Spider-Man has appeared in a wide variety of live-action movies over the years, and while we all love the Sam Raimi films, the wall-crawler really found his home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since joining the MCU, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has battled Vulture in New York, faced Mysterio in Europe, and magic-kicked Thanos in outer space. But while the character sometimes ignores the wisdom of his mentor Tony Stark, it turns out that Spider-Man actually has to follow some pretty strict rules.
As comic book fans know, Spider-Man is only in the MCU thanks to a unique deal between Marvel/Disney and Sony Pictures. It allows Sony to hold onto the film rights to this iconic character while letting Marvel Studios be the primary creative driving force between Peter Parker’s movies. This partnership has yielded some acclaimed solo films and some exceptional team-up movies. But these accomplishments would never have happened without a strict set of parameters. And what are these codes keeping Spidey in check? Well, read on for the rules Spider-Man has to follow in the MCU.
For the longest time, it was uncertain if the MCU version of Spider-Man could interact with other Sony Pictures adaptations of Marvel properties. Spider-Man producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal gave contradictory statements about the matter during the summer of 2017 while promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Feige maintaining that there were no plans for such a crossover while Pascal explicitly said that films like Venom would be “adjacent” to the new MCU Spider-Man titles. The back-and-forth on this matter got so out of control that reports surfaced indicating that Tom Holland filmed a cameo as Peter Parker for Venom, only for Marvel Studios to ask Sony to cut the appearance.
When Sony and Marvel re-upped their agreement to work together on Spider-Man movies in September 2019, though, clarity finally emerged. In the announcement of this decision, Feige himself mentioned that Spider-Man “also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse, you never know what surprises the future might hold.” With this decision solidified, the doors opened up for Sony to utilize the MCU version of Spider-Man across their own separate cinematic universe. Given that, don’t be surprised if Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man makes a physical appearance in upcoming Sony/Marvel movies.
Superhero movie franchises have typically followed the mold of trilogies. Three solo outings and that’s it until someone new takes on the character. This was true for heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and Christian Bale’s version of Batman, for example. The MCU version of Spider-Man, meanwhile, isn’t adhering to those same rules, despite the fact that Tobey Maguire’s version of Spider-Man capped off his trilogy with just three movies. Instead, the MCU version of Spider-Man is taking cues regarding its amount of solo movies from a fantasy cinema icon.