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Peter Parker may be in a dead heat with Deadpool for having Marvel’s biggest gift of gab. But there’s no exaggeration to all those reports we’ve seen about how Spider-Man actor Tom Holland talked his way up the Disney food chain to plead with CEO Bob Iger for a solution to last month’s temporary Spidey rift between Disney and Sony.
For a few long weeks, fans’ hearts almost stopped when it looked as though the web-slinger would be getting a premature divorce from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But Iger says Holland’s 11th-hour plea to keep his character from being dusted from the MCU made all the difference in bringing both sides back to the negotiating table.
Iger stopped by Disney-owned ABC this week for a visit with Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the Mouse House’s top dog freely credited Holland with helping attenuate his own Spidey senses to just how much Spider-Man means to MCU fans. The Spidey-talk begins around the 7:25 mark in the Kimmel clip below:
Admitting that the late-stage agreement between the two studios happened “miraculously,” Iger said Holland’s persistence, as well as his connection with fans, was key. Not only did Holland beg for a way to contact Iger directly; Iger ended up being impressed by the actor’s never-quit drive to scale to the very top of the Disney hierarchy, if that’s what it took to bring Disney and Sony back to the negotiating table.
Joking that Holland even “cried on the phone” (he didn’t, though we can totally envision it), Iger said that after Disney’s D23 event had ended in August, “Tom reached out to folks who work for me and said, ‘Could I please have Bob’s email address or phone number?’ Of course, I’m very protective, so they were very careful, and I said, ‘Sure; have him contact me.’ And he did.”
After hearing from Holland how desolate a Spidey-free MCU neighborhood would feel, Iger said “I felt for him — and it was clear that the fans wanted all of this to happen. So after I got off the phone with him, I made a couple of phone calls to our team at Disney Studios, and then I decided to call the head of Sony [film chairman Tom Rothman] — and I said, ‘We’ve got to figure out a way to get this done.’”
Thanks to all that hustle, the two studios announced on Sept. 27 that they’d reached a deal that’ll allow Holland’s upcoming third Spider-Man movie to be a co-production with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Disney, plus an agreement to let Peter Parker play a role in a future unspecified MCU film.
Iger gave Holland all the credit for bringing the fans’ perspective back to what had previously looked like a high-level negotiation for one of the box office’s hottest properties. “Sometimes companies, when they’re negotiating, or people when they’re negotiating with one another, they forget that there are other folks out there that actually matter,” said Iger. “…It was clear that he cared so much — and actually we care a lot about him. He’s a great Spider-Man, isn’t he?” — a softball question for sure.
With the audience clamoring their agreement, Kimmel piped back: “He’s the best Spider-Man!” Hey, we won’t argue the point: Any Spidey who can save the neighborhood and get corporate titans to reach a movie deal deserves a place somewhere near the very top of the Spider-Verse.