Potentially huge superhero movie news is going down behind the scenes in Hollywood this week, according to Deadline. They report that Disney, who owns Marvel, and Sony, who hold the movie rights to Spider-Man and his affiliated characters, have been unable to finalize a new deal that would continue the arrangement that allowed Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, and which saw Marvel Studios (and its president, Kevin Feige) take a hand in producing Sony’s live-action Spidey films, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

According to Deadline it “all comes down to money” (not surprisingly):

It’s easy to understand why both sides refused to give ground. Disney asked that future Spider-Man films be a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios, and there were discussions that this might extend to other films in the Spider-Man universe. Sony turned that offer down flat ... Sony proposed keeping the arrangement going under the current terms where Marvel receives in the range of 5% of first dollar gross, sources said. Disney refused.

Unless a deal can be reached, this doesn’t just mean Marvel won’t have a hand in Sony’s movies — it also means Spider-Man won’t be showing up in the MCU again anytime soon. And that would be huge — particularly since Spider-Man has become an increasingly central figure in the Marvel movie universe, and the events of Far From Home basically positioned him as Marvel’s new Tony Stark.

Sony already has more Spider-Man movies with director Jon Watts and star Tom Holland in the works, and they’ve had big recent hits with Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that weren’t made with Marvel’s direct participation. When Sony and Marvel first made their deal, the Spidey franchise, after two Amazing films, was at a low ebb. Marvel helped reestablish the character onscreen. Now the movies are on a major upswing, and you can see why Sony would think they didn’t necessarily need Marvel’s help. (They might be wrong, but you can see why they might think that.)

Marvel announcing no new Spider-Man films as part of Phase Four of the MCU wasn’t a great sign for the character’s future. Hopefully the two sides can come to an agreement and Spidey can keep swinging in his own movies and in Marvel’s in the future.

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