Marvel Fans Can Thank Tom Holland for Saving Spider-Man in Real Life

If you want to thank someone for getting Spider-Man back into the MCU, you should thank Peter Parker himself. 

After a public stalemate lasting about two months, Sony, which owns the screen rights to Spider-Man, made a new agreement with Disney that will get us at least one more standalone Spider-Man movie, and one more Disney/Marvel movie with Spider-Man in it.

As it turns out, it was none other than Tom Holland who was a primary mover and shaker behind the new deal. 

Tom Holland onstage at a press conference
Tom Holland | Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

What did Holland do behind the scenes?

Many Marvel fans had suspected all along that the impasse between Sony and Disney wouldn’t last, and they turned out to be quite right. Perhaps the fans sensed the optimism that Holland projected when he said he would continue to play Spider-Man for Sony, and that he would work, even without Disney, to make the movies “even cooler,” he said shortly after the split was made public. 

But Holland was working behind the scenes too. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Holland leaned on Sony executive Tom Rothman and on Disney executive Bob Iger to come to an agreement. He apparently did so by showing them the support from the fans. So the fans can pat themselves on the back too. 

Of course, the real sticking point was money, because this is, in the end, very big business. Disney had wanted a 50/50 split, and Sony said no way.

A new balance was struck that both sides could live with, so now we’ll supposedly gets to find out (SPOILER) how Spider-Man handles being outed by J. Jonah Jameson, and we might even figure out what the Kree were doing at the end of Far From Home

What happens with Spider-Man now? 

After Marvel and Sony shook hands on the deal, they announced a release date for the third standalone Spider-Man movie: July 16, 2021. Jon Watts will also return to the director’s chair. 

What we don’t know is which MCU movie Spidey will figure into. He doesn’t seem to fit into any of the movies in Phase 4, which will include Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Marvel has surprised us before, but we’re guessing Spider-Man won’t be back until the standalone movie, and then the Disney movie will come after that. 

On the other hand, Sony will continue with its own Spider-Man projects independent of Disney. Venom 2, directed by Andy Serkis comes out next, and a sequel to the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is also in development.

Moreover, Marvel President Kevin Feige, who will again produce the Sony Tom Holland movie, mentioned Sony’s projects in his statement. 

“Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”

Hmm. Venom crossover, maybe? 

Should Sony have gone its own way after all? 

Some fans may be surprised to learn that not everyone was celebrating when it was announced that Disney and Sony had made up Critic William Bibbiani tweeted  this is “dooming Marvel’s greatest character to a mediocre support status for at least a few more years, while the company that made the best Spider-Man movies ever (Sony) has their hands tied.”

He went on to explain that it was and should remain possible that Sony can make a good Spider-Man movie without having to lean on Kevin Feige and Disney. There has been some feeling that Disney owns enough as it is, having already acquired Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and now an entire studio, Fox. Disney does not own Spider-Man, but the argument is that it shouldn’t be as stuck to it as Spider-Man’s web is to a criminal. 

As it stands, though, the Marvel and Disney partnership will continue. We just hope that Holland hasn’t merely plugged his finger into a dam that will eventually give and we have to do this all over again.