Sony Pictures and Marvel announced today that "the new Spider-Man" will appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU), and Sony will thereafter release the next installment of its Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Marvel's Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal and the team at Marvel.
Spider-Man is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, taking in more than $4 billion worldwide.
"Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the webslinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films," according to the announcement at Marvel.com.
Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the Marvel into future Spidey films, the statement said.
It continued, "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."
The report did not confirm rampant speculation that Andrew Garfield would not be back as Spider-Man after two films as Peter Parker. The deal follows on the heels of a Change.org petition after "Sony recently declined the opportunity to include Spider-Man in the upcoming Civil War movie, in which he plays a major role," according to Comicbook.com.
Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said, "This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."