Navigating the Web: Theories about the Sony-Marvel Collaboration

It's Jake!
Theres been a ton of talk in recent weeks about a potential collaboration between Sony and Marvel Studios that would allow Spider-man to appear in one of the Avengers movies in some form or fashion.  And, of course, by talk I mean rampant fan speculation based off an email unearthed during the Interview-retaliation Sony-leak (More hyphens, more, more, more!).  The email from one Sony exec to another, put forth the idea that Marvel might be amenable to having the Webbed Wonder appearing the Avengers: The Infinity Gauntlet, the eighty-bajillionth film Marvel is planning on releasing over the next century and a half.  This conflagration of speculation was further fed by an excerpt from Latino Review, a website notorious for being correct about their leaks/speculation information, that confirmed the deal was alive and kicking.  All but confirmed, right?  A website blogger known for being correct several times could not possibly be continually grasping at whatever they can to stay relevant, could they?
         Maybe.  I dunno.
         Some things before we get into the meat of it.  First, Ive got even less credibility and reliant information than Latino Review.  Im just a fan pouring his mind out into a text document, speculating about what I see and what I feel.  Secondly, Latino Review is either incredibly lucky, a studio pawn posing as a leak site, or an Eldritch psychic Cthulhian monstrosity that gets off on leaking information and hyping up nerds. 

Heres an amateur sketch of what the blogger might look like.
         Finally, the history of movie rights to the Marvel characters is something that must be understood before going forward.  During the late 80s/early 90s, Marvel wasnt doing so hot financially.  In order to stay afloat, they sold the movie rights to several extremely recognizable characters to movie studios.  Namely, Spider-man and his associates to Sony, all the X-men ever to Fox, and a host of other perhaps less-recognizable characters to various studios.  For example, to my knowledge, Namor the Sub-Mariners rights inexplicably remain at Universal Studios. 
Hmmm, perhaps its not so inexplicable.  Imperius rex, indeed. 

         With the money gained from these very lucrative deals and some smarter business choices, Marvel was able to bounce back and would later go on to open their own production company, Marvel Studios, that would produce films based off the wisely-held-on-to Avengers characters and shove Robert Downey, Junior, down our throats at every opportunity (Looking forward to seeing you in the next Captain America movie, Tony!).  The trade-off was so lucrative because the majority of the deals contained the clause that, so long as the studios kept making movies with the characters, they would retain the movie rights.  Its why youve seen both a Spider-man reboot and an X-men reboot.  Theres a time limitation, and if the studio doesnt produce anything within that time, the rights go back to Marvel a la Daredevil (Premiering in April on Netflix!). 

         So, with the boring history and disclaimer portions out of the way, lets get into it.  The main question here: Why? Why would Marvel want to even do this?  Why would they want to help someone who has one of their characters on lock?  If Spider-mans part in Avengers is well-received, Sony might think they have a chance to make another successful movie featuring him, thus retaining the rights and keeping Marvels arguably biggest character out of Marvel Studios hands.  Wouldnt it make more sense for Marvel to allow Sony to wither on the vine, so as to make Spider-man rights revert back to Marvel?

         Theres also talk that Spider-man might appear in Captain America: Civil War.  The comic event of the same name revolved around the registration of super-humans with the government, ensure public safety by having the heroes be accountable.  Problem was that some super-heroes had secret identities and didnt really like the idea of having that information be on file somewhere.  Eventually, the super-hero community was split down the middle: the pro-registration side lead by Iron Man, then Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the anti-registration side lead by Captain America.  Oh and a few neutrals, most notably Ben Grimm, The Thing, who decided to quit the country and go to France (of all places).
Youll never see this ever-lovin, blue-eyed face againat least until it becomes relevantly dramatic 

         One of the pivotal moments of the thinly-plotted cash grabum, I mean, eventwas Spider-man, Mr. Secret-Identity for the entirety of his decades long career, deciding to go pro-registration and reveal his secret identity to the world at a press conference, because thats a great idea.  As an aside, this set in motion the events that would result in Peter Parker making a deal with the devil to annul the marriage with Mary Jane Watson to save Aunt Mays life, leading to the rage of many a comic fan.  

         Anyway, as a result of Spider-mans pivotal role in the event, many speculate that the Sony-held character could feature in the Captain America film.  The film already has almost as many potential heroes as an Avengers movie: Cap, Iron Man (in an adversarial role), Black Widow, and potentially Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Ol WS might not feature, but thats still leaves not much room for any new heroes to leave a satisfactorily big impact.  I mean, Im sure they could do it, but again, why would they want to?

         In further support, secret identities arent really that big of a deal in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).  Everyone knows who Cap and Iron Man are.  No one else seems to be all that concerned with keeping their identity a secret.  Widow and Hawkeye are government agents who dont wear masks, Thors a space god, and while Bruce Banner tries to fly under the radar, the government apparently knows who and where he is already.  So the crux of the comic Civil War isnt so crux-y in the movies, which thereby lessens the impact of a hastily thrown-in Spider-man revealing his secret identity to the world (50 years>40 odd minutes).  Further, there are only around six legitimate heroes at this point in the MCU (discounting the ones appearing on the Phil Coulson Show).  The registration of those individuals cant be a thing, because the government already knows who they are.  And not even in a shadowy, Illumanati-esque kinda way.  Because of this, it seems unlikely that Captain America: Civil War can be anywhere close to 1:1 with the comic event, thereby making Spideys appearance in the film even more unlikely.  Even if they chose to go this route, there are thousands of white male heroes to choose from in Marvels roster.  Any one of them can play the Heart and Soul of the CauseTM without having to pull in Spidey, because with only 40 minutes of build-up, you could literally throw anybody into that role.  Literally anybody.
This guy is called the Whizzer.  Yeah.  Consider that. 
         So yeah, Ive pretty much shattered all your hopes and dreams for seeing the Wall-Crawler in your Avenger-y movies.  It just doesnt make all that much sense when you lay it out from a Marvel Studios perspective rather than a Sony one.  It certainly seems better for them to play the long-game and hope the Web Head franchise finally dies in the third or fourth reboot, and then resurrect him in the MCU.  Then again, Im just a fan with a word processor, not some Hollywood Insider.  
Pictured: Not Me 
Ahhh, who am I kidding?  Im Team DBAHs official self-proclaimed Comic GuruTM.  My word is pretty much law around here.
 Me? Me! Me. 

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