SPIDER-MAN update: Andrew Garfield out, debut movie confirmed, SINISTER SIX still on and more

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Yesterday morning, the Internet experienced a Spider-explosion (luckily not this one) when news broke that after months of rumours and hearsay, Sony and Marvel had finally brokered a deal that would bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The press release announcing this game-changer wasn’t big on detail or clarity though – most importantly, on whether Andrew Garfield will stay in the role as Peter Parker or not. At this point in time, there’s still no official word from neither Sony nor Marvel on his involvement, but several sources like THR and The Wrap’s Linda Ge are now reporting that he will definitely not be around for this new era.

That is a serious bummer, as I’ve firmly believed that despite the Amazing Spider-Man franchise’s many faults, Garfield has been the best on-screen Spidey we’ve ever had. With the press release seemingly indicating that the Amazing Spider-Man continuity would not be tossed away but just folded into the current MCU, many people (including us) just assumed that Garfield would be sticking around as well. But we forget that Marvel have already sort-of gone through this with Hulk. Ang Lee’s Hulk was also not part of the MCU but Incredible Hulk is, and there Marvel didn’t just happily recast the lead but they even tweaked the existing continuity slightly to fall more in line with their plans. And then when it came time for The Avengers they recast Hulk again with no real qualms. So yeah, as much as I am going to miss Garfield as Spider-Man, his loss is not the world-ender that some may think it is.

Irrespective of who ends up under the mask now, he’ll be getting his first solo movie under the new guidance of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and ex-Sony CEO Amy Pascal, after being introduced to the MCU in an upcoming Marvel feature first. And which feature film would that be?

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The Wall Street Journal (via ComingSoon) is reporting the Wall Crawler will indeed be debuting in May 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, as many fans were speculating and hoping for. As we mentioned yesterday, Spider-Man plays a critical role in the “Civil War” comic book story that inspired the latest Cap film as he publicly unmasks in support of the Tony Stark fronted Superhero Registration Act. Somehow I highly doubt that that’s exactly how things will play out here, seeing as the impact of Spidey unmasking will be severely lessened by the fact that technically this is the first time we’ve seen him in the mask in this universe.

If I had to hazard a wild guess, I would say that Feige and co are going to pull from another aspect of the story, and have Parker introduced as a young scientist working for Stark. It would be the perfect way to ease him into this “new” world through his already established science-y civilian identity, instead of just dropping this “new” superhero into the middle of a massive war between other characters that we’ve gotten to know intimately over the last 7 years.

With Spider-Man’s first MCU appearance confirmed, and his solo movie slotted into the Marvel film lineup (resulting in most of Marvel’s other movies being respectively bumped back), many fans were wondering what would become of Sony’s original plans to have Amazing Spider-Man 2 be the origin point for a number of spinoff movies. Those ambitious – and frankly, occasionally absurd – plans seemed to be in grave doubt when ASM2 under-performed financially and bombed critically. But while there’s thankfully still no word on a movie about the women in Spider-Man’s life, or a prequel about a hot young Aunt May as an international spy (seriously), WSJ is also reporting that the villain-centric Sinister Six spinoff is indeed still in the works.

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This is not all that surprising, seeing as the most work had already gone into prepping for this movie, what with Goblin, Rhino and Electro all being introduced in ASM2, while Vulture, Mysterio and Kraven were all teased in the film. That may not be the exact lineup to be found in the final film though, as Sony are apparently still busy rethinking their plans and have pushed it back an undisclosed period of time from its original release date of November 2016 to give themselves the breathing room to make a decision. What has been confirmed though, is that Drew Goddard (Cabin In the Woods) is indeed still on board to write and direct the film about Spidey’s biggest nemeses.

All in all, this is most definitely a good news/bad news situation. What do you guys think of it?

[UPDATE:] It’s just a few minutes before this article is scheduled to go live and several publications have now unearthed additional info that needs to be added in here. Variety is confirming that Andrew Garfield is out and that Sony is hurriedly looking for a replacement with Logan Lerman (Fury, Percy Jackson) and Dylan O’Brien’s (The Maze Runner, Teen Wolf) names apparently being mentioned as some of the possibilities, although nobody has been approached yet. I’m actually okay with either of those, as they have been solid actors their whole young careers. What’s more, Variety’s sources claim that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has effectively been cancelled and this new incarnation will be going “back to Spidey’s roots and put the character back in high school”. Let’s just hope that doesn’t mean another origin story!

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Also, it would seem that on top of the Sinister Six spinoff, Sony is still going ahead with its original plans for a Venom solo movie as well as “a film that features female characters in the “Spider-Man” universe”. And although Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing this new solo Spidey film, he will have no creative involvement with these spinoffs. In other words, they can still suck just as badly as we thought they might when we first heard about them.

THR is adding that with ASM3 canned, director Marc Webb is definitely not back to helm the new solo film, and that Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, who have produced all the Spider-Man movies, have “been downgraded to executive producers, with no real say in the creative direction of the franchise.”

Another interesting revelation is that this deal is really not costing Marvel and Sony anything, as Marvel are essentially “leasing” Spider-Man for their movies with nothing more than gentleman’s agreement.

Marvel Studios won’t pay Sony Pictures for the rights to put Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War,” the “Avengers” franchise or its other superhero films, as part of its new partnership with the studio,” according to sources with knowledge of the deal. At the same time, Marvel won’t receive a cut of the box office for any of Sony’s films that feature Spider-Man. Sony won’t receive a percentage of the revenue Disney makes from Marvel’s films that have Spider-Man, either.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also won’t receive payment for his role in helping revive Sony’s “Spider-Man” franchise, according to sources.

That’s kind of insane and pretty unheard of in this industry, so what’s the deal? Well according to THR’s “knowledgeable” sources, all Marvel’s maneuvering is not just them getting their foot in the door in anticipation of perhaps taking over the Spider-Man franchise entirely some time down the road, but also positioning themselves in such a way that their parent company Disney could perhaps acquire all of Sony Pictures if that option ever arose. If true, that latter bit would be a HUGE deal! And based on how troubled parent company Sony Japan has been lately, not outside the realm of possibility.

Last Updated: February 11, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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