Since last year, one of the biggest questions circulating in entertainment news (or at the very least, the entertainment news I care about enough to follow) has been: “What’s to become of that there Spider-Man?” Since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed at the box office and with the critics (both for good reasons), rumors have been circulating of talks between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios about everyone’s favorite wall-crawler returning home to Marvel to join in on all the lucrative, high-quality movie making. Well, this week, those rumors were finally put to rest when it was announced that Spider-Man would finally be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I think I speak for everyone when I say: YES! YES! YES! OH THANK YOU, LORDY LORD YES!


Spidey insert
Spidey, hopeful about the future.

But then again, not everyone is quite as plugged in to the whole comic-book-turned-movie news thing as I am – a fact that became apparent when, upon hearing the news and excitedly messaging a friend out of the need for someone to vent my joy at, I was met by a blankness that could probably only be matched by myself if someone tried to talk to me about… Well, y’know, something that actually matters. So for those not in the know, this week on FFR, I’ll take you through what’s happened, what it means and how I feel about it.

Spider-Man is joining the MCU…..but quite leaving Sony

Since before the first Sam Raimi movie, the screen rights to Spider-Man have been held by Sony Pictures, meaning that Spider-Man could only appear in films produced by Sony. This meant that all that wonderful Marvel Studios fun, where characters can appear in each other’s movies, take part in team-ups, etc., was something that Spidey couldn’t really join in on. Until now. Spidey is set to appear in an upcoming Marvel Studios film, most likely Captain America: Civil War – unless Marvel jumps right the hell in, throws a Spidey suit on a stuntman and does a last minute re-shoot for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, so they can throw him in a post-credits scene. But don’t hold your breath on that one. Spidey is then set to make his proper MCU debut in 2017 in a brand new film that seriously – seriously – better not suck.

Spider and Avengers
The movie of this may now become reality.


The hope everyone had was that the Spidey film rights would get sold back to Marvel, wresting him away from mean old Sony, but that isn’t the case. Sony still owns the film rights, but is sharing our friendly neighbourhood superhero with Marvel. The new film in 2017 will still be a Sony movie, but with Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege producing, to make sure Sony doesn’t go all… Well, go all Sony. Avi Arad, the producer of every previous Spider-Man movie and the man many blame for the woeful state of Spider-Man films today, will be given a meaningless Executive Producer credit, and barred from providing any creative input.

While none of this guarantees that the next film will be great, it’s essentially taken the franchise out of the hands that put it in the shape it’s in today and ensured that we have a much better chance of getting something that won’t make me want to pour acid in my face.

Andrew Garfield’s day as Spider-Man is done

This was basically a foregone conclusion even before all this news, since Garfield had apparently been looking to get out of his contract since before ASM2, and rumors indicated that Sony was looking to find a new face for the franchise. Word is that Sony and Marvel are already staring the casting process up, with Logan Lerman and Dylan O’Brien being the frontrunners. There was a lot of hope that Miles Morales, the alternate universe Spider-Man of mixed race (African-American/Latino) heritage would be the MCU Spider-Man, but sadly that doesn’t appear to be the case. While I never hated Garfield as Spider-Man, I can’t say I’m sad to see him go, and can understand the need to start with some new blood.

Sinister six insert

Drew Goddard’s Sinister Six movie is apparently still happening, just maybe not for a while

One of the many, many problems that plagued ASM2 was that a disproportionate chunk of it was dedicated to setting up The Sinister Six, a spinoff movie which would see Spider-Man’s greatest villains team up to do something or other. The only thing we’ve really known about the movie since it was announced was that Drew Goddard, the director and co-writer of Cabin in the Woods, would be in the director’s chair and writing the script. With Spidey joining the MCU, the future of the project seems like it should be in doubt, but Sony have gone on record saying that it’s still happening.

And honestly, I’m glad. Spidey finally getting to come out and play with his Marvel buddies is fantastic news, but it would have been a shame if it had come at the cost of a potentially good flick, and I think Drew Goddard could really give us one. If Marvel and Sony wanted to be total badasses, they’d offer Goddard the job of directing the 2017 movie, maybe even using the script Goddard wrote as a starting off point.

The Marvel movie schedule will change to accommodate the new Spider-Man film

Pretty much immediately, Marvel released the new schedule for their next few years worth of content, adjusted for the new Spidey movie. The new movie will take the spot previously held by Thor: Ragnarok, releasing on July 28th, 2017. Everything after that, with the exception of both halves of Avengers: Infinity War has been pushed back slightly. The only major change is that The Inhumans, which was previously slated for release in November of 2018 to July of 2019.

Given that right now you’re probably asking “Who the Hell are The Inhumans”, this probably isn’t gonna affect much, and I can’t say it’s a great loss. Look, I’m sure Marvel has some very cool plans for the characters, I mean hey they live on the dark side of the moon and have a giant teleporting bulldog, but I’d just as well wait for that if it means getting a potentially decent Spider-Man movie that much sooner.

Info from Variety, Screenrant and Marvel.

