The superhero kerfuffle between Sony and Marvel over the film rights to Spider-Man caused a bit of a stir on the internet back in September, making business negotiations between two titans into a matter of fandom. Star Tom Holland even helped push the process along with a personal plea to Disney chief Bob Iger, who then reached out to Sony film chairman Tom Rothman. Everything worked back out, with Holland and director Jon Watts back on board for a third film in the MCU Spider-Man trilogy. But to hear executives from the companies now, the deal was — like Thanos — inevitable.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Rothman and Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn explained that even if Tom Holland and the fans (and the news cycle following their reactions) sped up the process, the hero was never in any real trouble. It just didn’t make business sense to let the deal stay dead.
“The fan base, which is important to all of us, seemed to really respond to what Tom and his folks have done before with our people,” Horn said. “They like the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Kevin Feige were involved [in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home]. We heard feedback out there that suggested that joining forces once again was probably really a good idea.”
While Rothman conceded that Sony had proven its own solo Spidey merits with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, he ultimately stuck to Horn’s line: if it ain’t broke, why would they try to web it back together?
“This was a classic win-win-win,” Rothman said of the deal. “A win for Sony, a win for Disney, a win for the fans. The only thing I would say is that news cycles and the rhythm of negotiations do not necessarily overlap. And this is, in the words of Shakespeare, a consummation devoutly to be wished. We would have gotten there, and the news got ahead of some things.”
So the walking away from the negotiations and the “miraculously” late agreement (as Iger put it) was all just hype? Could be. It could also be that, now that a deal is struck, the pair clearly don’t want to show the fans any reason not to trust in their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man — or his future on screen. That would be a lose-lose-lose.
Marvel's untitled third Spider-Man film will continue doing gangbusters for both companies on July 16, 2021.