Kevin Feige’s promotional tour for Spider-Man: Homecoming has been almost impressively tight-lipped – perhaps understandable for a guy who’s been doing the MCU circuit for 10 years – but recent comments made to the Toronto Sun do give us a hint of what the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might hold, in a post-Avengers world.
Specifically, Feige has confirmed that whatever follows the two-part Avengers: Infinity War saga will mark a new arc for the MCU, and furthermore, that the Spider-Man Homecoming sequel will “usher in” what follows. “The original 22-movie arc ends with the untitled Avengers in May of 2019, and then two months later it will be Peter [Parker] and Spider-Man that usher us into the aftermath and how things proceed from there”, Feige said.
Of course, there was little doubt that Thanos’ inevitable defeat would be the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s current arc, which stretches all the way back to 2008’s Iron Man (if you’re feeling charitable) and concerns the collection of the Infinity Stones. However, Spider-Man’s importance to what follows is a new piece of information, and one that wasn’t necessarily certain.
The key thing to note is that the Spider-Man sequel – Homecoming 2, if you like – will mark the end of Sony’s current deal with Marvel. But with big hitters like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth all reaching the end of their contracts and getting increasingly expensive – assuming they’re willing to return at any price – the future of the MCU is going to be built on newer and younger characters. And as fun as the likes of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Black Panther are, they aren’t franchise centrepiece material in the same way Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is simply because they aren’t as recognisable or iconic as the webslinger.
Anyone who knows the industry know that Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel’s Kevin Feige are good friends, so as long as those two are running their respective shows there’s a good chance Spider-Man will remain part of the MCU – but it suggests a lot of confidence that a future deal will be struck if Marvel is willing to put Spider-Man up right up front as, essentially, the “Iron Man” of the post-Infinity War universe.
In any case, there are still three movies to make until we reach that point, so for now let’s enjoy what’s coming and hope that commercial realities don’t get a chance to disappoint us in the intervening period…