While there has been tension in the past, new comments from Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group President Sanford Panitch suggest that the working relationship between Sony and Marvel’s Kevin Feige is “excellent.” This comes from an interview Panitch had with Variety where he mentioned their big Spider-Man plans will be revealed after the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home in December.
PANITCH: “The great thing is we have this very excellent relationship with Kevin. There’s an incredible sandbox there to play with. We want those MCU movies to be absolutely huge, because that’s great for us and our Marvel characters, and I think that’s the same thing on their side. But we have a great relationship. There’s lots of opportunities, I think, that are going to happen.”
Despite those rosy comments, things weren’t always pleasant between the two companies.
In the early days of Marvel shopping the film rights to studios, Sony Pictures famously rejected a deal that could have landed-up the bulk of the Marvel Comics character lineup when Marvel first approached the studio about tackling Spider-Man movies. Those executives obviously had zero imagination about what the future held for the superhero genre and cinematic universes.
When Marvel Studios became successful, Sony Pictures still scoffed at the idea of teaming together to the point that Sony Japan had to tell their film division to a make a deal with Marvel happen after Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to get audiences jazzed about their Spider-Man cinematic universe. Even after the billion-dollar success of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the deal between Disney and Sony dissolved which led to the potential of Sony Pictures moving forward with Spider-Man 3 without the help of Marvel. Luckily, Tom Holland able to get the two studios back to table and is the reason why Spider-Man: No Way Home exists.
After past attitudes mentioned above, it’s not hard to imagine that Sony could be under the impression they can simply copy the Marvel model for themselves without the help of Marvel Studios. The success of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and it’s Oscar win could give the studio a boost of confidence to go solo again. It wouldn’t be the first studio to do so, and Sony already attempted to create their own cinematic universe with plans to make a Sinister Six movie that was one of the main teases from Amazing Spider-Man 2, alongside introducing future Rogue One actress, Felicity Jones, as Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat (another character that was set to get a solo film).
One of the theories about Spider-Man: No Way Home is that it could be a way for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to ease his way out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gracefully with one final film.
The vagueness of the statements from the studio executive aren’t particular helpful either. We’re still kind of in the dark what Sony plans to do after Spider-Man: No Way Home, Panitch suggests they’ll be revealing their big plan after the release of the third Marvel-made solo Spider-Man film, but haven’t been clear if they’ll continue to have Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the MCU or agree to give Marvel access to other incarnations of the character (Miles Morales etc) allowing them to keep Holland for their own cinematic universe installments.
There is some hope from fans that everything can simply just be consider part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we’ve examples in the past even at different divisions of Marvel where that wasn’t a simple thing. Marvel Studios Nate Moore mentioned off-handily that the Disney+ shows were the first time that the television and film universes have been cohesive, alluding to the Marvel Television/Loeb era being nixed from MCU hard-canon.
Keeping in mind how the Jeph Loeb era of Marvel shows were blocked from official canon, I personally don’t see how Kevin Feige would suddenly allow Sony’s spinoff films to be so easily accepted to the Marvel Cinematic Universe without his personal oversight on their development and production. Unless Marvel Studios makes or produces these new Sony/Marvel movies I don’t really see how they become part of the hard-canon MCU. Considering that Kevin won’t really be able to oversee quality control, as seen with a bonkers project like Venom.
Speaking of Venom, Sony recently confirmed that Spider-Man won’t appear in the Venom sequel and it’s unclear if films such as Morbius or Kraven The Hunter will include Parker either. Michael Keaton’s Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming showing up in the Morbius trailer has only added to the confusion and fan speculation, the Vulture being a Sony-owned character.
There is also uncertainty about Olivia Wilde’s Spider-Woman project being part of the MCU, as Marvel wasn’t mentioned as a production partner when it was originally announced and Sony still hasn’t even given the project a title, let alone confirmed that Marvel is working with them on it.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the Marvel and Sony will announce they’ve officially extended their working relationship to other films. There have been rumblings that they’ve worked things out but according to Tom Holland himself he’s finished his existing contract obligations and is willing to re-up if asked to.
If they have a plan it seems odd that Holland doesn’t have a new Spider-Man contract already.