The Sony email hacks have had a large presence in entertainment news since their inception in November, with leaked documents granting the public an unauthorized look at the behind-the-scenes working of upcoming film projects, and disclosing confidential business dealings, salaries and personal emails to the general public. It's one of the biggest breaches in Hollywood security in the modern era, and for comic fans, one property in particular hits home when it comes to Sony Pictures: Spider-Man.
Indeed, many of the reports coming from the email hack have to do with the iconic Marvel Comics superhero. Sony has attempted to craft a franchise around Spider-Man, planning "Sinister Six" and "Venom" films for release within the next five years. Yet the email hacks indicate that there may be much more going on behind the scenes.
Sony Has Considered Partnering with Marvel Studios
While the current status of a partnership between Sony and Marvel to develop a new "Spider-Man" film is unknown, one thing has come to light: a deal to partner together was on the table and under consideration. The Wall Street Journal reported that as of October 30, Sony Pictures President Doug Belgrad emailed Sony Motion Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal about a potential deal that would allow Marvel to produce a new "Spider-Man" trilogy while Sony retained "creative control, marketing and distribution."
In a separate email, Pascal stated that Marvel wanted to include Spider-Man in "Captain America: Civil War." That said, The Wall Street Journal noted that talks "eventually broke down" and that Sony was planning a "Spidey summit" for January to discuss the future plans for the franchise.
However, Latino Review published a report that the deal Sony rejected wasn't about the possible new "Spider-Man" trilogy produced by Marvel -- it was actually a co-production deal where Marvel and Sony would split costs of "Spider-Man" films 60/40, which would allow Marvel to retain creative control over the franchise.
Marvel Doesn't Want Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
Another report published by Latino Review states that Marvel would only be interested in a fresh start with the character, meaning that all the "Spider-Man" films to date -- both Sam Raimi's and Marc Webb's -- would be considered non-canonical, and Andrew Garfield would be out as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Joe and Anthony Russo are under consideration for "Avengers 3," expressed Spider-Man interest
A report from Brazilian news outlet O Vertice based on emails obtained from the Sony hack imply that Joe and Anthony Russo are -- at the very least -- in contention to direct "Avengers: Infinity War" Parts One and Two. However, the directing duo were also hoping to be considered as producers for the Spider-Man franchise, if an email from Joe Russo is accurate.
What if we came on to produce Spider-Man. My brother and I thru the new producing deal. I know it would be a complicated conversation re: Tolmach and [Avi], but I think it might be a conversation worth having. Thoughts?
The Sony execs are worried about the franchise
Certainly, the fact that a deal with Marvel may be on the table might be an indication of this on its own, but emails obtained by O Vertice imply that Sony executives aren't quite sure how viable a property "Spider-Man" can be without the aid of the greater Marvel Universe. A conversation (published on the site translated from English to Portugese) between Jeff Robinov and Amy Pascal discusses possibly bringing on Stan Lee to invent a new character for Sony to exploit. Furthermore, the conversation implies that unless Sony decides to partner with Marvel, they're running out of options.