The internet was rocked Tuesday by the shocking news that negotiations between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios over financing future Spider-Man films have stalled, with Sony reportedly unwilling to share 50 percent of financing and profits with Marvel parent company Disney. As such, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is not expected to be involved in producing any future Spider-Man films, while access to MCU characters will now no longer be available to Sony's Spider-Man films, unless a deal between the two studios is reached.
The big question following the quick turn of events is if the Tom Holland incarnation of Spider-Man can successfully carry on without the extensive characters and tropes of the MCU. After all, Holland's debut as Peter Parker wasn't in his own standalone film but rather in 2016's Captain America: Civil War.
The memorable debut of Holland's Peter Parker in the ensemble was a portent of things to come, as he grew in prominence in Marvel's shared cinematic universe. By the time of Spider-Man's first solo film within the MCU, 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter had become a full-fledged surrogate son to Tony Stark, constantly trying to impress his mentor enough to join the Avengers and be worthy of the fancy superhero costume designed for him.
That association only deepened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, with Peter's loss at the hand of Thanos providing Tony with the motivation to help the surviving MCU heroes in their desperate gamble to recover the Infinity Stones and restore their fallen comrades and friends.
The ramifications of Tony's death in Endgame, and his loss as Peter's father figure and mentor, permeated Spider-Man: Far From Home. Peter found a new mentor, of sorts, in Nick Fury (or at least a Skrull posing as Fury), and designed a new suit based on Stark Tech with the help of Happy Hogan, before a cliffhanger mid-credits scene exposed Spider-Man's identity to the world.
With such a dramatic, and status quo-altering, setup for a sequel, audiences will likely feel shortchanged from not seeing other heroes drawn into Peter Parker's dilemma, especially after he was anointed as an Avenger in Infinity War. While Peter could also deal with the ramifications largely by himself, the sudden absence of Marvel-controlled characters who previously provided him with support -- Happy Hogan, Nick Fury, Maria Hill -- will be glaring. There won't be any Stark Industries, Stark tech or S.H.I.E.L.D., either. It's almost as if there were another snap.
Beyond Peter Parker, the supporting casts of the two MCU Spider-Man films interacted extensively with other Marvel Studios-owned characters. Aunt May entered a brief romantic relationship with Happy over the course of Far From Home. Additionally, both the principal antagonists of Homecoming and Far From Home were driven to villainy after feeling wronged by Tony Stark, further strengthening the connections to the wider MCU beyond the odd Captain America cameo and shot of Avengers Tower.
Holland's Spider-Man could certainly interact with other Spider-Man properties licensed to Sony. An encounter between his Spider-Man and Tom Hardy's Venom has been teased ever since the lead-up to the latter's solo film debut last year. With Jared Leto's upcoming Morbius film potentially occupying the same shared universe as Venom, and Sony planning to expand that franchise with ancillary Spider-Man characters (Kraven the Hunter and Black Cat, among them), Holland's wall-crawler would be at the forefront of a very different shared cinematic universe. However, the character's prolific past would still make for a jarring transition out of the MCU.
Peter's entire drive in Homecoming had been to finally become an Avenger. His arc in Far From Home depicted him attempting to emerge from Tony Stark's shadow to become his own hero, all while grieving his loss. While Spider-Man as largely served as a friendly neighborhood hero -- Avengers missions aside -- the nature of Far From Home's ending has opened up the wall-crawler to a much larger world.
However, after their extensive use in previous films, the current franchise's abrupt and complete severance from the MCU will be a tough hurdle for audiences to overcome. Spider-Man has long kept to his own lane, but after playing so prominently established in the MCU, Holland's Spider-Man may be worse for the wear outside of it.