Spider-Man Homecoming sequel

The ending of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War has everyone looking ahead to Avengers 4 and speculating about how some of those events might be undone, but the marketing team at Sony Pictures is likely focused on an entirely different question. How the heck are they supposed to market the Spider-Man Homecoming sequel without spoiling the events of Avengers 4?

Spoilers follow.

Avengers: Infinity War Put Sony in a Bind

The fact that Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 is being planned at all is already a spoiler for Avengers 4, and savvy fans who knew the sequel was in the works may have felt slightly cheated when Tom Holland‘s Peter Parker/Spider-Man blew away into dust in Tony Stark’s arms. The performances and the writing are good enough to allow that moment to work despite that outside knowledge, but it doesn’t take long before you realize there was no way Sony was going to let Marvel Studios erase one of its biggest moneymakers from existence for good.

The Homecoming sequel hits theaters on July 5, 2019. That’s just a little more than two months after Avengers 4 debuts. Sony definitely wants audiences knowing that they have a new Spidey sequel coming soon. So how are they going to market Homecoming 2?

The Difference a Few Minutes Make

Things may have been a bit easier had producer Amy Pascal not previously revealed that Homecoming 2 begins “a few minutes” after the events of Avengers 4. But Pascal wasn’t the only one who spilled the beans on this one: Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has also explained how the next live-action Spidey movie is going to kick off the next phase of the MCU and will try to answer the question of “how the hell are the events of Infinity War and Untitled [Avengers] going to affect [Peter Parker] as he, yes, goes back to his junior year?” Without those quotes, audiences might have assumed that, like the planned Black Widow movie, the next live-action Spidey film could be a prequel. But now the cat’s out of the bag.

Spider-Man Avengers Infinity War

Here’s How It Might Work

The first teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming arrived more than six months before Homecoming hit theaters. But if Sony adheres to that same strategy next time, they’ll be putting out their first trailer four months before Avengers 4 arrives. As far as I can tell, there’s only one way for this to work. The Avengers 4 trailers have to include Peter Parker waking up in an alternate dimension or being brought back to life somehow. Those are things Marvel Studios would almost certainly rather have audiences learn about for the first time in the theater, but if Marvel doesn’t do something along those lines, Sony will have an impossible challenge on their hands.

Technically speaking, Sony may not care if they spoil Avengers 4 because the deal they signed with Marvel Studios means that Sony and Marvel don’t share profits for movies involving Spider-Man. (In other words, Sony keeps the money from the Spidey-related films they produce, and Marvel Studios keeps the money from the team-up movies involving Spider-Man.) But I can’t imagine Sony would want to tank that relationship, so they’re probably crossing their fingers that Avengers 4‘s trailers reveal that Spidey survives.

Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp, the two MCU films that premiere before Avengers 4, are easy to deal with because they’re both set before Thanos’ reign of terror in Infinity War. But the Spider-Man Homecoming sequel showcases an unseen intricacy in this new age of interconnected blockbuster storytelling: when these movies dominate the cinematic landscape to such a degree that they don’t have enough breathing room, it sets up a game of chicken even among players on the same side. And in this case, someone’s going to have to blink.

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