It happened.

Sony has decided to get Marvel Studios to work their magic on the Spider-Man property. Will we get a repeat of the messy Amazing Spider-Man sequel? What are the plans for the web slinger let alone the shared universe Sony wants to create? WHAT’S GOING ON? These were the questions occupying our minds as rumours and fan prayers swirled around the idea of Marvel getting back the rights to its most mainstream comic book character (the X-Men, over at FOX, are a close second).

According to Variety, here’s how how the deal will work out:

  • Kevin Feige will co-produce the Spider-Man films with former Sony co-chairman, Amy Pascal, who “oversaw the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise for over 13 years” at Sony (basically since the 2002 Sam Raimi/Toby Maguire Spider-Man).
  • Sony will still own the rights to Spider-Man and also distribute, finance and have final creative say on the Spider-Man films. It seems like Marvel Studios won’t have to deal with the financial burden if this film tanks (which I doubt it will) but it would be safe to assume that the division of revenue would skew towards Sony’s favour. Marvel doesn’t have final creative say on the Spider-Man films which would be alarming if it wasn’t for the fact that this deal was created to take advantage of Marvel’s magical movie pizzazz. How much control they have of Spider-Man in Marvel Studio films is still undetermined.
  • Yes. It means Spidey gets to chill with the Avengers and could take up the role he played in the Civil War storyline in the comics. This means we could see a whole new Spider-Man as early as next year in Captain America: Civil War.

The Amazing Spider-Man. Marc Webb. Andrew Garfield. 3 July 2012.Did I say a whole new Spider-Man? Yes, I did! To seal the deal and this new relationship, Sony will say goodbye to Andrew Garfield so they can pick a new Spider-Man with Marvel Studios (who’ve already done a fabulous job in casting for their films). I know people are upset that Garfield won’t stay on and I get it because I’m also a Garfield fan but it had to be done. First off, Marvel Studios had nothing to do with choosing Garfield to play Spider-Man, so now that they’re crafting the character anew, they want to find THEIR right guy. This leads to the second reason: Marvel doesn’t want their universe connected to The Amazing Spider-Man universe. Andrew Garfield is the last connection that needs to be severed in order to move on and if he had stayed on, moviegoers would constantly be connecting the two universes. Remember, comic book fans make a small number of the overall moviegoing audience so connecting the two universes is a legitimate concern for studios re: the average audience member who doesn’t know that much (if anything) about comics, especially in the case of Marvel, who have gotten the whole shared universe thing down pat. The third reason is the one I find to be the most important:

Peter Parker doesn’t matter anymore.

Peter Parker was the nerdy and awkward teen outcast who got to be a superhero. This was relatable to comic book readers (and later cartoon viewers) who self identified as outsiders and who didn’t see themselves in the other larger than life superheroes like Captain America. Parker might have worked in the 1960s and the decades that followed but in 2015, it’s hard to see a cisgender, straight white guy as a visible outcast. Stories and characters need to evolve which is why we got an African-American Annie as opposed to the red-head we all know. The red-headed Annie no longer makes sense for the story that needed to be told TODAY, when a black girl is more likely to embody who Annie is in relation to the society that surrounds her.

kamala khan miles moralesWe’ve been getting new versions of Peter Parker with characters like Miles Morales and the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, who are both visible outsiders through their race, ethnicity, gender and/or religion. Both are young heroes who have fun with their powers very much like Peter Parker but also deal with the issues that come along with their youth and their respective identities. Between the two, I’m clearly advocating Miles Morales to be the Spider-Man Marvel Studios and Sony should go with because it’ll bring the Spider-Man character back to who he was at the core in the 60’s while tweaking it for today. It also prevents yet another white cisgender straight guy from entering a universe that’s already saturated with white cisgender straight guys AND offers a much younger take at being a superhero (CAN WE GET A SPIDER-MAN WHO ACTUALLY GOES TO HIGH SCHOOL PLEASE?). Lastly, this deal makes it possible for Miles Morales to wear the costume on the big screen because Marvel Studios has made its brand on selling us unknowns. They’ve created the markets for the lesser known characters and now they can’t tell us there isn’t a market for Miles.

Now all of this is on the preface that I like the idea of Spider-Man going to Marvel Studios. Marvel Studios is great. Spider-Man wasn’t doing well over at Sony. Spider-Man gets to interact with the Avengers! These are facts that I recognize and understand but I still don’t like it. The upside that people seem to forget of having multiple Marvel properties at different studios is the chance to see more of Marvel’s characters on the screen. Marvel Studios can only produce a limited amount of films in a given year so you’ll have characters in the back burner with their stand alone film for at least 2 to 3 years between sequels (much longer if we’re adding more characters to the film schedule). This is why I’m happy that X-Men and the Fantastic Four are both over at Fox especially given that they’re team properties. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting crowded and I don’t like the fact that I have to wait three years for our first person of colour and first female led superhero films because we really wanted Spider-Man to be in Civil War and play with the Avengers.

black panther marvel studios concept artTo wrap up the rest of this news, Spider-Man’s solo film is set to release on July 28, 2017. Does that date look familiar? It should. Thanks to the addition of Spidey, the entire slate has been tweaked. The July 28, 2017 date used to belong to Thor: Ragnarok which has been moved back to November 3, 2017. Black Panther used to be on the November 3, 2017 date and has been moved back to July 6, 2018. Captain Marvel has been pushed back to November 2, 2018 from her July 6, 2018 date and Inhumans has moved from November 2, 2018 to July 12, 2019.

Updated 2015-2019 Movie Slate:
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
  • Ant-Man (July 17, 2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
  • *Spider-Man (July 28, 2017)
  • *Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (May 4, 2018)
  • *Black Panther (July 6, 2018)
  • *Captain Marvel (November 2, 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (May 3, 2019)
  • *Inhumans (July 12, 2019)

Thanks to ComicsAlliance for the full slate change info.