Marvel Studios Gets A Crack At Spider-Man: Why Both Studios Need A Fresh Take On The Web Slinger

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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.

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. Part-time contributor. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, Quill & Quire and Hyperallergic.

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for unpacking all of this so thoughtfully, Ardo – I was excited when I heard about Spider-Man joining the MCU and I still think it’s a good thing because I’d much rather see the characters interact (especially since I’ve heard that SM is such a big part of the Civil War storyline). I personally don’t mind waiting for movies as long as they’re good (but then, I also really didn’t love the last X-Men movies…) – and I’m probably the average comic book movie fan who just watches and doesn’t follow or read? I do hope they’ll inject more diversity into the movies.

  2. I agree – I’d really like to see them use Miles Morales for this, and I’m happy about it in general.

  3. Jacob Artist got Miles Morales is literally PERFECT… Sorry guys but Donald Glover is way too old now.
    Jacob is tall, good looking, Athletic,good actor…it work even better because he looks like Miles.

    • This is exactly how I feel, if they were going to racebend Peter Parker I’d be all for Donald Glover, but if they’re going for Miles Morales instead, he’s far to old. What about Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas in Harry Potter, Wes Gibbins in HTGAWM) instead? He’s older of course, but he can still pass for Hollywood high school.

  4. I don’t know that I really agree with the idea of going with Miles on this. Not so much because I disagree with the intent (there *are* an awful lot of white guys), but because I just think it wouldn’t work out great for the movie. Miles just doesn’t have a lot of history at this point; he’s not that far removed from just being “not-Peter Parker”.

    That in itself wouldn’t be an issue to me, except that using Miles dooms us to yet another origin movie (people know who Peter is, they have no clue about Miles), but at the same time he’s not sufficiently differentiated from Peter that the overall story would be different enough to really justify it sitting through great power/great responsibility again. I think I’d actually rather just have Peter be black, straight-up, although good luck getting the studio to do that. It’s an angle that needs to be covered, and Marvel has been getting a lot better about it in the comics, but as good as say, Kamala is, that doesn’t make her movie-ready just yet.

    • “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”

      Doesn’t that depend on whatever circumstances inform your perspective? If you’re a person of color or something other than cisgender, then it would be hard to take Peter Parker seriously as an outcast even in the early 60s. Or the 50s, 40s, 30s, etc.

      However, if you’re a nerdy white kid who gets picked on by jocks or whatever upper level social hierarchy in high school, then Peter Parker is as relevant as he ever was. The fact that we still have school shootings where the perpetrator is a white cisgender male student who felt like an outcast pretty much proves that out unequivocally.

      The better argument is to just play the numbers game. There are MORE outcasts who aren’t white cisgender males than ever before. Making it more lucrative for studios to feature them in their films. The beauty of Spider-Man’s origin is that you can put anyone of any color or sexual orientation in the role and have them be an outcast and the story still works.

      I would rather see a black Peter Parker than Miles Morales for the simple reason that Peter Parker was designed to be anyone, not just white, cisgendered.

      Consider this, if Sony was doing a new Spider-Man reboot completely unconnected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think a non white Spider-Man would be tiresome and played out and, as you say, irrelevant, not because he’s a white outcast, but specifically because he is white. White fans would definitely be in an uproar about it as they traditionally do, but would grudgingly go to see it anyways simply because it would be different from all the Spider Man films before it. But lets not kid ourselves about fandom. They don’t boycott films they claim to hate. They see it over and over again so as to be more informed in their hatred of the film. So they’re going to see Spider-Man no matter what.

      However, the golden opportunity here is to do something different while covering your ass. In this case, the ass covering comes in the form of the already established MCU, the movie equivalent of comic book cannon with a fanbase of movie goers who have been invested in the film universe since the first Iron Man film and can not turn back now no matter what.

      Once Spider-Man is introduced into the MCU, that’s the Spider-Man we’re stuck with, for better or for worse, for the foreseeable future. If the actor is black, then the character would have the protection of the established MCU as Feigi definitely can not afford to switch horses midstream and neither can audiences.

