Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe

After years of speculation, leaked emails and fanboy prayers, it looks like what everyone wanted all along is going to come true; Marvel and Sony have come to an agreement to let Spider-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Although this is great news for Spidey fans everywhere, it’s not quite a flat-out purchase from Marvel.  In other words, it’s not like Star Wars where they bought the rights and kicked George Lucas to the curb.  They still have to play nice with Sony and the press release below only states that the Marvel creative team will help Sony with the “new direction” of Spider-Man, which presumably means no Marc Webb and no Andrew Garfield.

In related news, Marvel has shifted some of the release dates of their upcoming slate.  THOR: RANGAROK will now open on November 3rd, 2017, BLACK PANTHER on July 6th, 2018, CAPTAIN MARVEL on November 2nd, 2018 and INHUMANS on July 12th, 2019.  The other movies (Avengers 3 and 4, Captain America 3, etc.) remain unchanged.  So we can deduce from these shifts that Spider-Man is going to have a big impact on the MCU.  The official press release is below:

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man.

Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.

Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films.

The new relationship follows a decade of speculation among fans about whether Spider-Man – who has always been an integral and important part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comic books – could become part of the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Spider-Man has more than 50 years of history in Marvel’s world, and with this deal, fans will be able to experience Spider-Man taking his rightful place among other Super Heroes in the MCU.

“I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie,” said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. “Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world’s most beloved characters. Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.”

Spider-Man, embraced all over the world, is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, with the five films having taken in more than $4 billion worldwide.

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