2014 has been a phenomenal year for Marvel Studios. The two highest grossing movies of the year have their stamp on them, and each one has enough critical acclaim to fill a library with gushing, enthusiastic reviews. And it’s not even over yet. The release of Big Hero Six (technically a Disney movie, but I’m counting it as a legit Marvel movie because shut up), the animated adaptation of another lesser-known Marvel property is a month or so away, and I’m not sure if you’re aware but it looks fucking amazing. I mean Jesus, did you see that last trailer? Good luck getting that song out of your head by the way. And to add to all that, the hype train for the long-awaited Avengers: Age of Ultron is warming up to leave the station, with a trailer apparently set to release with that boring looking Christopher Nolan space movie. But what comes after that? As exciting as the last year has been, Marvel has a lot of potentially exciting projects in the pipeline, and news about them has been steadily trickling out for the past few months.

So for this week’s FFR, I thought it would be fun to take another look ahead at some of the more interesting things Marvel and their Disney backers plan to unleash on us in the next year or so. Because remember, speculating about comic book movies is roughly 50% of what the internet is for.

Ant Man previewAnt-Man

Whenever I bring up that Marvel is making a movie about Ant-Man, people’s reactions tend to involve raised eyebrows or uproarious laughter. And it’s not hard to see why, mustering up enthusiasm about a guy who’s powers begin and end with the word “Ants” is like trying to get enthusiastic about….well, the movie Antz. Remember when that was a thing? With like, Woody Allen and Gene Hackman? God, that was weird.

Anyway, up until recently, my smug assurance that Ant Man was gonna blow peoples’ minds came entirely from the phrase ‘Directed by Edgar Wright’. But then Wright departed the project over creative differences, and my reaction was pretty much this. Shortly after, Marvel rushed in a new director, Peyton Reed, best known for recent films Yes Man and The Break-Up. I’m not overly familiar with Reed’s work, and I’m sure he’s a fine director, but I think a lot of people’s hype for this movie went out the door with Wright, and of all Marvel’s upcoming projects, Ant- Man seems most poised to be their first real failure.

Agent Carter

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Marvel’s first foray into basic cable TV programming, has been met with a mixed reaction, with choruses of “It gets better!” failing to drown out the deafening “Meh” that resounded during the first half of Season 1.

But Marvel isn’t done with TV yet, and their next foray into the small screen, Agent Carter, will hopefully meet with more initial success than their last. A lot of what Agent Carter will be about was actually set up in Winter Soldier, around that one sequence where Captain America and Black Widow find the dingy, long disused hidden office where S.H.I.E.L.D was started by the supporting cast of the first Captain America flick. Hayley Atwell is set to reprise her role as the British intelligence agent who goes on to play an important role in the early days of S.H.I.E.L.D, presumably before they had killer blue jumpsuits and those flying aircraft carriers that make physic students go completely insane. Other familiar faces like Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark are set to show up, and Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo will drop in to direct a few episodes.


Daredevil & Netflix

Not content with just movies and TV, Marvel recently began production on a series of miniseries produced in partnership with Netflix, the first of which, Daredevil, has begun filming. Daredevil will soon be followed by three other shows based on other street-level Marvel characters and superheroes: street wise African-American hero Luke Cage, the mystically empowered martial artist Iron Fist and former superheroine turned private-eye Jessica Jones. Once all four have been established in their own shows, they’ll all team up for,the last Netlfix series, Heroes for Hire…what? It’s not Heroes for Hire? It’s The Defenders? Are you sure? Because that sounds like a Heroes for Hire lineup to me. Ok, if you insist.

So far, only Daredevil has been cast (as far as Marvel have announced anyway), and with strong talents like Charlie Cox in the title role and Vincent D’Onofrio as Daredevil’s arch-nemesis The Kingpin. Previously, the show was going to be helmed by Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, before he dropped out to direct Sony’s Sinister Six movie, because why work with Marvel when you can work with the people trying to imitate Marvel and failing horrendously? Stephen S. DeKnight stepped in to fill Goddard’s shoes, and I’ve heard enough decent things about those Spartacus shows that I’m looking forward to see how it turns out.

One rather large question that’s come up about Daredevil recently is what time period the show will take place in. DeKnight has said that the show will have a “gritty 1970s New York feel”, which could mean one of two things. It could mean that the show will simply be trying to evoke 70s crime movies like Dirty Harry and Death Wish, in the same way that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was modeling itself after political thrillers from the same period like Three Days of the Condor. But it could also mean that the show will actually be set in the 1970s. It isn’t an entirely new idea, Joe Carnahan threw around the idea of a Daredevil movie set in the 70s before the rights to the character reverted to Marvel (which is sad, when you think about it, since a Joe Carnahan Daredevil movie could have been the best thing in the world since popcorn flavored jellybeans), but if it’s true, it throws a new spin on what the other series in the Defenders project could be. Does this mean they’ll all be set in the 70s?

It sounds far-fetched, but given that Marvel already has another period-set TV project in the pipeline, anything’s possible.