Sony may be yanking Spider-Man out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a deal to keep him in it is failing with Disney, according to reports.
Sony has confirmed that an agreement it had with Disney has broken down and MCU boss Kevin Feige is stepping away as lead producer on Spider-Man films - but it says Disney is to blame.
Spider-Man has been a part of the Disney-owned MCU since 2016 when a deal was struck between Disney and Sony, as the latter held historical big screen rights to the character.
The web-slinging alter ego of Peter Parker helped propel the MCU to even greater heights, including dethroning Avatar as the most successful film of all time with Avengers: Endgame - but his role in those movies is now, apparently, at an end.
"Disney asked that future Spider-Man films be a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios, and there were discussions that this might extend to other films in the Spider-Man universe," reports Mike Fleming Jr for Deadline.
"Sony turned that offer down flat, and I don't believe they even came back to the table to figure out a compromise."
In a statement supplied to The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for Sony confirmed Feige is stepping away from its Spider-Man films.
"Today's news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige's involvement in the franchise... we are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have him continue as a lead producer," the company says.
"We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him - including all their newly added Marvel properties - do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own."
There are reportedly two more live-action Spider-Man movies in the works, with Tom Holland reprising the lead role and Jon Watts returning as director on both.
But if Disney and Sony are unable to resurrect their deal, the fate of these films is uncertain - as are major elements of Marvel's ambitious plans for the recently announced phase four of the MCU.
The upcoming MCU films that have been officially announced so far are Black Widow (May, 2020), The Eternals (November, 2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February, 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May, 2021) and Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder (November, 2021).
List of all of the Spider-Man live-action films released so far:
The original Spider-Man trilogy:
- Spider-Man (1977)
- Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978)
- Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge (1981)
The Sam Raimi trilogy:
- Spider-Man (2002)
- Spider-Man 2 (2004)
- Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The Marc Webb films:
- The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
The MCU movies:
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)