As the fallout from the cyberattack on Sony Pictures rumbles on, tantalising behind-the-scenes tidbits have been revealed about upcoming films on Sony’s slate – and now the superheroes are being dragged into the fray.
According to leaked emails, Sony and Marvel Studios (who own the film rights to The Avengers and other superheroes but sold Spider-Man many years ago) attempted to hammer out a deal to include Spider-Man in future Marvel films as recently as October.
These might have included upcoming 2016 sequel Captain America: Civil War (starring Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.) as well as a new trilogy of Spider-Man films that Marvel would produce, with Sony retaining control of marketing, distribution and creative elements.
The move would doubtless have thrilled comic fans as the most recent Spider-Man film (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield) underperformed commercially and critically, leaving the future of the franchise uncertain. In addition, the comic storyline that Captain America: Civil War is based on prominently features Spider-Man, making his appearance in the film an attractive prospect.
The emails – sent to and from Sony’s motion picture chief Amy Pascal – showed that discussions were extensive between the two parties and went all the way up to Sony chief executive Kaz Hirai and the CEO of Disney (which owns Marvel).
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the potential difficulties of such an arrangement and Marvel’s rigorous creative control over its films, talks fell through and Sony has decided to continue onwards with its planned Spider-Man film slate.
This encompasses spin-offs focused on villains the Sinister Six, anti-hero/murderer Venom and various female supporting characters from the Spider-Man world, in addition to an animated Spider-Man comedy produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord (of 22 Jump Street and The Lego Movie fame), which was also revealed in the leaked emails.