Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios
Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra has dashed the hopes of Spider-Man and Marvel fans waiting to hear that the beloved character would return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At an event on Thursday, Vinciquerra said that “for the moment, the door is closed” even as there is “no ill will” between Sony and Marvel Studios. Back in August, Sony and Marvel-owner Disney failed to reach a new agreement that would allow Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to continue producing Spider-Man movies, which meant that the character would be exiting the MCU after five films. For what it's worth, Vinciquerra did add that that “it's a long life”, which can be read as that Spider-Man might one day return.
Speaking at Variety's Entertainment & Technology summit on Thursday, Vinciquerra claimed one of the reasons for the Spider-Man MCU split was down to Feige being “stretched incredibly thin” thanks to Marvel Studios' upcoming projects. Feige is currently working on MCU's Phase Four slate of 10 films and TV shows, four announced projects likely to be part of Phase Five, and several projects in development that would include the Fox comic book assets such as the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool, acquired by Disney earlier in March. That is in line with the studio's response immediately after the fallout in August.
Also present at the event was Jon Favreau — who has a long association with Marvel, and plays Happy Hogan in the MCU — and he lent his thoughts about the situation too: “I've been talking to everybody about it, […] I'm cautiously optimistic. I think it's a long way away and I think the collaboration has been really strong up to this point so I'm hopeful that there's away for us all to play together going forward.”
Meanwhile, Vinciquerra believes Spider-Man will do “fine” outside of the MCU, pointing to Sony's success with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Amazon Prime Video series The Boys. The former won much critical acclaim and even won an Oscar, while the latter has generally favourable reviews and has become one of the most watched originals for Amazon, the company claims, surpassing its predictions for viewing.
“We had a great run with [Feige] on Spider-Man movies,” Vinciquerra said. “We tried to see if there's a way to work it out. […] The Marvel people are terrific people, we have great respect for them, but on the other hand we have some pretty terrific people of our own. Kevin didn't do all the work. […] Spider-Man was fine before the event movies, did better with the event movies, and now that we have our own universe, he will play off the other characters as well. I think we're pretty capable of doing what we have to do here.”
While Vinciquerra is no doubt bullish about Spider-Man's future, he makes no mention of the live-action Spider-Man movies that Sony was making without Marvel's help. Everything since 2004's Spider-Man 2 has been a virtual disaster — that includes four films in Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Venom. Set aside giving Phil Lord and Christopher Miller the freedom to craft the animated Into the Spider-Verse, Sony has had a terrible run of picking the right creative team to bring life to its most cherished property.
Of course, that's not going to stop Sony. As part of its own Marvel universe, there are two Spider-Man films in development with Tom Holland set to reprise his title role, the Jared Leto-starrer Morbius that's currently filming and slated for July 2020, a Venom sequel with director Andy Serkis that's slated for October 2020, and films based on The Sinister Six, Kraven the Hunter, Silver Sable, Black Cat, and Silk among others are in development. Moreover, Vinciquerra said they are looking at “five or six” TV series set in the world of Spider-Man.