Spider-Man will appear in a Marvel superhero movie for the first time after the Disney-owned studio signed a deal with rival Sony to integrate the comic book crime fighter into the same big screen universe as Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America.
The landmark move, widely rumoured after Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 received only middling reviews and picked up a franchise-worst box office haul last year, also looks likely to mean the instalment of a new actor as the masked wall crawler. The Hollywood Reporter signals that Britain’s Andrew Garfield will be replaced as Spider-Man, while Marvel and Sony referenced a “new” iteration of the character.
“Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU),” said the studios in a statement. “Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next instalment of its $4bn Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.”
The statement continued: “Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) into future Spider-Man films. The new relationship follows a decade of speculation among fans about whether Spider-Man – who has always been an integral and important part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comic books – could become part of the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Spider-Man has more than 50 years of history in Marvel’s world, and with this deal, fans will be able to experience Spider-Man taking his rightful place among other Super Heroes in the MCU.”
Marvel has had spectacular success in recent years with its policy of integrating multiple superheroes into the same movie. The 2012 comic book ensemble The Avengers took more than $1.5bn around the world, the third-highest-grossing film of all time. Upcoming sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron is being tipped to exceed even those gargantuan figures.
The Hollywood Reporter suggests Spider-Man could now appear in the upcoming Captain America film Civil War, which is due in 2016. Peter Parker’s alter-ego plays a prominent part in the comic book story arc which inspired the movie.
“Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU,” said Marvel supreme Kevin Feige. “I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.”