what next for spi­der- man?

Spi­der- Man is com­ing to the marvel cin­e­matic uni­verse. But when, why, how and star­ring who? Nick Setch­field has some of the an­swers

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Spidey will now be part of the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse – here’s where we start get­ting ex­cited.

It’s the kind of geek- spas­ming team- up that’s pow­ered comic books for decades, only even more thrilling than such seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble col­li­sions as Bat­man Vs

The Hulk or Archie Meets The Pun­isher. On 9 Fe­bru­ary Sony Pic­tures En­ter­tain­ment and Marvel Stu­dios an­nounced that they will share screen rights to Spi­der- Man, a dream deal that lets the Web­slinger fi­nally swing into the hith­erto off- lim­its realm of the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse. It’s a com­plete cre­ative over­haul for the hero, whose big- screen ad­ven­tures were al­ready in­fa­mously re­booted in 2012. Out goes direc­tor Marc Webb, helmer of the last two Spi­der- flicks, while long­time fran­chise supre­mos Matt Tol­mach and Avi Arad are moved to Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer po­si­tions. With di­min­ished power comes di­min­ished re­spon­si­bil­ity… Star An­drew Garfield, mean­while, re­port­edly bows out af­ter just two turns in the red- and- blue suit. Sony’s next Spidey movie will hit on 28 July 2017. It’ll be pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Sony’s Amy Pas­cal and Kevin Feige, pres­i­dent of Marvel Stu­dios, the world- con­quer­ing mas­ter­mind be­hind Marvel’s re­cent as­cen­sion to the peak of cin­e­matic supremacy. We’ll glimpse the new screen Spi­derMan be­fore then, though. The smart money is on the re­born Wall- crawler mak­ing his de­but in Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, due for re­lease on 29 April 2016. This’ll al­low Cap’s next solo adventure to edge closer to the comic book ma­te­rial that in­spired it – in the orig­i­nal 2006 se­ries Spi­der- Man plays a cru­cial role in the Su­per­hero Reg­is­tra­tion Act cri­sis that sets Cap­tain Amer­ica and Iron Man against one an­other ( though we bet the movie won’t repli­cate the jaw- drop­ping mo­ment Peter Parker un­masks in front of the world’s me­dia…). “Spi­der- Man is one of Marvel’s great char­ac­ters, beloved around the world,” says Dis­ney CEO Bob Iger. “We’re thrilled to work with Sony Pic­tures to bring the iconic Web­slinger into the MCU, which opens up fan­tas­tic new op­por­tu­ni­ties for sto­ry­telling and fran­chise build­ing.”

The fine print of the con­tract re­minds us that Sony will “con­tinue to fi­nance, dis­trib­ute, own and have fi­nal cre­ative con­trol of the Spi­der- Man films.” But it’s clear that the stu­dio wants to bor­row more than a lit­tle of Marvel’s un­stop­pable mojo. “Marvel’s in­volve­ment will hope­fully de­liver the cre­ative com­mu­nity and au­then­tic­ity that fans de­mand from the MCU,” says Kevin Feige. “I am equally ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity to have Spi­der- Man ap­pear in the MCU, some­thing which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been look­ing for­ward to for years.” How much did this piece of big stu­dio brinkman­ship cost? Not a cent, ap­par­ently. Marvel Stu­dios re­port­edly won’t pay Sony for us­ing Spi­der- Man and, in re­turn, Sony won’t claim a cut of the box of­fice from his ap­pear­ances in fu­ture Marvel movies. Marvel will, how­ever, con­tinue to rake it in from mer­chan­dis­ing rights. Smart move. The deal’s a sur­prise but not en­tirely un­ex­pected. Last De­cem­ber leaked emails re­vealed that ne­go­ti­a­tions had al­ready opened be­tween the two cin­e­matic su­per­pow­ers, only to seem­ingly stall.

So why did this Hol­ly­wood- quak­ing deal fi­nally hap­pen? It’s no se­cret that 2014’ s The Amaz­ing Spi­der- Man 2 dis­ap­pointed, wind­ing up as the low­est-gross­ing in­stal­ment of the five Spidey films. As its once golden fran­chise sput­tered, Sony saw ri­vals Marvel rule the sum­mer with

Guardians Of The Galaxy, a film with a frac­tion of the brand recog­ni­tion power of the web­slinger. How could one of the world’s great­est su­per­heroes fal­ter when the in­ter­na­tional box of­fice was wor­ship­ping at the shrine of masked crime­busters? Sony knew they had to fix Spi­der- Man. Stu­dio exec Jeff Robi­nov favoured reimag­in­ing Peter Parker as a more ma­ture char­ac­ter and rec­om­mended reach­ing out to film­mak­ers like Brad Bird, Edgar Wright and Frozen’s cre­ative pow­er­houses Chris Buck and Jen­nifer Lee. Cap­tain Amer­ica: The

Win­ter Sol­dier helmers An­thony and Joe Russo also re­port­edly con­tacted Sony to of­fer their ser­vices. One wild ru­mour in­sisted the stu­dio wanted to chase Fox’s gen­er­a­tion- splic­ing suc­cess with X- Men: Days Of Fu­ture Past by team­ing An­drew Garfield with his pre­de­ces­sor Tobey Maguire in a con­fec­tion called Amaz­ing

Vs Spi­der- Man. Sure­fire record- smash­ing open­ing week­end, right? Word is that Marvel and Sony will have joint cus­tody of an al­to­gether younger Spi­der- Man. The MCU- friendly ver­sion of the char­ac­ter will re­port­edly be a high schooler, re­turn­ing to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s orig­i­nal premise of a teen hero who’s as likely to fight an out­break of zits as the schemes of Doc­tor Oc­to­pus. The new Spi­der- Man films are also ru­moured to dial down the ro­mance in favour of tales that play up his al­ter ego’s in­ter­ac­tions with fel­low Mid­town High stu­dents as well as the life- crush­ing prob­lems of his dual ex­is­tence. We know Spi­der- Man will fea­ture in fu­ture MCU films – he’s surely a cert for two- part epic Avengers: In­fin­ity War – but will his new­found com­pa­tri­ots re­turn the favour and guest in Sony’s films? The of­fi­cial word is that Marvel and Sony are “ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties”. Don’t bank on the Hulk smash­ing his way through the Daily Bu­gle build­ing just yet… Sony is still push­ing ahead with its plans to ex­pand the Spi­der- verse. Va­ri­ety re­ports that the Venom and Sin­is­ter Six spinoff movies re­main in ac­tive devel­op­ment – though the lat­ter su­pervil­lain jam won’t now be re­leased in Novem­ber 2016 as planned. Kevin Feige will have no in­volve­ment in th­ese fran­chise ex­ten­sions. As to whether the pro­posed Aunt May movie will ever see the glow of a green­light…

Ooh yeah, this is ex­actly what we want!

Whose der­riere will be plonked down here?

Some down­time in the Civil War.

One of Marvel’s big­gest cross­over events.

Peter Parker re­veals him­self to the world in Civil War.

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