I’ve been saying it for a long time: superheroes are the new movie stars, and the issue of these comic book based characters being licensed by different studios is sort of like actors and actresses being contracted with the majors back in the day. Eventually, I figured, the heroes would be on loan and traded between studios for projects much like stars were in the golden days. The analogy still doesn’t work perfectly, but we’re about to see something close enough in practice when Sony allows for Spider-Man to appear in a Marvel Studios feature. According to Latino-Review’s Da7e Gonzalez, the long-awaited deal is done to sling ol’ web-head over into the world of The Avengers.
Reportedly the window was missed for Spidey to appear in next year’s Captain America: The Civil War, as he does prominently in the comics version, so instead he’ll make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 in 2018. Whether the role will be huge or not is unclear, as he could very well just be a part of an awesome ensemble of characters that includes just about everyone from Marvel’s Phase 3 movies to the studio’s Netflix series – but not original Avengers players Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk or Thor, whom Gonzalez believes may all be in space or dead (or both?). He has some additional spoilery details and speculation in his post, which is an essential read if you don’t mind knowing so much.
What will this mean for Sony’s own Spider-Man franchise? It would seem to kill Amazing Spider-Man 3 and any of the studio’s other plans for that universe, but I don’t think that has to be the case. Andrew Garfield wouldn’t be the man behind the Spidey mask for Marvel, but for sure he could continue in his own series. It doesn’t have to be anymore confusing than Warner Bros. having Batman in their DC Universe franchise and in Lego movies and in other unrelated animated features. Or for Sherlock Holmes to be Robert Downey Jr. here and Benedict Cumberbatch over there and tons of people before them.
It will be hard to make sense of for some people, probably, but not enough that they’ll mind. For them it’s just more Spider-Man, and it helps that he’s a character with a mask so as not to remind too much that it’s a different actor. Marvel might not even bother with the Peter Parker part of the role in Infinity War. I don’t think they’d need to. Heck, they don’t even need to cast anyone for the part, if that’s the case. Movie stars are done, anyway. It’s all about the costumed superheroes.