NOTE: Major spoilers ahead. Do not read if you haven’t seen up to Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Over the years, across different comic books, TV series and big-screen movies, the fictional Marvel character Ben Parker, best known as the uncle of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), has often said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
It’s a beloved quote across the Spider-Man fanbase, and judging by the success of Disney‘s recent Spider-Man films, it’s a quote that stuck with the media giant.
Since 2009, Disney has owned the rights to Marvel, and since then have been developing the world-renowned Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The introduction of Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man came in 2016 with the release of Captain America: Civil War. Since then, the popularity of Spider-Man has boomed.
However, according to Deadline, while Disney’s great power comes from many other Marvel superheroes, Spider-Man will no longer be its responsibility.
Why? Well, because Sony owns the right to Spider-Man, among many other Marvel characters, and their deal with Disney reportedly ended on Tuesday.
The partnership the film studios formed back in 2015 was reportedly only a temporary lease, and according to the Associated Press, ended after a monetary disagreement.
As a result, Spider-Man may no longer be a part of the MCU, meaning Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, might have to step down as Spider-Man’s lead producer — the role he played on both previous standalone films.
Having already cemented the web-slinging hero as a key character in Marvel’s upcoming phase, the sole possibility of a Spider-Man-free MCU shocked and angered avid fans across the world.
This image released by Columbia Pictures shows Tom Holland in a scene from ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’
It triggered a plethora of fans to launch their own Change.org petitions demanding Disney and Sony continue working together.
The first, Keep Spider-Man with Disney and the MCU, targets Sony, pinning the blame on them for supposedly walking away from Disney’s offer.
“After the news today that Sony walked away from their deal with Disney, I cannot in good faith stand by while Spider-Man and his fans around the world become collateral damage,” wrote Nate Phillips, launcher of the petition.
“Spider-Man in the MCU has brought some of the best moments in modern cinema history,” Phillips continued. “Sony, you must let go of this property or renegotiate with Disney to keep all of the fans happy.”
Phillips’ goal is to reach 10,000 signatures. In less than 24 hours, the online document has received more than 8,200.
Another petition, Bring Spider-Man back to the MCU, was launched in India by Desi Nerd and preaches that Holland, 23, is the best live-action Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date and that “it will never be the same” without him.
“In Avengers: Endgame, the movie already sets him up to be the next Iron Man, as well as Spider-Man: Far From Home,” wrote Nerd. “They can’t just leave us hanging like this and pretend that he doesn’t exist like he wasn’t even in the last five major films.
“It is heartbreaking to know that it won’t be the same and if you can settle a minor agreement it will make a major impact on the fans today,” they continued. “If this doesn’t get resolved, you will lose many supporters of this amazing character.”
After a subsequent frenzy of social media backlash regarding the unclear future of Spider-Man, Sony later addressed the news in an official statement via Twitter.
“Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise,” Sony wrote. “We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film.
“We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own.”
Sony was, of course, referring to Marvel’s recent MCU Phase 4 announcement, which revealed an impressive roster of upcoming Marvel films.
“Kevin is terrific,” concluded Sony, “and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
The end of Sony and Disney’s short-lived partnership followed the massively successful release of the second Disney/Sony Spider-Man film, Far From Home, which came out in early July.
As reported by NME, the film pulled in more than US$1.109 billion from the worldwide box office earlier this month, surpassing the previous record-holder, Skyfall (2012).
These numbers officially made Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony’s highest-grossing film to date, as confirmed by the studio.
Spider-Man: Far From Home was directed by Jon Watts — who also directed Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). He was initially set to come back for at least two more standalone Spider-Man films, but the future of these films is now unclear.
The premise of the blockbuster hit follows the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame in which Tony Stark/Iron Man (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) dies, leaving Peter Parker in charge of the Avengers and thus making him one of the MCU’s most important characters.
At the end of the film, in the post-credit scenes, fans were left with a suspenseful cliffhanger that potentially alluded to the once-upcoming Spider-Man films.
A representative of Disney declined to comment to Global News, while a Sony representative offered no additional comment.
Disney+, Disney’s very own streaming platform, launches on Nov. 12 in North America and will feature all MCU-related TV series and films. It will also serve as the hub for the upcoming Phase 4 series, including Loki and Hawkeye.
Details on Disney+ can be found through the official website.
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