View Full Version : Spider-Man Coming Home, Part II: How Sony and Marvel Can Have a Happy Divorce

September 12th, 2019, 22:03
Two weeks ago, Deadline reported (https://deadline.com/2019/08/kevin-feige-spider-man-franchise-exit-disney-sony-dispute-avengers-endgame-captain-america-winter-soldier-tom-rothman-bob-iger-1202672545/) that Spider-Man would be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Disney and Sony failed to reach an agreement on funding and revenue sharing for future Spider-Man films. Spider-Manís departure puts Sony and Marvel in a tricky position. Tom Hollandís Spider-Man has never existed outside of the MCU, and his character is heavily influenced by MCU characters like Iron Man (https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/2019/05/03/iron-man-is-an-asshole-and-it-made-him-a-hero/) and Happy Hogan and events such as the blip and the plot of Captain America: Civil War. As a result, it would be pretty strange if Sony ignored those relationships and events in future Spider-Man movies.
The MCU faces a similar problem. The events of Avengers: Endgame (https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/2019/04/26/endgame-review-escape-to-the-movies/) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/2019/06/27/spider-man-far-from-home-review-escape-to-the-movies/) built Spider-Man up as the next Iron Man. Given Spider-Manís significant role in the MCU, it would be weird for the character to simply disappear. So where does that leave us? In the absence of a license agreement, what can Marvel and Sony do to protect their now separate cinematic universes?
An examination of an older version of Sonyís Spider-Man license can provide some insight. Last week (https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/2019/08/31/spider-man-coming-home-how-sony-and-marvel-can-repair-their-fractured-universe/), I explained how Sony ended up with the film rights to Spider-Man and used previous license agreements to show how Marvel and Sony approach the license agreement process. The major takeaway from that analysis was that the two companies use ďcontingency thinkingĒ to attempt to predict and account for every possible outcome in their license agreements, which means they must have accounted for the possibility that the Spider-Man sharing agreement would break down and agreed to a set of ground rules that would govern how the two studios would handle the dispute.
With that in mind, we can consider a few options for Marvel and Sony in the post-Spider-Man-sharing world.