One month after a very public divorce, Marvel and Sony have gotten together for one last bout of makeup sex and will co-produce a final Spider-Man film together. This will allow Tom Holland to finish his era as Peter Parker under the Marvel banner, and keep his trilogy intact and in step with the MCU. This is pretty much the best outcome for everyone involved—Sony will continue to benefit from the Marvel playbook, Marvel keeps control of their most popular character, fans don’t have to mourn the loss of Tom Holland and Spider-Man from the MCU, and Tom Holland is no longer caught in the middle. Win-win-win-win.
One detail stands out starkly, though—this is for ONE more movie. It is just an extension to finish the Holland trilogy, and then it seems Sony and Marvel will part ways for good. So this is less a remarriage and more like a temporary joint custody agreement. It’s a stay of execution, but also a warning that a more permanent break is coming. (Deadline adds in the detail that Holland will be on loan for one more Marvel movie, too, which I presume will be the next cross-over event film.) They’ll wrap up Peter’s story in the third movie, now slated for July 16, 2021. Then he’ll have one outstanding appearance in an as-yet undetermined MCU movie. After that it’s all over, I suppose. It actually kind of works out with Tom Holland aging out of the character. There won’t be another Marvel team-up until at least 2023, at which point Holland will be 27 and Peter Parker will presumably be in college. That’s a good time to let go of Peter and move on to other things (including a recently announced Madame Web movie, and maybe, hopefully, a live-action Miles Morales movie).
There are no details, yet, about what this deal entails, but I assume Marvel will be getting a bigger chunk of the profits for that third Spidey movie. There is also the question of who gave in, Marvel or Sony? I’m going to assume Sony, because as popular as he is, Marvel doesn’t really need Spider-Man. They built the MCU without him, and they always knew they’d have to continue on without him. But Sony, as big a game as they talked after the initial split, does need Marvel. I don’t think they have nearly as good of a handle on their Spider-verse movies as they say they do, because Venom is the only movie they’ve gotten off the ground (Morbius pending) and it’s a goddamn mess. It made money, but it’s the kind of messy that does not build confidence in a sequel being reliably profitable. (Into the Spider-Verse remains an exception because Sony is hands-off with their animated division and that film essentially grew in a hot house.) Besides, Kevin Feige is already plotting a Star War—dude’s busy. It’s not like he needs MORE on his plate.
> But it’s clear this arrangement, even if it includes increased profit-sharing, is beneficial to both sides. It keeps Spider-Man in the MCU as Sony attempts to grow a cinematic universe around him, ensuring Spidey’s success and popularity can carry the Spider-verse even if other movies flounder for the next few years. It’s a sort of safety line for Sony as they attempt expansion. And it lets Feige and his team finish out their vision for Spider-Man. And it also keeps Disney’s foot in the door with Sony should Sony HQ decide to sell off its film division. I don’t think that’s outside the realm of possibility, and maintaining diplomatic relations with a potential acquisition target will make the Disney overlords happy (and should f-cking terrify everyone else). In the end, mom and dad decided that their talented child is worth too much money to saw in half, so they will play nice a little bit longer to milk maximum benefit from their talented child. And then Disney will probably buy Sony in 2025 and this will all be moot anyway.