Following weeks of speculation, a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios to share big-screen control of Spider-Man is now official, announced Monday night in a joint release on Marvel.com. The announcement states the new Spider-Man will debut in an as-yet undisclosed Marvel Studios film, with a co-produced Spider-Man solo film following on July 28, 2017. Sony will still finance, distribute and own the Spidey solo films, along with retaining final creative control.
The next "Spider-Man" solo film will be produced by Amy Pascal, who last week was announced as departing her position as Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President of Production. Marvel and Sony are "exploring opportunities" to integrate characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe into upcoming Spidey solo films, according to the release. The five Spidey films, ranging from 2002's original to last summer's "Amazing Spider-Man 2," have grossed more than $4 billion in combined worldwide box office.
"I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie," Feige said in a statement. "Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world’s most beloved characters. Marvel's involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. 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."
Despite being the most recognizable superhero on Marvel's roster, every Spider-Man feature film has been released by Sony Pictures, stemming from a long-standing licensing deal that long pre-dates the formation of Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which debuted in 2008 with the first "Iron Man." With Marvel and Sony now sharing live-action control of Spider-Man, this leaves the X-Men and Fantastic Four -- both at 20th Century Fox -- as the only high-profile Marvel properties out of Marvel Studios' reach.
"We always want to collaborate with the best and most successful filmmakers to grow our franchises and develop our characters," Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton said in the announcement. "Marvel, Kevin Feige and Amy, who helped orchestrate this deal, are the perfect team to help produce the next chapter of Spider-Man. This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."
Speculation of a potential deal between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures increased this past December, with leaked emails following the illegal hack on Sony revealing preliminary discussions of the possibility, including the prospect of Spider-Man appearing in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." Spider-Man played a major role in the comic book "Civil War" storyline, though at this point, the Marvel Studios film slated to debut the new live-action Spidey has not yet been revealed.
According to a report from the Wrap, Andrew Garfield will not reprise his role as Spider-Man.