So. It's official. Spider-Man is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sony and Marvel have finally made the deal that Spider-fans everywhere were hoping for, and we will, in the very near future, see Spidey swing his way into one of Marvel's upcoming feature films.
The big question now? Which one it'll be...
Well, Marvel's announcement last night remained cagey about just when Spidey would enter the MCU, but it might just have revealed a whole lot more than it was intending to.
The reason? This breakdown of the deal:
"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."
Which, as it just so happens, confirms that...
Spider-Man Will Debut in the MCU Before July 2017
Now, as things stand, only Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (and this year's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, both of which will surely be too soon) fall before that release date.
Now, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is reportedly very pointedly planned to be set a long way from Earth, and Doctor Strange is apparently skewing very much towards the mystical side of the MCU (and looks very much set to be a solo story) - which means, most likely...
Spider-Man Will Debut in Captain America: Civil War
Which, it just so happens, has reportedly been confirmed by Wall Street Journal sources...
It makes sense, after all - it's the only major Marvel team-up movie set for release (after the already-wrapped Age of Ultron) in the next few years, and it's one based on a plot-line that integrally features Spidey.
So much so, in fact, that there's good reason to believe that Marvel had primarily been negotiating this deal in order to allow Spidey to be featured in the movie.
So, Will We Now See a Faithful Adaptation of Civil War?
After all, we do now have the three main characters from the Marvel plot-line - meaning The Black Panther may well not be required to deputize for Spidey.
Well, it's entirely possible - but the film may well already be far enough ahead in its production to make a completely faithful adaptation impossible. After all, the comic-book Civil War partly hinged upon the audience watching Spider-Man's long internal debate over which side to join - and it's unlikely that a two-and-a-half hour movie will have too much time for that (or that Marvel would have planned to give The Black Panther quite so central a role).
On the flip side, though, there are few more reliably bankable stars than Spider-Man - so if he does appear...
It Could Make Commercial and Creative Sense to Put Spidey Center Stage
After all, if you're worried about Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice overshadowing your marquee release for 2016, what do you do?
Why, you have Iron Man and Captain America fight it out - with Spider-Man right in the middle of it all.
I mean, who wouldn't want to watch that?