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After weeks of worry and speculation on whether Disney or Sony were in the wrong, the two companies have come to an agreement which allowed for Tom Holland's Spider-Man to re-enter the MCU. All is right with the world, at least for as long as it takes for Sony and Marvel to crank out another solo Spider-Man movie and some other stuff. After that, then what happens?
I'm sure we'd all love to assume everything will be good from here on out, but it feels like either company could once again pack their ball up and go home, putting Spider-Man's future within the MCU in jeopardy once again. With Sony holding a bulk of the power at the moment, audiences have to wonder, will Marvel try to lessen Peter Parker's importance within the MCU going forward?
It's quite a thing to consider and one that could shape the MCU in a way it previously didn't intend to go initially. Let's first talk about what Spider-Man's status in the MCU is at the moment, and how Marvel could be altering the Web-Slinger's future to lessen his impact on its shared universe should Sony attempt to pull him away once again.
Spider-Man's Status In Spider-Man: Far From Home
Peter Parker was essentially given the keys to the kingdom following Avengers: Endgame, as Tony Stark bequeathed his protege a sizable amount of his Iron Man tech in Spider-Man: Far From Home. With this technology, Peter is one of Earth's biggest defenders, and one of the few major players post-Endgame properly equipped to take on a larger threat should someone try sweeping in for an easy victory post-Thanos.
Marvel took the Iron Man comparison one step further by making Peter Parker's identity public, though it wasn't his decision to make his identity known. We'll probably learn the fallout from what happened after that in the coming MCU events, and whether or not the public believes Spider-Man is truly responsible for the things J. Jonah Jameson claimed he was wrongfully accused of.
The question is will the accusations against Peter Parker impact the future Tony laid out for him? If so, then Peter may not become the big shot in the MCU that Stark was, which means his role may not be as substantial in the MCU's future. If Disney is all-in on making Tom Holland the next Robert Downey Jr. of the MCU, it better be prepared to continue to play ball with Sony because it holds the cards right now.
Why Lessening Spider-Man's Importance In The MCU Is A Good Idea
When it comes to lessening the importance of Spider-Man within the MCU, the advantage is clear for Disney. Taking this approach makes Marvel less reliant on keeping the hero around for future endeavors, and therefore gives Sony less bargaining power the next time the two come to the table to discuss terms for how things will work out between them in the future.
Now that Marvel Studios is all in on the Multiverse, perhaps the right move is to put Peter Parker in a world where he's not expected to be someone just hanging around in the prime universe of the MCU? Doing so leaves the door open for Spider-Man to return, but the universe can go on without sidestepping the massive elephant in the room that would be his disappearance should Sony pull him away again.
At the very least, one would think Marvel needs to lessen comparisons to Iron Man, because not having sole control of the character makes it very possible it'll lose one of the MCU's biggest faces yet again in the future. That's especially true with Kevin Feige's availability getting thinner now that he's in on Star Wars, meaning he may not be around as much as Sony will want to help with the Spider-Man franchise in the future.
Why Lessening Spider-Man's Importance In The MCU Is A Bad Idea
There's a reason Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man way back when, and a reason why its building a whole universe around him and his characters: he's popular. In fact, Spider-Man was definitely one of Marvel's most popular characters for decades, and is still pretty high up there in this age of the MCU. Is it really in Marvel's best interest to diminish Spidey's importance now?
Think back to how psyched Marvel lovers were when it was first announced Spider-Man would appear in the MCU. Many proclaimed that Marvel Studios would get the character "right," and while there have been some variations on the traditional Spidey formula, there are definitely more Tom Holland Spider-Man lovers than haters. Would it really be in Disney's best interest to alter the path and legacy of a character who fans tend to give more credit for than Sony?
I wouldn't think so, especially if they can still keep Spider-Man for appearances in other Marvel movies. With so many actors and actresses out of the MCU following Avengers: Endgame, Marvel still has access to one of Hollywood's youngest A-listers who could carry this universe into the next decade if they treat him right. Jeopardizing that relationship over a tiff with Sony doesn't seem worth it in the long run, especially when it's raking in tons of money with other Marvel franchises.
So... What's The Best Move?
Honestly, there's no predicting the future. Disney and Sony could squabble and fight over the next decade about what each wants for Spider-Man, and Tom Holland could up announcing he's no longer interested in playing the character. Disney could also always just purchase the rights back to Spider-Man, though there doesn't seem to be any chance of that happening in the near future.
Perhaps the best strategy for Marvel Studios to remember is that Spider-Man is a tangible part of the MCU, and should be treated as such. That's not to say it should lessen his significance, but there definitely needs to be a Plan B for the studio in all future Phase planning for what happens if Peter Parker isn't around in a couple years. And, for what it's worth, Sony should recognize that Spider-Man being a part of the MCU is about the best promotion any superhero franchise can get in this era of filmmaking.
Eager for more news on Spider-Man now that the hero's back in the MCU? CinemaBlend is keeping an eye on any and all details regarding his future appearances, so stick with us for that and the latest news happening in television and movies.