Spider-Man has been swinging into record-breaking box office success since the days of the Sam Raimi-directed movies. Originally produced solely by Sony, the Spider-Man movies were groundbreaking in establishing the modern superhero genre, which paved the road for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But Sony's overbearing interference in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tanked both franchises. The character saw a triumphant return during Marvel and Sony's partnership, but it turns out that triumph was ill-fated.
On the heels of Spider-Man: Far From Home becoming Sony's highest-grossing film of all time, the studio's unconventional co-production agreement with Marvel reached an impasse. Sony insists Disney decided to withdraw from the deal because of the heavy workload of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. However, initial reports contended Disney wanted to co-finance the next film, and receive half the profits, but Sony balked at the proposal.
The two studios may yet be able to salvage the four-year-old agreement, but if they don't, Tom Holland's Peter Parker will no longer be part of the MCU, spelling doom for several of his storylines.
Avengers No More
Tony Stark "knighted" Peter Parker as an Avengers on Titan during Avengers: Infinity War, and it seemed like a sure bet Spider-Man would play an integral role in the team moving forward.
After all, with so much of the old cast gone after Endgame, it was likely pre-existing characters like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel would take leadership roles. Spidey may not have been leader material, but watching him try was a lot of fun. That doesn't seem possible now.
Far From Home played up the angle that Iron Man had groomed Spider-Man to be his successor, going to far as to leave Peter with access to technology no high school kid should have. Called E.D.I.T.H. ("Even Dead, I'm the Hero"), the powerful satellite and weapons system came with an AI interface that could hack its way into any database at a moment's notice.
It was Peter's fear of responsibility that gave way to the film's climactic finale. Although the film ended with Peter deciding he wasn't ready for such pressures, without any MCU connections it seems he never will be.
Of course, the climax to Far From Home involved a whole lot more than just E.D.I.T.H. In the closing moments of the film a video made by Mysterio revealed Peter Parker's alter ego to the world. While a future Spider-Man film could easily move this plot forward, the far-reaching implications of it occurring in the MCU will be missing.
In a world where the Sokovia Accords once required all heroes to register and fall in line with government oversight, there is little doubt a teenager who can catch a speeding car would rock the boat.
No Happy Ending
The budding relationship between Peter's Aunt May and Happy Hogan would be entirely impossible without both characters being able to appear in the same film.
Sure, the movie could hand-wave this off with a casual mention that didn't name names, but that means that the subplot for both characters (sorely needed for an underutilized Marrissa Tomei as Aunt May) would simply fizzle out uselessly.
The Blip on the Radar
Thanos' snap at the end of Infinity War had widespread consequences for the entire MCU, and Spider-Man was no exception. Because Far From Home was the first film to take place after Endgame, it spent a lot of time explaining the effect the sudden disappearance of half the world's population had on those left behind, as well as the implications of the their return five years later.
Without the ability to mention Thanos or say anything about "The Blip," the events of Infinity War and Endgame would feel like the elephant in room for every future Spider-Man movie. Can all the characters just forget about something like that?
The Mysterio Mystery
The first two main villains in the MCU Spider-Man movies were as intrinsically tied to the film franchise as Spidey himself. The Vulture came from a construction background and pilfered alien technology from the aftermath of the Battle of New York to make his very own super-suit. He had a grudge against Tony Stark and his ilk, and he wasn't the only one. In the next movie, Quentin Beck became the special effects-empowered supervillain Mysterio to settle his grudge.
If a Sinister Six were to ever happen, or if the villains were to return in any way, would their character motivations do a complete 90-degree turn into something else? Both villains were great and received immense praise, but it's not clear that Vulture could carry on without his motivation or that Mysterio would have the same impact.
Now in theaters, director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.