Back in the MCU
By Ella T. Lifset
**This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home**
News broke in August that Spider-Man was exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), due to a licensing and financial disagreement between Disney and Sony. This came after the release of Spider-Man: Far from Home, the second installment in the MCU’s Spider-Man series, in which (spoiler alert!) Spider-Man’s identity is revealed to the world. Thankfully, on September 24th, the two studios came to an agreement so that arguably one of the most recognizable and beloved Marvel characters can return to the shared universe.
Sony has owned the film rights to Spider-Man since 1998, but after commercial failure with their Andrew-Garfield-led franchise, they forged a deal with Marvel that allowed the web-slinging superhero to appear in Captain America: Civil War and other subsequent Marvel films as an integral and titular character. In this deal, although Disney-owned Marvel was bringing in profits from merchandising, they ultimately were making only 5% of first-dollar profits. This prompted Marvel executives to attempt re-negotiation from Sony executives, but talks fell apart when Sony declined to share more of the profits. Fans mourned the outcome of the discussions; some blamed Sony for being unreasonable, while others claimed Disney was too greedy in the deal. Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo also weighed in on Spider-Man’s departure. “I think it’s a tragic mistake on Sony’s part to think that they can replicate [Feige’s] penchant for telling incredible stories and the amazing success he has had over the years,” Joe said. “I think it’s a big mistake.”
However, this all changed on September 24th. “I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” MCU producer Kevin Feige stated in regards to the news. According to insiders, this new deal, made in late September, allows for one more Spider-Man movie to be produced by Feige and directed by Jon Watts (who previously directed the previous MCU Spider-Man movies), as well as 25% of first-dollar profits for Disney, as opposed to the previous 5%.
It is advantageous for both corporations to come to an agreement over the wall-crawling superhero. Far from Home was Sony’s highest grossing film in history, with over one billion dollars in profit. Success from the Tom-Holland-led movies led to Sony’s development of other Spidey-related films: a sequel to Venom and Morbius, another Marvel character. As for Disney, they retain creative control over the stories, something that would not have happened if Sony left the table with sole Spider-Man
There have also been rumors that star Tom Holland had a key role in reconciling the two media powers. He reportedly met with both Disney CEO Bob Iger and Sony film chairman Tom Rothman on separate occasions, but the topics of the meetings are left largely unknown.
Although many disagree with the corporations’ antics, it would be safe to assume that fans are undeniably excited (and relieved) for the continuation of Peter Parker’s saga in the MCU.