It's been confirmed that Tom Holland's Spider-Man will no longer be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Spider-Man: Far From Home distributor Sony confirmed that talks had broken down with MCU distrib Disney owing to disagreements over a financial stake in the Spider-Man movies.
It was also announced that Marvel's Kevin Feige will no longer be involved in creative decisions as a producer.
Variety quotes Sony as saying: "Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised 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."
The statement continues: "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. 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."
Although a Marvel property, Spider-Man's rights were snapped up by Sony in the early 2000s, resulting in three Sam Raimi-helmed Spidey blockbusters, starring Tobey Maguire. The studio retained the rights to the character throughout the Andrew Garfield-starring Amazing Spider-Man films, and again when Tom Holland took up the mantle.
Via a complicated process, Holland's Spider-Man was essentially leased out to make his debut appearance in the Disney-distributed Captain America: Civil War (2016).
His subsequent solo movies, 2017's Homecoming and this year's Far From Home, are Sony properties that are affiliated with Disney's wider MCU iconography (the presence of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury being a notable example).
Holland has subsequently gone on to appear in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, forging an amusing and ultimately moving partnership with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man. The latter movie has surpassed Avatar to become the highest-grosser of all time with $2.795 billion in the bank.
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Given the shock ending of Far From Home, in which the web-slinger's identity was revealed to the wider world, it remains to be seen how the character will be defined going forward. Far From Home has become Sony's biggest movie of all time, surpassing Skyfall to take $1.109 billion at the global box office, so they're clearly emboldened to go it alone with the character.
The obvious answer is that he'll remain exclusive to Sony's own franchise titled the 'Sony Universe of Marvel Characters'. This officially got underway last year with Tom Hardy hit Venom (Andy Serkis has recently signed on to direct the Venom sequel), and is poised to continue with the Jared Leto-starring Morbius the Living Vampire, due for release in 2020.
Whether Holland's portrayal will cross paths with these individuals remains to be seen. He's contracted to make two more Spidey movies so watch this space.
With Spider-Man now out of the MCU, plus the Endgame departure of both Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), what do you think the future of the franchise holds? Let us know @Cineworld.