Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 by Russ Fischer
[Additional reporting by Germain Lussier]
It happened: Sony admitted it needed help with Spider-Man, and went to Marvel for an assist. The character will be re-cast, and the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel Studios movie, with a new Sony film to follow in 2017. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is a producer on the new Sony film, along with former Sony head Amy Pascal, and the door is open for other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) characters to appear in Sony’s effort. This is the situation fans have hoped to see for several years, or something close to it, anyway. But the news also raises many questions. What will the new version of Spider-Man look like? What about Sony’s plans for other movies? We address those questions and many more below.
Which Character Will the New Spider-Man Be?
There is a large and vocal fan contingent that wants to see either Miles Morales, or a non-white actor taking over the role. Kevin Feige isn’t afraid to change things up, but he also tends to follows a pretty “down the middle” version of each of Marvel’s biggest characters.
Which is to say that I bet he’d like to see a Miles Morales movie as much as many of us would, but that he’ll probably go with Peter Parker. Let’s assume that Feige will accept having the chance to play with Spider-Man stand as his real win, and not try to push things with a new version of the character that will further challenge Sony’s corporate status quo.
Spider-Man doesn’t have to be an anchor for Marvel, which means the studio can look at him with a playful eye. But he is very much an anchor for Sony, and Sony isn’t traditionally a risk-taking company. That doesn’t mean we aren’t wondering if this seems like an opportunity to balance the goodwill of having Spidey back under partial Marvel control with a little risk-taking, especially in light of what Sony is doing with Ghostbusters. But in this case, the risk-taking could be in the structure of multi-studio crossovers and the way the character’s backstory is presented. And the press release specifically mentions the name Peter Parker, which is about as good an indication as you need that Sony plans to stay on that course.
- The Safe Bet: Peter Parker returns, with a slightly retooled backstory.
- The Longshot: We see a masked Spider-Man throughout his first appearance in Civil War, and his unmasking reveals Miles Morales.
If it Is Peter Parker, Which Peter Will it Be?
Good question! Sony has two films of very questionable continuity built up, but they’ve started to build the idea of a number of spin-offs based on that continuity. Will the next film carry forward from there? That would be helpful with respect to any further plan for spin-offs at Sony.
But the backstory in those films — Peter’s parents, and the handling of much of his life — is not what Spider-Man is all about. So we can see Feige and Pascal engineering a selective reboot. The problem is that retaining anything from the two Marc Webb films means keeping a crappy version of Peter’s family, and a lousy rendition of Uncle Ben’s death. So odds are on this being Peter Parker, but yet another new version of the character.
We’re hoping in some ways for a younger Peter Parker, as his age would immediately set him apart from Marvel’s existing heroes.
- The Safe Bet: We’ll see a softly “recalibrated” version of the character and his history.
- The Longshot: This will be an all-new character, with none of the recent Sony backstory.
What Happens With the Villains?
Spider-Man and his villains are one in the same. With one comes the rest. So it’s a pretty good assumption that Spider-Man’s villains are now in play for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too: Green Goblin, Venom, Doc Ock, Kraven, Sandman, Hobgoblin, the list goes on and on. We’ll likely see one or a combination in the 2017 solo film.
While the 2016 release date for a Sinister Six movie has been postponed, it is still going to happen, at least as far as Sony believes right now. That movie would not, hypothetically, take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as a reboot for all these characters, could make a lot of sense. Here’s a crazy idea – what if the 2017 film is Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six? You introduce them all, and they can take part in Infinity War?
- The Safe Bet: Spidey’s villains are primarily seen in his own films at Sony.
- The Longshot: Some villain characters, perhaps the Goblin or Venom, end up in the MCU.
Which MCU Movie Will First Feature Spider-Man?
We could see Spider-Man in a film as early as Avengers: Age of Ultron or Ant-Man, perhaps in a post-credits stinger using an all-CG Spider-Man based on existing assets. But more than that would require a very fast casting process, a very quick bit of writing, and hasty costume work. We’ve seen Marvel do all these things before, as with Thanos in the first Avengers. But with a character as big as Spider-Man, we’re hoping they’ll be a bit more deliberate. Thanos was, after all, just something they tried on for size, and it happened to fit. (That said, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 costume was great, and if it was simply re-fitted for a new actor, we’d be happy to see it, or a version thereof, back in action.)
Expect to see Spider-Man show up in Civil War, set for release just over a year from now in May 2016. That still means the Spider-Man role has to be cast fairly soon.
- The Safe Bet: Captain America: Civil War
- The Longshot: Peter Parker appears in a post-credits stinger attached to Avengers: Age of Ultron.