The Web-Head is out of the Marvel Universe
Ah, Spiderman. He first became a hit in the public eye in the 2002 movie Spider-Man, starring Toby Maguire, and the movie was so popular it got two sequels, in 2004 and 2007 respectively.
The franchise has been rebooted twice in the 2010s, first with The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, and it’s sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man, in 2014, both of which starred Andrew Garfield.
In 2016, the web-head returned as Tom Holland in the movie Captain America: Civil War. A year later, he got his own movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The following year in 2018, he was in the movie Avengers: Infinity War.
Another version of Spider-Man came out that year in an animated movie produced by Sony Pictures called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which featured all sorts of different Spider-People from his iterations in the comics.
Earlier this year, the Tom Holland Spider-Man appeared in both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Last month, Sony Pictures, the studio that has the film rights to the Spider-Man movie franchise, declared that they were no longer allowing Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since 2016, Sony had let the Tom Holland Spider-Man appear in five movies of the MCU, appearing alongside other characters owned by Disney, such as Iron Man and Captain America. But now that he’s gone, how will the MCU go on without him, and what does Sony plan to do with the Tom Holland character?
In my opinion, this is a good time for this to happen, if there ever is a good time for a beloved character to leave a film franchise. Sony Pictures has proved themselves more than capable of creating a wonderful Spider-Man movie, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse being the perfect example.
I believe that the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies can continue without the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His first stand alone movie really only featured two characters from other MCU movies: Happy and Iron Man. His next movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, featured Happy, Nick Fury, and a few other various members of S.H.I.E.L.D. (that turned out to be Skrulls in disguise).
Since Iron Man is dead, I believe the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies could continue very easily by simply removing them from the story. The Skrulls on Earth could become a plot in another MCU movie (Dr. Strange, perhaps?), and Happy could simply dump Aunt May offscreen to get him out of the plot.
Done correctly, this could easily tie up any plot threads to separate the Spider-Man universe and MCU. I even believe it would make narrative sense, seeing as how Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has grown to fight for himself over the course of his movies, and I think that removing any other Avengers, or even Nick Fury, from his story would make it a more interesting and personal story.
Is there any chance of Sony actually doing this and continuing the Tom Holland Spider-Man story? Probably not, but a boy can dream.
One of the problems that people often bring up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that the focus of a broader world makes the audience more interested in how the story will play out in the long run rather than how good the film actually was. For an example of this, Black Panther, another MCU film, had almost no other characters from the MCU except in the end credits scene. Black Panther was an insanely popular movie, making $1.3 Billion dollars and currently has a 92% liked it score on Metacritic.
Heck, the movie is so popular there is a poster of it in the classroom in which I am writing this article. Black Panther did well because it could stand by itself without being associated with any of the other Marvel movies, meaning that people who had never seen a MCU film in their life could enjoy it without always asking what was going on. That was my experience with the movie, and it reignited my interest in superhero movies again, causing me to watch Avengers: Infinity War and eventually bringing me in with the Avengers: Endgame hype.
The way I see it, Spider-Man leaving the MCU will be Marvel’s great test. Many people felt the MCU reached a natural conclusion with Avengers: Endgame, and many people decided that they were done with the MCU films.
Spider-Man was a huge property for Sony when he was in the MCU, and him leaving alongside all of the characters that died in Avengers: Endgame, like Iron Man and Black Widow, is going to put a huge strain on the fan base.
If Marvel keeps trying to interconnect their properties in an elaborate web of interconnected properties, new fans will be hard to find and current fans will eventually get bored. However, if they start to be more creative with the stories they can tell with just one superhero and his sidekicks, like they did with Black Panther, then people might still be interested even if the studio took a hit.