The ending to the epic extravaganza that was Avengers: Endgame left us with more questions than answers regarding what the future held for the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including who (if anyone) would be a suitable replacement for the late, great Iron Man as the face of the franchise. I saw Captain Marvel's name brought up in a few different places, which I understood based off how successful her solo film was earlier this year, but she didn't feel well suited for the role in my opinion.
Spider-Man, on the other hand, definitely did, especially given his ties to Tony Stark from his first film in 2017 as well as their interactions in Infinity War and Endgame. It honestly only made sense for the torch to be passed to Peter Parker after the emotional passing of Stark at the conclusion of Endgame. If you saw Spider-Man: Far From Home (and if you haven't by now, why the hell not?), then you would know it certainly looked like Marvel was headed in that direction. Obviously, Iron Man wasn't technically in the movie, but he might as well have been considering there were so many references to him throughout.
Coming off last week's heartbreaking news that Spider-Man is out the MCU effective immediately, Spidey being pushed to the forefront of the MCU no longer appears to be a possibility.
In case you haven't heard, Sony and Disney have decided to part ways when it comes to their shared "custody" (so to speak) of Spider-Man. Their agreement dates as far back as 2015 when the two sides came together to make a deal happen that would see Spider-Man officially join the MCU, despite being property of Sony. The first two Spider-Man sagas, albeit financially successfully and beloved by a notable contingent of fans, didn't exactly light the world on fire. In other words, there were reasons why the franchises were rebooted after two or three movies.
Sony struck gold with Tom Holland as Spider-Man, who made his debut as the character in Captain American: Civil War in 2016. He went on to have his own film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, the following year before appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The sequel to his solo film, Far From Home, was released this summer to rave reviews and brought in over one billion dollars worldwide.
Therefore, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Disney wanted a bigger chunk of the change. Reportedly, Sony was making most of the money from their own movies, but considering they produced and distributed them (among other things), it only made sense for them to profit off the films over Disney by a wide margin. Disney didn't see it that way and wanted 50 percent of all profits moving forward. Sony declined and understandably so, leading to the all-but-confirmed removal of Spider-Man from the MCU.
Regardless of who's to blame here (personally, I side with Sony), this news hits hard for a lot of fans who have enjoyed Holland's rendition of the character in recent years. Of course, he will continue to sport the suit as long as he wants (he's still signed on to do another movie or two I believe), but the idea that he can no longer reference Iron Man, the Avengers, or anything Marvel-related in the movies going forward is incredibly asinine. All of those things have been such a major part of the development of his character that to pretend like they never happened is ridiculous.
Unfortunately, Sony may not have any other choice if Disney doesn't want to play ball fairly. As expected, this resulted in plenty of outrage online in the days that followed. There were a number of fans from what I saw that had zero interest in sticking with Spider-Man as a Sony-exclusive property, probably because they were under the assumption that the movies would be garbage without Marvel's creative direction. While that could very well end up being the case, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
As entertaining as Iron Man and the rest of the Marvel characters were in Homecoming and Far From Home, the real star of those movies was Holland as Spider-Man. We can debate all day long if he's the best or the worst Spider-Man the silver screen has ever seen (or somewhere in between), but he made those movies a lot of fun, and I'm sure that will continue to be the case with or without Marvel. That said, I'm gutted we won't be able to see him interact with any of the Marvel characters in the future unless a miracle occurs.
Speaking of miracles, many fans (myself included) thought Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a lost cause after Disney fired director James Gunn last year for controversial comments he made online years ago. He was ultimately brought back into the fold in March 2019 and will be a part of the third installment of the Guardians franchise in a few years. It's worth noting that was a totally different circumstance and that this particular instance requires both companies to come to terms on something that seems impossible, but hey, it's happened before, so try not to lose faith quite yet.
I've become a big fan of the MCU since Avengers was released seven years ago and have loved seeing Spider-Man share the screen with so many major superheroes for the first time ever. His departure from the MCU is without a doubt disheartening, but that's no reason to crap on Sony or the Spider-Man franchise moving forward. I fully believe that the films will continue to be exciting and enjoyable, no matter whether Marvel is involved or not (though that would be a plus). Should Sony at some point reboot the Spider-Man franchise all over again (the fourth time in almost 20 years), then we'll have problems.
On the bright side, maybe this means a Spider-Man/Venom crossover isn't too far off. I, for one, would absolutely love to see those two worlds finally come together, but only time will tell.