Like placing a sportweddenschappen at a casino, Marvel fans are all placing bets on the events and central characters of the new Spider-Man. Will Toby Maquire and Andrew Garfield be reprising their iconic superhero roles? Has Loki’s time in the TVA impacted Dr. Strange’s Multiverse of Madness? Will Nick Fury return from his space-cation in time to save the day for young Peter Parker?
There are plenty of questions floating about, but perhaps the most important one of all involves Spider-Man’s future. Currently, on its third franchise remake, many fans wonder where Spider-Man will fit into Marvel’s phases four and five in the coming years.
To understand Spider-Man’s future, we first need to examine the past.
Spider-Man was initially created by Marvel Comics in 1962, becoming the first ‘average’ superhero. Before then, the tights and capes were wielded by super-strong, superhuman, super adults. Peter Parker was just an average joe living in NYC before he was bitten by a radioactive spider and donned the mask of Spider-Man.
Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was established, superhero films were individual (and not very popular) creations. Sony Pictures Entertainment bought the rights to Spider-Man from Marvel in 1999. In roughly 15 years, they produced two Spider-Man film series.
Toby Maquire became a meme-worthy web-slinger with three movies between 2002 and 2007. Andrew Garfield took up the mask next for a fresh take on the photographer with two films from 2012 to 2014. Yet, Spider-Man didn’t officially join the MCU until 2017 with his third revival under the actor Tom Holland.
Though created by Marvel, the 1999 deal moved all rights, character appearances, and branding to Sony Entertainment. Though Disney was able to buy back the rights to previously sold-off heroes, like X-men when owned by 20th Century Fox, they have not reached a deal with Sony Entertainment.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was created through unique shared custody of the web-slinger between the two studios, Marvel and Sony. However, renewal arrangements fell through after a fight over profits. No official statement has been released, but Tweets from both the studio and Kevin Feige hints at a grim future after Spider-Man: No Way Home.
This Spider-Man partnership could end after the new movie, removing Tom Holland and his Spider-Man from the current MCU as a whole.
The MCU still has plenty of content left for phase four and has already compiled a list of phase 5 superhero movies. Spider-Man, however, is nowhere to be seen in this lineup. This makes a fourth Spider-Man unlikely, though there is a possibility for a cameo in Dr. Strange’s Multiverse of Madness.
Phases four and five have seen many original avengers’ retirement, like Captain America, Black Widow, and Iron Man. Tom Holland is likely to follow Co-Stars Robbert Downey JR., and Chris Evens away from the MCU and onto new horizons.
Thankfully, the future isn’t spider-free. Though no new Marvel/Sony movies are in the works, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 and Venom 2 are still in production. Though Tom Holland may not make a spider comeback, Disney and Sony could still return to negotiations before the spider separation.
The fate of all Spider-Man will be made clear on December 17th with Spider-Man: No Way Home.