Can Spider-Man still swing high in future movies without Marvel Studios?

At CinemaCon in Las Vegas, film producer Amy Pascal hinted that Sony and Marvel might stop collaborating after they complete the sequel to this year’s Spider-Man movie. What does the future hold for the web slinger?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 4:59pm

That’s not a headache you’re experiencing. It’s your spidey sense telling you something’s up with the future of live-action Spider-Man movies.

Producer Amy Pascal created quite the spider-buzz when she spoke last month at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and hinted that after the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2019, Sony and Marvel Studios’ sharing of the cinematic rights to Spider-Man could end – implying Sony could take over all future films.

Then there was the comment Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts made to Fandango when he confirmed that the upcoming Venom movie being planned by Sony will not be connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

If you’ve ever read a Spider-Man comic book in which Spidey is swinging through New York and he runs out of webbing and starts falling, that’s what this feels like. Spider-Man movie hype is back and real again only because Marvel Studios got involved in the process.

On the bright side, this isn’t a quick broom swipe to the web of continuity between Spider-Man and the rest of the MCU. Tom Holland will appear as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in not one but four movies to be produced or co-produced by Marvel Studios. Spider-Man has already appeared in Captain America: Civil War (2016), and will also appear in Homecoming (July 7, 2017), Avengers: Infinity War (May 4, 2018) and the Homecoming sequel (2019).

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Sony wouldn’t take sole control until after that. And until then, it can see how Marvel treats the character. But even so, can we trust Sony with one of the most important superhero movie properties ever?

Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies are the stuff of superhero movie legend, complete with a score from Danny Elfman. (We won’t talk about Spider-Man 3 if you won’t.) But Raimi’s Spider-Man movies came before the MCU, which came to life with Iron Man in 2008, a year after Spider-Man 3. In later instalments, when Andrew Garfield came along as the title character in the reboots The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), there was always the thought, “But how great would Spider-Man movies be if Marvel Studios was involved?”

Now, Marvel Studios is involved. But for how long? Sony’s potential plan is almost Green Goblin-esque in boldness. Let Marvel Studios handpick a new Spider-Man. Throw him in four films that Marvel either produces or co-produces. Build a new fan base that is hungry for more Spider-Man movies. And then cut Marvel Studios off (in which case Sony would retain the character) so you no longer have to share those spidey-bucks on future movies. You can almost see Sony throwing Marvel Studios off a bridge and Spider-Man shooting a web to save Marvel, but it’s too late.

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Don’t forget that only two of those four planned films are solo films, so fans will probably want more of Holland swinging around afterward. It helps that Holland is young – by 2019 he’ll be only 22.

Sony was throwing a lot of ideas at the wall and hoping they’d stick before Marvel Studios came in to save the day and make Spider-Man movies relevant again. A Sinister Six movie featuring villains no one was excited about? A Venom movie after they botched that bad guy in Spider-Man 3? The Aunt May prequel movie ended up not being a real thing, but admit it, you thought it was something Sony might consider.

Aside from the well-executed and unexpected death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony hasn’t done much post-Raimi that would lead fans to think Spidey will be just fine if Marvel Studios’ help is no longer wanted come 2019.

Then again, this could all be a big deal about nothing and Sony could decide that it is okay with keeping Marvel Studios on board.

The only sure thing right now is that the end of Spider-Man movies is nowhere in sight.