Don’t get too used to seeing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man swinging his way through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because there’s a chance he might be leaving the MCU sooner than we’d all like.
As you probably know, (opens in new tab) is taking place in the MCU because of a deal struck by three companies: Sony Pictures (who owns the cinematic rights to the character), Marvel Studios, and Disney. After Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man movies ended up being a financial disappointment a few years ago, Sony realized that instead of rebooting the franchise themselves for the third time, the smarter play would be to create a business partnership with the wildly successful Marvel Studios and have future Spider-Man movies be co-productions between the companies. But that deal only lasts so long.
(opens in new tab) caught up with producer Amy Pascal at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and in an interview, she strongly implied that the deal would be over as soon as the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is completed. “One of the things that I think is so amazing about this experience is that you don’t have studios deciding to work together to make a film very often,” she explained. “In fact it may never happen again, after we do the sequel. Because Sony, and Disney, and Marvel all decided that the right thing to do was to allow Peter Parker and Spider-Man to be in the MCU and to work with the Marvel guys and have them produce this film.” She went on to praise the teamwork involved in getting the deal made, but the most important line in that quote is unquestionably, “It may never happen again, after we do the sequel.”
If that’s true, we’d see Holland show up in the MCU only a few more times: first in Homecoming, then in the next two big Avengers films, and finally in a Homecoming sequel.
But here’s the fascinating part. Just because that sequel might be the end of Spider-Man in the MCU doesn’t mean it’s the end of Tom Holland as the web-slinger. Sony is already hard at work developing movies centered around Spider-Man characters like Venom (opens in new tab), Black Cat, and Silver Sable (opens in new tab) in order to launch its own separate Marvel universe. I’ve been wondering how they were going to make Spider-Man spin-offs without having access to Spider-Man himself, but now we have the answer. Sony appears to know that the deal they have with Disney and Marvel is set to expire, and they’re wisely planning ahead to keep the Spider-Man train running full steam ahead the second that deal runs its course.
Spidey is way too valuable as a property for Sony to simply sell back to Marvel and Disney for good, so barring some sort of crazy extension of the deal, it appears increasingly likely that we’ll be seeing Spider-Man swing out of the MCU and into his own separate web of movies that rest completely under the Sony Pictures umbrella. Cherish Spidey’s interactions with Iron Man while you can, because they may not last for long.