      Since Peter can be anyone, I don’t really see the point of introducing a version of Spider-Man that audiences who might be fans of the MCU and not necessarily the comics aren’t familiar with. I don’t see the point of a movie studio trying desperately to get back the rights to the Peter Parker Spider-Man only to discard the very real power of name recognition in favor of a version of the character that people, generally, are not familiar with. People know who Aunt May and Uncle Ben are now. Jefferson and Rio, not so much.

      With this golden opportunity to bring a rebooted Spider-Man into the MCU, it’s important to keep the symbolism of Peter Parker as the everyman and have that everyman be played by a person of color rather than going with what amounts to “the black version from that OTHER universe”. It’s like saying anyone can be president. They don’t’ say people of color can be president as long as it’s the president from the Ultimate Universe.

      • A white cisgender straight man (and/or boy) is privileged in society and institutions. Feeling like an outcast for him becomes a matter of personal circumstances. A person of colour, an LGBT identified person, a transgender person and a woman would all have to deal with institutional/societal oppressive ideals that tell them their identities are invalid AS WELL as any personal shit they have to deal with. Racebending Peter Parker would be a bare minimum. Why do we have to have a character who was originally white suddenly become black or hispanic or asian when we can have characters that were originally created as a minority? Why does it have to be an afterthought? And I agree that the Spider-Man can be anybody so why do we need a black Peter Parker? Why is Peter Parker so important to a mantle we’ve just established could be anyone including Miles Morales? Just to verify I didn’t say Spider-Man was irrelevant because he’s white. I said Peter Parker was irrelevant because he’s white…and a dude and cisgender and straight. It’s a combination of these identities that make him irrelevant because there are other versions of him in media already (There are eight lead Marvel Studios heroes who embody this specific combination of identities). Do I care about the uproar of white fans? No. I don’t let that keep me up at night. Not sure why they’re upset when 90 % if not more of media today stars white people that white fans can identify with on a racial level. Comics fans get mad over many things (as a comics fan, I get made too sometimes) but as I’ve stated, we make up a minority of movie ticket sales so our tears won’t break a particular film or even make a film a runaway success. This “covering our asses” theory you put forth can be said for any casting Marvel makes even if the character is canon or white (i.e. Doctor Strange) because it’s ultimately about acting, likability and embodying the character well. Marvel is 10+ movies in at this point. I think they’ll do just fine. This will be the thrid reboot of the character so I think even audiences wouldn’t mind some spice to their dulled Spider-Man taste buds. If rights fighting was indeed happening behind the scene, it was for Spider-Man which includes Peter Parker, the various iterations of Spider-Man (including Miles Morales) and characters specifically linked to the Spider-Man world like J. Jonah Jameson, Doc Oct etc. Marvel Studios was built on unrecognizable names so to say that people won’t recognize Jefferson and Rio as opposed to Aunt Ben and Aunt May is ridiculous at this point since Iron Man was not only unknown to mainstream audiences but also a B list character in comics. “Everyman” as you put forth is defaulted as white which just reaffirms what I’ve been saying in this very long response. Thx for your comment and I hope you’ll read my next piece titled “Why We Need Black President Superman In This DC Universe and Pretend Man of Steel Was A Sick April Fool’s Joke”.

        • “A white cisgender straight man (and/or boy) is privileged in society and institutions. Feeling like an outcast for him becomes a matter of personal circumstances. A person of colour, an LGBT identified person, a transgender person and a woman would all have to deal with institutional/societal oppressive ideals that tell them their identities are invalid AS WELL as any personal shit they have to deal with.”

          I’d just like to note that this was about as true in the 1960s as it is now – straight, white, cis men were still the most privileged group in society. Yet you seem to think Spiderman then was about being an institutional outcast rather than a personal one – how so?

          That said, there are still institutional class issues that can affect white people, as well as ethnic oppression (please, tell me Appalachia is not regarded with intense and nasty ethnic and class prejudice by wealthier parts of the U.S., with real consequences for people living in the region). And while Jews are widely considered “white” in the U.S., this is not always the case in the rest of the world, and anti-Semitism is also a real, non “personal” problem regardless of how Jewish people are perceived racially.

