On October the 6th, Drew McWeeney at HitFix got the scoop that Marvel was to put Spider-Man in Marvel Studios movies.
Sony, on the other hand, may be doing things the opposite way. While I can't get the confirmations I need to verify the story, I'm hearing that there are some very cool "Spider-Man" plans being discussed that would help Sony refocus their enormously important franchise while also opening up some connections in the onscreen Marvel movie universe that would blow fandom's minds. Will it work out? I don't know. I would love to be able to state for sure that it's happening. What seems clear from what I've heard is that Marvel wants to be able to play with all of their characters, and if they can make that work creatively and on a corporate level, they will, and that means the world gets bigger again.
A great scoop… it just wasn't true. Yet. The leaked e-mails reveal this. Paul Pflug of a PR team employed by Marvel emailed up the chain.
below is a sampling of posts appearing online about Spider-Man returning to Marvel. Is there something afoot as we are now getting calls from mainstream media inquiring. Outlets that have now checked in include Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and Buzzfeed among others.
John Turitzin, Chief Counsel at Marvel went straight to the top, to Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter.
Do you know what this is all about?
Ike Perlmutter wrote to Sony exec Michael Lynton on 7th October 2014 saying
You can see that there are a lot of stories on the internet saying we are in discussions about Spider-Man returning to Marvel. Some of the mainstream press is also asking about this. Have you seen this? Any idea how this could be assumed by the press? Obviously, this could be a problem.
Yes. This has also been brought to my attention. No idea where it is coming from. Apparently the ny times also interested in the story. I think best to ignore it all, but happy to discuss if you like.
Well, discuss they clearly did… and it was eventually announced that, yes, Spider-Man would appear in Captain America: Civil War and that Marvel Studios would be making the Spider-Man films for Sony. It does appear as if the rumours of it happening, however unfounded, helped it actually happen.
On the 26th of October answering the question whether Marvel needed Spider-Man to make Captain America; Civil War, Tom Rothman, Chairman of TriStar Pictures replied to Amy Pascal saying,
the answer is: YES THEY DO NEED IT, AND I AM TELLING YOU THEY WILL MAKE THE DEAL– not right away maybe, but if they BELIEVE you will never give them the other thing, then they will make the deal for spidy in capt. why wouldn't they???? trade spidy in capt for hulk/widow/thor/or capt in spidy. f—ing STICK. they will fold.
So we will get Hulk, Black Widow, Thor or Captain America in the next Spider-Man film then? We also got to see how Sony folk dealt with enquiries, such as Jeff Sneider from The Wrap asking, first in April 2014 to Steve Eizner,
Hey Steve, so I spoke to a well-placed Marvel source this morning and I'm told that Sony has signed a deal to license use of the Spider-Man character to Disney/Marvel for use in "The Avengers 2." Furthermore, I have a source who previously witnessed Andrew Garfield leaving Marvel with a stack of "Avengers" comic books under his arm.
I'm told that Fox has also agreed to license characters from its X-Men universe, as well as the Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four, for use in The Avengers 2, so this would be part of a larger story.
Please let me know if you can confirm. Appreciate any guidance you can offer on this one.
Then on October 28th,
Hi Jean and Charlie, just wanted you to be aware of this email I sent to Elzer in April 2013, which he subsequently denied. I'm still hearing these now well-publicized rumors that Sony will let Marvel borrow Spider-Man… but for Captain America: Civil War rather than Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Kevin Feige addressed the speculation today at the Marvel event and said it was just a rumor.
I'm told Sony definitely plans to license out the Spider-Man character for Marvel's use in exchange for use of a similar major character, or at the very least, trailer placement for Sony movies in front of Marvel movies…
Does Sony have any comment about the possibility that Spider-Man could appear in a future Marvel movie, or does the studio have no plans to license out the character?
The rest of Sony were then told,
As I did with brooks barnes, I denied we are in any negotiations with Marvel about licensing Spider-Man back to them. He is NOT writing anything right now.
Man, they play hardball… but they did try. From 4th November, Isaac Perlmutter wrote to Michael Lynton, saying,
Putting Spider-Man in Captain America 3 with Chris Evans and with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man doesn't provide much benefit to Marvel, but it definitely provides a significant amount of benefit to Sony and to Spider-Man.
Michael Lynton replied,
You and I tried.
And Isaac Perlmutter responded,
When you have a few minutes please give me a call.
Looks like they tried really hard! Over at Fox it didn't go as well, with Marvel's John Turitzin writing to Bob Cohen at Fox.
I'm writing to you to correct the misimpression left by reporting concerning Fox's plans for a Deadpool motion picture. According to a September 18, 2014 report in Variety, "Fox and Marvel have slotted Deadpool, their long in development X-Men spin-off for Feb. 12, 2016." (http://variety.com/2014/film/news/deadpool-release-date-fox-marvel-1201308783/). As you are aware, Marvel has no involvement in the decision to produce a Deadpool film, let alone when that film will be released. The article continues with the falsehood that Kevin Feige is producing the film with Lauren Schuler Donner. Kevin Feige will have no involvement in a Deadpool motion picture, should Fox decide to produce one, and we will not be designating Kevin as an executive producer for any of the films made under the X-Men license (unless we advise you otherwise). We are, however, designating Stan Lee as our executive producer for the upcoming X-Men films of which we are aware are in production (i.e., Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse). Additionally, Tom Cohen who was designated as Associate Producer should be removed from any credits.
We can't determine, of course, the extent to which that misimpression was created or fostered by Fox, but please ask your people to be careful not to imply that Marvel Studios or its personnel are producing any of the X-Men films licensed to Fox by Marvel and to correct any reports that suggest otherwise. Misrepresentations in press reports lead to inaccurate speculation that there could be cross-overs between Marvel Studios produced movies and those produced under license by Fox.
And that, folks, is the way the sausage is made.
Read more of our Sony Leaks coverage here…