|The Speculative Spider-Man
It's the morning after Marvel and Sony (or Sony and Marvel, if you prefer) dropped their spider-bombshell. Essentially, the two companies will co-produce Spider-Man movies from here on out, with the "new" Spider-Man first appearing in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
For those unfamiliar, that refers to those movies released by Paramount and Disney in which all the characters are capable of interweaving. Which, I suppose, now has to be redefined a bit since Sony essentially enters the mix, too.
The Wall Street Journal confirmed what had long been suspected, that actor Andrew Garfield will not be reprising the role of Spider-Man. Despite his personal enthusiasm for the character, the actor is either deemed too old (31) or simply too disliked in the role. (Amazing Spider-Man 2 is being given the common wisdom of being a failure -- hardly Garfield's fault.)
Plans for The Sinister Six movie, which Sony had been holding onto their slate, have been delayed. Though really, if the whole thing is going to be rebooted, it doesn't much make sense to move forward with that at all. Develop the story you really want to tell, instead of gripping an old concept that people weren't too enthusiastic about in the first place.
And four MCU movies have also been delayed, but that more likely comes out of respect for Spider-Man Reborn (a random title I am totally making up right now). With Marvel having more of a stake in the success of Sony's franchise, they don't want to crowd the marketplace with their own product. It's not likely that it's really a domino effect of trying to shoehorn Spider-Man plot points into as many movies as possible.
So what is going to happen?
By all accounts, Spider-Man will first appear in Captain America: Civil War, as had been rumored before talks between studios broke down the first time. Then he appears in his next solo film (released through Sony) on July 28, 2017.
In more of our own wild unfounded speculation, it's also possible that there's just enough time to hint at Spider-Man in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's already likely that said scene will set up Civil War; why not drop a hint or two, just as "the twins" -- Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch -- were briefly shown but not named in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The agreement probably wouldn't allow a direct appearance -- at least, not according to what they've said. But negotiations have been going on for several months. Kevin Feige is way too canny not to have some plans in place that could include that big a set-up.
Those post-credit sequences are supposed to be a surprise. Spider-Man appearing in Civil War isn't a surprise; he will have to be integral to the plot or moviegoers will spend most of the movie unfocusedly waiting for him. Appearing at the end of Age of Ultron... now that would be a surprise.
And who will be Spider-Man?
We're still hoping that it could be Miles Morales, the alternate "Ultimate" universe Spider-Man. But with this deal in place, Marvel may still bow to the pressure of forces greater than creativity: marketing and licensing. They don't have to do an origin story -- does anyone not know how Spider-Man became Spider-Man? -- but they may have to at least give people the Spider-Man they think they know -- and that means Peter Parker.
If it's Peter Parker, and it's not Andrew Garfield, who is it?
A few people have floated the name of Logan Lerman, the erstwhile D'artagnan and Percy Jackson, but though he does look younger than he is, that could shift within two years. Josh Hutcherson really wanted the role a few years ago, but his time may have passed, too. More likely, we'd all best look to The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon to see who's hot on their sitcoms because at this point, it's not about an actor with established cred; it's about who really fits the role.
Unless... please, oh, please... Marvel goes with Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
A man can dream.
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