The rumors were almost true: Spider-Man nearly came back to Marvel Studios.
To recap, Marvel sold the motion picture rights to Spider-Man decades ago, before superhero movies were all the rage. They also sold off the rights to a number of other superheroes, including The Hulk, The Punisher, Ghost Rider and Daredevil, all of which eventually came back to the studio. But the rights to the more successful superhero franchises, like Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, remain elsewhere, and although Marvel Studios isn’t terribly vocal about it, it’s a poorly kept secret that they want all those heroes back. In part for financial gain, and in part because – obviously – they think they can make better movies about them.
Many fans agree with that second part, and have openly prayed for those heroes to return to Marvel and join the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But it always seemed unlikely, if only because Sony wouldn’t want to share a piece of their biggest motion picture franchise with another studio. Sony has repeatedly claimed it would never, ever happen, even going so far as to say that, if they did produce a crossover movie, it would only be because they “ran out of ideas.”
But it turns out that Sony nearly “ran out of ideas” on October 30, as revealed in the recent hack on the studio’s computers. The security breach has led to leaked Academy Awards screeners, embarrassing email exchanges, and now correspondence from Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which shows that Marvel Studios had at least expressed an interest in putting Spider-Man in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, and producing a new trilogy of Spider-Man films with Sony tackling “creative control, marketing and distribution.”
The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, goes on to say that talks eventually broke down and Sony has resumed their plans to create a Spider-Man Cinematic Universe all on their own. A so-called “Spidey Summit” is planned for January to determine the fate of their flailing franchise, which is now experiencing diminishing returns with each passing film, and possibly plan a new animated film produced by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the directors of The LEGO Movie.
CraveOnline didn’t want to cover the majority of the Sony hack, since most of the news that sprang from the leak has merely been embarrassing to studio heads and producers, and we only care about the movies they produce, and not their dirty laundry. But the fact that Marvel Studios came THIS CLOSE to producing their own Spider-Man movies is of interest to fans of both the MCU and the wallcrawler. It shows that Marvel Studios has taken an active interest in getting the character back, putting their own (web)spin on the character, and incorporating Marvel’s flagship comic book character into their popular motion picture franchise, which now dwarfs Sony’s Spider-Man movies in both popularity and box office gross.
And given the low quality of Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man movies, and Marvel Studios’ impressive track record with their in-house productions, we can express disappointment that this deal didn’t come through. Unless Sony’s “creative control” meant that Marvel Studios would merely make the films, not the important decisions about how to tell new Spider-Man stories. That would probably have been a pointless endeavor, and if that was the sticking point – which may or may not be the case, we are merely speculating – then we fully support the decision to let the deal fall through.
CraveOnline will be back with more Spider-Man news and possibly more Sony hack news, but only if it matters to audiences, not just to Hollywood insiders.