What's Next for 'Spider-Man'? 6 Questions About the Sony and Marvel Partnership

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Garfield on Building Night - H 2014
<p>The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Garfield on Building Night - H 2014 &nbsp;&nbsp;</p>   |   Sony Pictures
Miles or Peter? And how much crossover should fans expect, anyway?

Last night’s news that Sony and Marvel will partner on future Spider-Man movies, with the character now available for appearances in future Marvel Studios movies, was something that lit up the Internet when announced, with fans (and Marvel executives) celebrating the “return” of the wall-crawler to his spiritual home. But much about the new arrangement remains unclear. Here are six questions it’d be nice to have answered sooner than later (and one that we won’t get an answer to any time soon, but should be asked nonetheless).

Who Is Spider-Man?

The most obvious question, and one already asked many times on social media, is what Spider-Man we’ll see on the big screen next. Not which actor will play the wall-crawling hero, but whether it’ll be the original Peter Parker Spider-Man, or the more recent Miles Morales version. Given the groundswell of support that met the 2010 campaign to get Donald Glover to play Spider-Man, perhaps the audience is ready to see a Spider-Man that breaks from the traditional white norm that Peter Parker (and Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield) have represented on the big screen until now.

Will Sony Be Able to Avoid Another Origin Movie?

Starting over with a new Spider-Man hopefully doesn’t mean starting with a new origin movie. At this point in time, we’ve seen Spidey’s origin on the big screen twice in the last 15 years, and it wasn’t that complicated to begin with. When Sony relaunches the Spider-Man franchise for a second time in 2017, will the studio realize that the last thing anyone wants to see is the origin story for a third time, and feel safe enough to move forward, instead? (Also, if we’re going to use Peter Parker again, can we leave the Parkers in the past this time?)

How Much of the Marvel Universe Will Sony Be Able to Use?

We know that Spider-Man will be available for Marvel to use in its movies, but is the same true in the opposite direction? Apparently, such things are under discussion, but it’ll be interesting to see what (if any) pieces of Marvel Studios’ mythology make it over to the Sony movies. Part of what appeals to fans so much about Marvel’s output is the possibility of unexpected cameos and crossovers, and the movies being part of one bigger story — if Sony can’t access that part of the Marvel appeal, how valuable will the deal turn out to be?

What Does Marvel Get Out of This Deal?

Again, I don’t mean this in business terms — financial considerations are likely to never be disclosed, but let’s face it, are likely very favorable to all parties — but in creative terms. If Marvel can use Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, does that mean that Spider-Man can join the Avengers in time for Avengers: Infinity War? (He was, after all, a prime player in the comic book storyline that originally pit the Avengers and Thanos against each other.) How best can Marvel maximize its investment in Spider-Man without the solo movies? Perhaps by making the character integral to its cinematic universe in other movies.

What Happens to Sony’s Spider-Verse Plans?

Unmentioned in the official announcement from Sony and Marvel was the fate of Sinister Six, Venom and the unnamed female-led project. Presumably, if the franchise is being rebooted, all three will be quietly dropped, but it would be nice to have some kind of clarity on their fate — and even nicer if that clarity reveals that they’ll live on, folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some way.

What About Fox?

Now that Marvel has reclaimed one piece of its lost cinematic legacy, the question is whether Fox would ever agree to a similar deal for the movie rights to either Fantastic Four or X-Men. It seems unlikely, especially considering the success of X-Men: Days of Future Past last year and the scale of the studio’s X-plans moving forward, but the same might have been said about Sony and Spider-Man prior to last night. As the best comic books would put it, to be continued…

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