The novel coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it, including our ability to go to the theater. Not only are we unable to see any of the big releases planned for this part of the year, but studios stopped production on movies and TV shows as well. It will be a while before we go back to theaters, and until studios resume work on their projects, and we’ll also have to wait weeks or months until we start getting more details about upcoming attractions, like the 14 films and TV series that are part of Marvel’s MCU Phase 4.
But every now and again, exciting rumors pop up, and the latest concerns the new Spider-Man franchise that Sony developed on the back of Marvel’s MCU. The latest report says that it was Sony that insisted that Iron Man get a huge presence in the Spider-Man: Homecoming, as the studio wanted to restart the Spider-Man universe with a huge bang.
YouTube channel Channel Pup explained why Sony never made The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which would have inevitably led to a fourth movie. Apparently, it was a complicated issue with several factors affecting Sony’s plans. First of all, part 2 wasn’t necessarily the success that Sony wanted, and the company looked at ways of making the film more exciting for fans. Sony wanted even more fan service, which included the addition of several characters from the Spider-verse, such as Venom and the Sinister Six. On top of that, Sony ran into some issues with Andrew Garfield along the way, whom it planned to replace in a future movie.
That’s the gist of the clip, available at the end of this post, but the video ends with a huge revelation. Sony realized how popular Marvel’s MCU had become and decided to let Spider-Man appear in Captain America: Civil War. While Spider-Man is a Marvel creation, Disney doesn’t have the rights and can’t use the character without Sony. The latter, meanwhile, needed a win of its own, and Sony still has to make Spider-Man movies every few years to be able to hold onto the rights of the character. This is where things get interesting:
Marvel Studios never intended to use Iron Man in the first Spider-Man of their run. While Spider-Man: Homecoming would have a few references to the external Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man was Mnever intended to be as big of a part of Peter’s story as we he was made to be in the end. A part of the deal for Spider-Man: Homecoming was that Sony Pictures wanted this to be their most star-studded Spider-Man film yet. They felt there was a lack of credibility for the Spider-Man brand overall and wanted another superhero alongside him that had a bit more street cred. So they wanted to work with Robert Downey Jr.s’ Iron Man. Sony Pictures were aware of the absolute Goliath success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe entering its third phase and wanted to capitalize on that as much as possible with as much evidence to Spider-Man: Homecoming being a Marvel Cinematic Universe film as possible. What better evidence can you get than Iron Man being on a Spider-Man film poster?
I was probably in the minority when Sony split with Disney last summer. I was unfazed by the possibility of losing Spider-Man. Not only did the MCU grow without Spidey, but Homecoming and Far From Home aren’t necessarily the best of the MCU. In fact, I explained why Far From Home does ruin a bit of the complexity of the MCU, and how Marvel made Spider-Man better for Sony. It’s actually one of the end-credits scenes that set up the Spider-Man franchise for something that Sony never had the guts to do on its own, and that’s to make a film where his identity is known. For that reason alone, Spider-Man 3 will be unlike any Spider-Man movie Sony made to date. And it’s all because of the MCU.
But if this anecdote is true, then Sony does deserve praise for insisting on having Iron Man in the first Spider-Man film. The connection between Peter Parker and Iron Man is really what brings another layer of emotion to the entire roller coaster ride that we witness in Infinity War and Endgame. Without that relationship, Tony may have never come up with the one trick that had a chance to bring him back. I do not doubt Marvel’s creativity, and they would likely have found another way to deliver the same type of emotional connection, but there’s no doubt that the Tony Stark-Peter Parker dynamic just works for the MCU.
Jeremy Conrad from MCU Cosmic says there’s no evidence that it was Sony that asked for Iron Man for the first MCU Spider-Man, and that’s true. He says that all the official comments that Marvel made about Spider-Man suggest they always had this particular relationship in mind, and they had bigger plans for Spider-Man than Sony could have believed.
While we may never know if it was Sony that brought Iron Man to Homecoming, there is some circumstantial evidence to support that idea, and that’s the first Morbius trailer. As fans know, Sony is building its own universe of Spider-Man films, the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters (SPUMC), which will feature the MCU Peter Parker as well as various villains. Morbius is one of them, and the first trailer screams MCU. For a company that believed it could make its own Marvel movies without Marvel, that trailer certainly wants to make it clear that Morbius is connected to Spider-Man, and that it’s not just any Spider-Man, but the same MCU Peter Parker that put Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) in jail in Homecoming. That’s just speculation, but it fits well with Channel Pup remarks above. And, with the ongoing coronavirus health crisis, we could definitely use the distraction.