With news today of Sony and Marvel making up to produce a third MCU Spider-Man movie, Disney may be planning something much bigger - permanently acquiring the rights to Spider-Man back from Sony for good.
Earlier this year, and shortly after Spider-Man: Far From Home came out, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were devastated to learn that Sony and Marvel would not be producing the third movie in the series together. Spider-Man would be out of the MCU and would become the sole property of Sony's own Spiderverse, anchoring franchises like Venom and the recently announced Madame Web.
However, earlier today, Disney and Sony announced they would indeed be making a third Spider-Man movie together, which will release on July 16th, 2021.
This is great news for all Spider-Man fans, especially since it seems to indicate Spider-Man will still take his place in the Sony universe. That said, this may all be part of a larger plan for Disney and Marvel - one involving an unexpected new challenger.
How Apple Buying Sony Could Affect Spider-Man
Rumors have been swirling that Apple is in the market to buy up some companies, among them Sony Pictures, the current rights-holders of Spider-Man. However, if Apple were to purchase Sony, it's very likely the rights to Spider-Man would revert back to Marvel. Marvel wouldn't have licensed the rights out without there being some sort of provision in the contract - after all, they wouldn't have let Warner Bros., current holders of the DC license, own a major Marvel property.
Could Marvel be hoping for Apple to buy Sony so as to retain the Spider-Man license? It's certainly possible - it's a pretty lucrative franchise, and one worth pursuing. It's unclear how today's news will affect things. It will only serve to make Sony Pictures more valuable, in the short term, and thus unlikely to be purchased immediately. That said, stranger things have happened.
Regardless, we're all extremely excited for there to be more Spider-Man in the world, whether we're talking about comics, movies, or video games.