So if anyone has been keeping up with the trending news in the entertainment industry, they'll know that a huge outcry has arisen in regards to Marvel supposedly losing the rights to Spider-Man. Apparently, this potentially dire blow to Marvel's future film plans was the result of Sony and Disney failing to come to a conclusion over renegotiations of their contract, which was being contested by both companies as Disney sought to expand its cut of the MCU Spider-Man films' total gross and Sony strongly contested Kevin Feige's step away from the production of future Spider-Man projects. In the end, Disney didn't get the 50-50 split they were bowling for, Sony was pissed about Feige's availability issues and yanked back their precious Spidey leverage, and fans are in hysterics over the fact that Tom Holland's Spider-Man might become little more than a glaring loose thread in the overall MCU.
With each passing day, the situation becomes more complicated as the companies make vague statements about the Spider-Man hostage crisis, their general regrets about not being able to come to an agreement, and hopeful allusions to a possible reconciliation of their differences. Maybe everything will work out in the end, and frightened fans of MCU Spidey will breathe a sigh of relief, remembering this as an unpleasant speed bump in the epic saga of Holland's Spider-Man. For now, however, we're in crisis mode, and as an article writer and entertainment journalist I've got to take advantage of the drama and throw in my own two cents. So here it goes. A-hem.
Unlike so many other fans, many of my friends included, I didn't panic when I saw the harrowing news about Spider-Man's loss of yet another new home in a beloved franchise. Unlike them, I didn't gasp or break into a sweat. I laughed. I made puns. I ribbed people who were genuinely nervous about this corporate debacle with shit like "looks like Spider-Man's Homecoming didn't last long. Now he'll be really Far From Home."
Even the title of this article is a Goddamn joke, and I just couldn't understand why no one else was laughing along with me.
So I badgered my friends and the media, did a little bit of digging beyond the knee jerk reaction of "oh God, oh no, something's hurting Marvel," and found a few solid explanations to try and unpack all this mania.The leading arguments that I've received originate from two places: the widespread love for Tom Holland's rendition of Spider-Man and fears over the future of the MCU following the bow-out of such major characters as Iron Man, Captain America, and now Spider-Man.
And while I can wrap my head around these understandable fears and fans' sense of heartache, I cannot empathize. For one thing, while I thoroughly and honestly enjoy Tom Holland's performance and I, too, clapped and squealed like a dorky middle schooler when he swung into Civil War, I don't see Tom Holland as the be-all end-all rendition of Spidey. Does no one remember five years ago, when every cute, semi-wiry male celebrity in their late teens to late twenties would joke about being the next Spider-Man? Everyone from Donald Glover to Dylan O'Brien ribbed Hollywood for rebooting and revisiting the character so many times, and Spider-Man had become so flexible as a character mold that practically anyone could realistically play the role and create their own unique, valuable stamp on Spidey's well-worn passport of trips through the entertainment industry.
Spidey has been a classic '90s cartoon that we remember with love that is expressed by constant mining for juicy memes. Spidey has been an annoying Teen Titans Go!-esque cartoon character motor-mouthed by Drake Bell. Spidey has been an asshole and a transparent corporate cash-grab shell of his former self via Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man two-step of a saga. Spidey has been an inspiration and a beautifully goofy, gothic, and nostalgic imprint on our collective childhoods through Sam Raimi with Tobey Maguire taking a delightful swing at the character. In fact, Spidey has literally been a marriage of dozens of his vastly different, utterly unique identities in Into the Spider-Verse.
I could go on forever. The point is, while I understand a little bit of dismay at Tom Holland having the Spidey rug swept out from under him before he's gotten to really dig into the bedrock of this character, why is everyone so surprised? And more importantly, why are so many people hailing his Spidey like it's earned a place as the definitive cultural icon of that character? Excuse me? Does no one remember Raimi's Spider-Man 2? Are you seriously pitting Holland in Far From Home over Maguire in that masterpiece?
But all jokes and personal bias aside, Peter Parker alone has a vast legacy of undergoing constant change and transformation. He is a character famous, almost infamous, for his endless reiterations, reimaginings, and rebirths. If this is truly the end of MCU Spider-Man as we know him, then I congratulate Tom Holland on his refreshing, albeit brief, run. But the end of Holland's Spider-Man is not the end of Spider-Man, and people need to remember that before they go weeping into their Homecoming blankies. This is such a flexible, open character, and there are so many new performers who can give us something new to discover about the world's favorite web-slinger.
In terms of the frenzy over how this is going to affect the MCU, I have even less sympathy. Disney, being the terrifying, cannibalist megalith that it is, will have no problem recovering from this injury. Plans are already in motion for the release of huge projects for the next few years of Marvel, including a line-up of heavy hitters that range from a buddy-style Falcon and Winter Soldier series and a Loki series airing on Disney's new streaming service, Disney Plus, as well as a slew of box office bullies like Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Sure, Tom Holland slipping out of the MCU will leave a very awkward dead end in one branch of the massive tree that is Disney's Marvel, especially with the thematic build-up of Spider-Man stepping up as the new Iron-Man of Phase 5, but don't you dare think for a second that Disney hasn't already strung up a web of other projects that will quickly overshadow the Spidey's absence.
However, if even at this point I'm struggling to convince you that everything is going to be okay, Holland or no Holland, then let me just send you a direct quotation of what I said to my panicking friend when he discovered the news of the Sony-Marvel fallout.
After a bit of back and forth, he outlined his anxiety with this explanation:
I feel like they worked so hard to develop Spiderman and now they have to start over.
I think the familiarity of the original cast of the avengers made it popular to a large fan base. Everyone knows Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc. But now that they're all gone I feel like less people will care. Yeah they got a lot of characters but they're mostly new.
Marvel has a lot to write about but now it's just a little harder to attract a huge audience imo
And I responded with this:
That's true. They've lost a lot of beloved, truly well developed characters. And I really did enjoy Spider-Man, though he wasn't hands down my favorite. But it's not "starting over." They're losing a really important thread that will awkwardly be cut off and leave a hole in the story, but they have so much content that can still be explored. It's a disappointing ending to a story that was just blooming, but there's so many stories to tell.
I mean, true, the OG hallmark avengers drew everyone in at first, but only Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are truly gone. People fucking DIE over lesser knowns, side characters, and newbies like the Winter Soldier, Loki, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. And many key players, such as Thor, aren't gone. They've just adapted to the new universe and have bigger and better stories awaiting them. It's not going to be the same, but as one of the highest grossing films of all time, Endgame proved that the MCU is absolutely hooked in our culture, and the exit of its leading men, as LOVED AND CHERISHED AS THEY ARE, is not going to derail this train
Soon after, he had calmed down, and I sincerely hope that, if you happen to be among the panickers, you can find some solace through these sincere, though admittedly a bit sarcastic, words of comfort.
As you wind down to the end of this ridiculous article, I want you to come away with the reminder that Disney, as much as I despise its true nature as a ravenous corporate Goliath that is acquiring properties left and right, is at the very least not going to let us down on a thematic level. We are going to continue to get more insane stories to geek out over and be introduced to lovable, down to Earth celebrities to stalk on social media. There are so many more tales to be told and so many characters that haven't even been introduced yet. Go take a look at my Dacre Montgomery "Post-Billy" article for even one example of the many ways in which Marvel is expanding, come hell or high water.But who knows? Maybe you still don't believe me. Maybe you think that every reassurance I've slid your way in this stupidly passionate article is just a smokescreen for my true motives. Because maybe, just maybe, the real reason that I'm just so blasé about this whole Spider-Man thing is because Tobey Maguire will always be my Spider-Man.
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