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Spider-Man to appear in Marvel films as part of Sony partnership

The Columbian
Published: February 15, 2015, 12:00am

Hollywood just put the “amazing” in the long-speculated “amazing fantasy” of many Spider-Man fans.

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures announced last week a joint deal, the two studios will now share big-screen use of the webslinger, who will swing forthcoming films by the two studios.

Sony, which launched Spidey’s film franchise so successfully 13 years ago with director Sam Raimi, will effectively retain primary custody of Peter Parker. The studio “will continue to finance, distribute, own and have financial creative control” of Spider-Man films, according to a joint statement released Monday.

But Sony and Marvel are collaborating “on a new creative direction” for Spidey, according to the release at Marvel.com.

In other words, Spider-Man should finally get to play with the Avengers and other characters in Marvel’s “cinematic universe” (MCU).

Similarly, the two studios are “exploring opportunities to integrate” MCU characters into Spider-Man films.

Put more simply: It’s open playground time.

Shepherding this partnership is Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, who just stepped down as Sony co-chairman, in the wake of her leaked emails during “The Interview” brouhaha. Pascal, who reportedly is launching a production venture at Sony, was the executive who helped kick off the franchise’s blockbuster success more than a decade ago.

“Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU,” Feige said in a statement. “I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.”

The announcement refers to “a new Spider-Man,” which signals a recasting of that role. (Tobey Maguire, of course, played Spidey in the first three films, with Andrew Garfield suiting up for the reboot. Garfield reportedly won’t reprise his role.)

This “new Spider-Man” will debut in a Marvel film, then swing over for a Sony-released summer-of-2017 film to be co-produced by Marvel and Pascal, who nimbly lands on her feet with this deal so soon after her dethroning.

Sony’s five Spider-Man films have collectively grossed nearly $4 billion worldwide.

Spider-Man was created by Marvel’s Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, of course, and debuted in “Amazing Fantasy 15” in the summer of 1962.

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