Halfway across you’ll turn off the light: An analysis of the Sony/Marvel Spider-partnership
And so another of the items on the world’s “This will never happen” list can be crossed off. Sony and Marvel Studios have come to an accord on the use of Spider-Man in proper Marvel films, and of other Marvel characters in upcoming Spider-movies.
While this initially sounds like a stellar win, I can see a number of ways that it won’t live up to the expectations of the fans.
Marvel hasn’t “gotten Spider-Man back” – This is very much a “two guys with half the map” scenario. A great deal of cooperation will have to occur between the companies, with permitted uses and appearances strictly defined. It seems much like the partnership between the various studios in the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit franchise, each hanging on to their piece for dear life to score a taste of that sweet profit stream.
While I’m sure Marvel will want to make as good a film as they could, you have to wonder if there’s a small voice in their collective corporate brain saying “yeah, but do you really want to make them a lot of money?” I can envision a scenario where Marvel makes a Very Good Spider-Man movie with Sony, but it won’t be until when/if they get clear title on the character that they’d do a GREAT Spider-Man movie.
And there’s also nothing to stop Sony from changing its mind a few years down the line, thank Marvel for turning their franchise into a true juggernaut, and go back to doing them on their own. So will Marvel think about playing it safe with the films?
As for licensing, that’ll likely also be an oddly-cut pie. Disney had already got control of Spider-Man’s licensing back. Any deals Sony has made for the films will likely stay in place, and as to how much Sony will be able to wet its beak on any deals Marvel makes for the Civil War and any any Marvel-side appearances for Spidey, we will have to see.
I wouldn’t hold out any hopes for a last-minute cameo in Avengers: Age Of Ultron – There’s almost certainly no time. If you hear about emergency re-shoots, feel free to let your hopes grow a bit, but I’d say no. Heck, Assuming that Captain America: Civil War has already been filming, we may see a delay for that film if Spider-Man has to be folded into the script. And speaking of delays…
Several Phase Two films now delayed – Now that Sony and Marvel are cooperating, their films will no longer directly compete. As a result, Marvel has already announced that several of their films will be pushed back by six months, so the next Sony-released Spider-Man film will not have to compete with a “real” Marvel film. Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Inhumans and Captain Marvel are all bumped back. Might these changes also cause a scheduling shuffle in Warner Brothers’ DC-based films? I’d put a few quatloos on it.
Marvel will almost certainly want to build their own continuity with Spider-Man – Reports are that Spidey will first appear in Captain America: Civil War. That’s a big deal, as his role in the comic book version of the event was pretty major. But it’ll be interesting to see whether or not any resulting changes to young Mr. Parker’s status (his secret identity, for example). The question is, carrying back to how they may treat this red-headed stepchild of a deal, will they fully integrate the Spider-Man films into the ongoing continuity of the franchise? Will we see the same costumes, will events carry through as they do in the Marvel films?
Sony had more than a few spin-off films in the planning stages, including a Sinister Six film and a couple female-led projects. No news has come forth as to their status, but odds are they’re dead, or at least ripe for a re-thinking. Marvel will want to start fresh across the board, so any plans on the whiteboard will get a second look. Of course, most of the actors playing the baddies likely signed multi-picture deals (it seems to be the standard on the superhero movies now) so we may hear of some re-negotiations.
Kiss Andrew Garfield good-bye – There were already numerous stories about Sony being dissatisfied with Mr. Garfield’s performance, both before and behind the camera. With Marvel starting over (AGAIN) with the films, we’ll almost certainly see a new everything, including cast and crew. Stories are already circulating that Marvel wants a school-age actor for the hero, once again trying to pull him back to early-years of the story, rather mirroring the way they’re playing him in the animated world.
While the online world is once again raising the call to use Miles Morales as their Spidey, and to cast Donald (Childish Gambino) Glover in the role, I think it’s all but impossible. Not for any racial reasons, but simply because the general public is the main audience the films are made for, and the general public knows that Spider-Man is a guy named Peter Parker. Now you could certainly cast Glover AS Peter Parker, and I’d be cool with that, but making people get used to a whole new character and origin after all those movies would be a very bad move. People are already quite used to different actors playing the same role, even in superhero movies. It’s one of the reasons I think a black James Bond (named Idris Elba) would go down far more easily than industry people seem to think. So many people have played Bond, it’s only a matter of time before I’m offered the role.
As an aside, I think Glover would make a staggeringly good Static. Of course, when the character first hit, I dream-cast Doug E. Doug, so what do I know?
I’m going to make my own wild prediction on casting.
Thomas Brodie Sangster.
Just laying my bet on the table, is all.