This year, Captain America: Civil War introduced superhero fans worldwide to the newest star of the MCU — Tom Holland's Spider-Man! Critics and fans alike fell in love with this new portrayal of the wondrous web-slinger, and Marvel is clearly on to a hit. It may come as surprise, then, that everyone's favorite wall-crawler isn't confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, the cornerstone of the MCU's future.
Will Spider-Man Appear in Avengers: Infinity War?
It's safe to assume that Marvel wants Spidey for Avengers: Infinity War — Spider-Man is literally the most bankable superhero in the world. Avengers: Infinity War is intended to be the climax of Phases 1-3 of the MCU; it simply wouldn't make sense for Spider-Man not to be in it.
Asked about this, Tom Holland has admitted he's not yet confirmed for Infinity War.
“It’s all up in the air. I believe some sort of deal is in the mix, but I’m unclear as to what that deal is.”
It's an important quote, because it tells us that Marvel don't have carte blanche to use Spider-Man in any movie they make. Instead, Marvel has to negotiate each film with Sony — and Sony would be fools not to play hard-ball when the stakes are as high as Infinity War.
No surprise, Kevin Feige was asked to clarify. He admitted that the original deal between Marvel and Sony was really focused on Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Asked outright whether or not Spider-Man would be in Infinity War, Feige responded:
"It is I would say that is part of the surprise. I don’t want to spoil anything one way or another."
So, with a firm question mark over Spider-Man's role in Avengers: Infinity War, what else have Marvel and Sony got in store for the wall crawler?
A Spider-Man Series of Films?
After Avengers: Infinity War, we know that Tom Holland will star in at least two solo films. Marvel's original deal with Sony, which was leaked online, proposed a trilogy with movies released at two-year intervals. So fans weren't particularly surprised when a Homecoming sequel was confirmed for 2019.
By the same logic, we'll be expecting the third movie to land in 2021.
But How Will the Future Play Out?
Kevin Feige has openly admitted that there'll be sequels, and has compared the rebooted franchise to Harry Potter.
“Should we be able to make more after that? Sure. This is sophomore year, is the next one junior year? Is the next one senior year? Is there a summer break between each of those? I don’t know what, but it was sort of how do we do a journey for Peter not dissimilar for what the students of Hogwarts would go through each of their years, which was one of the early ideas we had for the movies.”
Given that the MCU runs in real-time, this idea was a tacit admission that the movies would release in quick succession. That would allow Marvel to capitalize on Tom Holland's youth, and to chart Peter Parker's journey through high-school and into college.
A Spider-Man Corner of the MCU
Back in June, we learned that Marvel and Sony are exploring developing their relationship. Sony chief Tom Rothman was asked an insightful question:
Since you teamed with Marvel, do you plan to make a whole Spider-Man universe? Do you have plans for more work with Marvel?
With surprising honesty, Rothman answered:
"Yes to both those questions. It’s been fantastic, our relationship with Marvel."
Last week, my fellow Creator Max Farrow picked up on a hint that this wider Spider-Man universe will be launched in Spider-Man: Homecoming — with a teaser that there'll be a "surprise appearance" in the film. Fans are eager to see just who this character is - will it be Norman Osborn? Ezekiel, leading to the "Spider-Verse" arc? Right now, we only have guesses.
Here's the catch; we shouldn't expect Marvel to push this too strongly. The reality is that Marvel Studios will only release so many films in a single year — they seem to have settled on three a year after 2016. From a purely business perspective, Marvel will naturally focus their efforts on the standard MCU properties, not shared with Sony, where they accrue all profits from the film's success. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if developing this Spider-Man corner of the MCU is part of the deal to get Spider-Man into major Avengers movies like Infinity War.
The future's bright for Spider-Man. We can be certain Spider-Man: Homecoming is just the start of the relaunched Spider-Man franchise, while it's thrilling to see Tom Holland's Peter Parker interacting with the stars of the MCU. We don't yet know whether or not he'll make an appearance in Infinity War, but whether he does or not, this newest incarnation of the wall-crawler is going to be with us for a long time!