Spider-Man will no longer be part of the MCU
It's a fact that, when most people think of Marvel comics, they invariably think of Spider-Man.
Ever since the costumed web-slinger made his debut way back in 1962, he's been one of the most popular superheroes in fiction, and it's easy to see why: he's a working-class, teenage hero who struggles to do the right thing with his powers even though it makes his life harder. Someone who never gets recognition for their heroics, and yet fights for justice, is an incredibly relatable character.
Check out the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home below:
Spider-Man has now appeared in a number of movies: from the initial Sam Raimi trilogy (starring Tobey McGuire) to The Amazing Spider-Man duology (starring Andrew Garfield).
More recently, a number of different incarnations met in the animated movie Into The Spider-Verse, which teamed a middle-aged Peter Parker up with alternate versions of Gwen Stacy and Miles Morales.
When it was announced that Spider-Man would be brought into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, fans were delighted - especially when Tom Holland's endearingly earnest interpretation of the character proved to be a smashing success.
The MCU Spider-Man has thus far appeared in five Disney-made films. But now, in a shocking twist, it appears that Disney has lost the movie rights to the character again.
Indeed, Spider-Man's appearance in the mainstream Marvel movies was only made possible because of a deal made with Sony pictures in 2015, who bought the film rights to the web-head back in 1999, when the comic book industry was struggling financially.
Fans were first alerted to the bad news at this year's Comic-Con; when Marvel's announcements for its next phase of films and TV shows made no reference to Spider-Man at all.
Check out this iconic Spider-Man scene from Infinity War Below:
Sony Pictures has released a statement on Twitter, in which they have attempted to explain the situation to anxious Marvel fans. A spokesperson for the studio wrote: "Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film."
They continued: "We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue."
Check out the trailer for Into the Spider-Verse below:
On social media, many fans have been left despondent by the news, and at least one prominent Avenger expressed hope that Spider-Man will still have a home in the ongoing cinematic universe.
Taking to Instagram, Hawkeye actor Jeremy Renner uploaded a picture of himself in costume as the master archer, and captioned the pic: "Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you #congrats #spidermanrocks#🏹 #please [sic]"
Check out some of the fan reactions to the news below:
Sadly, it seems as though this rights crisis now means that the Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider-Man spin-off movie that was reportedly in the works will have to be shelved. Man, I haven't been this bummed out about Spider-Man since the whole Clone Saga debacle...