters pop into Spider-Man films. So, no Nick Fury for words of wisdom or Ant-Man to help save the day, etc.

Also, it means Spider-Man's Tony Stark protege storyline is likely dead in the water. Tom Holland's Spider-Man appeared in 2016's Captain America, as well as in two Avengers films, and became one of the emotional centres of the cinematic universe. But, if this bust up stays as is, we won't see him in any future Avengers-style band of superheroes films.

It doesn't, however, mean that Holland won't continue to be Spider-Man. It's expected that there will be at least two more Spider-Man films starring Holland, and he can be employed by Sony, as can director Jon Watts, who has helmed the last two films.

In fact, he's very likely contractually obliged to appear in those films.

What it does definitely mean is that Marvel's Kevin Feige will no longer produce, which Sony confirmed on Twitter:

Kevin Feige has run Marvel Studios since 2007, and many fans of Spider-Man are also mega fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the characters, the spin-offs, the Easter eggs, etc.

They're delighted by the fact their favourite character remains interact, and Spider Man's comic timing and relatable naivety meant his relationship with the other Marvel characters was one of the things that made his character so interesting:

But perhaps Sony has its own universe cooking, remember, the Spider-Man comics have hundreds of characters.

Most of the anger on Twitter is being directed towards Sony, but many seem to be missing that it was Marvel that wanted Sony to give them a 50 per cent cut of all Spider-Man films, Sony wasn't asking for 50 per cent of all the Avengers-style film profits.

While we will still see more Tom Holland Spider-Man films this is such a huge deal because Spider-Man is a big slice of the Marvel Cinematic Universe pie: the first 20 seconds of this trailer sums up just how entangled in the MCU Peter Parker is...

Updated: August 21, 2019 02:30 PM

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