Spider-Man: What does the new Sony/Marvel deal mean?

Confused as to why it's big news that one studio known for making superhero films is teaming up with another? Then step this way - we've got it all laid out for you

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So what’s the news?
Marvel and Sony are teaming up to make new Spider-Man movies, and it’s all pretty exciting. I’m polishing my web-shooter as we speak!

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What’s the big deal? One movie studio is working with another to make a film, big whup.
Well basically it means that we’re getting a brand new Spider-Man (and a new actor), and all the heroes Marvel owns – The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, er, Daredevil – will be hanging out with the webslinger in future films. He can be snarky with Iron Man, flirt with Black Widow and punch Loki in the mouth.

Won’t that be weird, like Indiana Jones teaming up with the Predator?
Not really – Spider-Man was created by Marvel in their comics line in the 60s, and over the last 50 years has teamed up with Captain America, the Hulk et al more times in those pages than he’s taken a darning needle to that slinky red-and-blue number.

Then why couldn’t they team up before? Was there a falling out at a superhero barbecue or something?
Well, while Spider-Man and his hero pals still hang out in the comics that all the films are based on, Marvel sold a bunch of the film rights to their most popular characters a few years ago.

So by the time Marvel was bought by Disney and got the clout to make their own movies, the rights to Spider-Man had been sold to Sony, who used them to make those films with Tobey Maguire crying and dancing a lot.

Then, to stop the rights reverting back to Marvel, Sony made the new Andrew Garfield movies, so Marvel was forced to delve into their back catalogue and write a film about a raccoon and a tree fighting aliens. Worked out for them, though.

Why is this happening now? Was it a spontaneous explosion of art and creativity?
With the best will in the world, probably not. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone) wasn’t as big a success as Sony had hoped, so it’s financial – Marvel can’t seem to put a foot wrong in their movies, so Sony are backing the winning horse.

When can I see said metaphorical horse?
It’ll probably get a run out next year – the new Spider-Man is supposed to pop up in a Marvel movie before getting his own in 2017, so it seems most likely he’ll be in Captain America: Civil War with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans. Cool, right?

Sounds great – I can’t wait to see Spider-Man take on Wolverine!
Er, you still can’t – the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are Marvel properties, but they’re owned by 20th Century Fox. Fox’s X-Men films are doing well and there’s some bad blood between them and Marvel so don’t hold your breath for that one…

Can he at least take down Batman?
Nope – Batman comes from a whole different comic universe along with Superman, Wonder Woman and all that crowd, in DC comics. Also they’re owned by Warner Brothers, so…

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Harry Potter?
Now you’re just being facetious. It’s a radioactive teenager swinging around from sticky webs he shoots from his wrists – it’s not SILLY.