          Likely none of this applies to Peter Parker, but to make blanket statements like that reduces oppression to a strict and simplified set of axes that does not fully reflect reality.

          That said, I do agree that straight cis white characters are a dime a dozen, and while I don’t have much personal investment in Spiderman, Miles Morales would at the very least be a nice change from the last two (IMO exceedingly lackluster) movie franchise attempts.

  5. Quick correction: the sentence “I think a non white Spider-Man would be tiresome and played out..” should read “white” rather than “non white”.

  6. Sorry, but say that Peter Parker does not matter anymore is being very arrogant of you, is practically saying that one of the characters symbols of the publisher is obsolete, the story of Spider has always been more a question of Peter trying to be a hero while deal with their daily problems like every mortal, I like Miles and Kamala Khan, my sister has descendants arabic and loved the character, but not so she says Carol Danvers is a disposable character.

    I always try not to express an opinion on these matters, because as I am a white guy my opinion is never valid because they think I am benefited, I think that comics is a great way to integrate everyone, but not like when ever use the cause of minorities to impose something, as it always generates more discord, I can not be more Negro know how to be despised was born with a deformity on his face, and it always made me hate people, especially my brothers because I was the only one to be born with this problem people always treat me like a be pitied or someone repulsive, especially when I was in school, had a kid in my class who was practically Flash Thompson, every day he teased me and it pissed me off. the only thing I was glad to read the stories of Super Heroes as Spider-Man, Superman and Flash, until one day this kid did that scene typical cliche of those B movies, where they ask the most beautiful girl in school talk to you and then humiliate you in front of everyone hahahaha today I laugh at all these things, but remember being sad and told my mother hated her and asked God why he did this to me, I tried those basic things face feeling dismissed as suicide or kill the boy who humiliated me, but always wondered what Peter Parker or Clark Kent would do, this may sound silly but it was of great importance to me and read their stories was one of the things that made me make the man i am today, now when I see comments saying that it is a disposable character and everything, it makes me very sad, so … as I said before I do not see the Miles Morales problem be the next Spider-Man, though not like reading texts like this.

    • I’m sorry if my comment has some inconsistencies, it is because of my annoying automatic translator from my cell.

    • Thank you for your comment. I see where you’re coming from and as I’ve stated in my piece (and then more specifically in the very long comment response above), there are other cisgender straight white guys to have as role models (you mentioned Clark Kent/Superman as an example) in these films whereas people who aren’t cisgender, white, male or straight don’t have as many (actually none at this point re: superhero films post first Iron Man film). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone has shit they have to deal with whether it’s bullying, abuse, loss of a loved one etc and those are valid personal experiences. To say that cisgender straight white guys don’t have those issues would be a flawed argument and I never made such an argument. I’m talking about the institutional shit that comes with being non-white, a woman, trans and/or gay/bi etc that is important because it’s that same shit that gave us (in the Marvel universe alone!): four leads who are white dudes & three more upcoming leading white guys in 2015/2016/2017. I’ve grown up with Peter Parker and love the character but he’ll still exist in comics if you really want his story. I never said wipe him from the face of the earth. I just meant from the movie universe. Many fans want a Miles Morales film so I’m not just pulling this out of my ass (you’ve said you wanted one too which is great) but Peter had his shot which resulted in now three reboots in thirteen years. I’m tired. I need an outcast that really embodies it through just being yet another privileged individual who can blend in with the blur that is the Avengers. I want someone who can represent ME. Also, I wouldn’t compare Peter to Carol Danvers because she was never supposed to be an “outcast” the way Parker was created to be.

  7. Peter Parker should still be in the films but as a mentor to Miles and he should the spiderman in Civil war. peter parker has a huge moment in the Civil War comics when he reveals his identity to the public as suggested by Tony Stark. that moment should belong to tobey maquire and then he takes on Miles as a new spiderman mentee in the following spiderman films. not only does this give a satifying conclusion to Tobey’s spiderman but we get to see him grown up (the way it happened in the Civil War comics), possibly married to MJ by now and then at the end credits we will see Peter in his high school science class (he’s a science teacher) meeting Miles Morales which perfectly sets up the Spiderman franchise.