~Matt Key

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Marvel’s Prodigal son is returning home! There shall be much rejoicing and a time of celebration!

Already, it’s been announced that Thor: Ragnarok will be knocked from it’s July 2017 spot to later that year, making room for the Sony/Marvel joint production of Spider-Man, which has everything else at Marvel pushed back.

Here’s a handy chart to show you how the release schedule shakes out now.

US Release Date Title
May 1, 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17, 2015 Ant-Man
May 6, 2016 Captain America: Civil War
Nov 4, 2016 Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Jul 3, 2017 Spider-Man
Nov 3, 2017 Thor: Ragnarok
May 4, 2018 Avengers: Infinity War Part I
July 6, 2018 Black Panther
Nov 2, 2018 Captain Marvel
May 3, 2019 Avengers: Infinity War Part II
Jul 12, 2019 Inhumans

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Also, The Wrap is reporting that it will be a new Spider-Man, that Andrew Garfield will NOT be reprising his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, so we’ll need to find a new one.

So, with that said, exactly HOW will Marvel use Spider-Man?

First of all, let me say, this will ALL be speculation based on what I think would work best inside the extended narrative that Marvel has set up. If Marvel has been gunning for Spider-Man as hard as they have, then they obviously have a larger end-game in mind for him, so what is that?

First of all, I don’t believe they are going to use Miles Morales, as awesome as that would actually be. We very much need to make room for more multi-ethnic as well as female superheroes. Though Marvel has made a lot of strides in the right direction, with Muslim superheroes like Kamala Khan and announcing a Black Panther movie as well as a Captain Marvel one, the majority of characters remain white men. All that being said, though, it seems that Marvel’s interest is in Peter Parker specifically as they may have been able to navigate some loopholes to use Miles Morales as it’s uncertain if Sony has the rights to that character specifically.

Next, let’s look at the placement of the film. The standalone Spider-Man Marvel/Sony joint venture will come AFTER Age of Ultron, Ant-man, Civil War, Doctor Strange and the Guardians sequel. That means he will debut in any one of those films, as the Press Release stated, “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 it’s $4 billion Spider-Man franchise on July 28th, 2017.”

If Marvel wants to introduce him in time to have him in Captain America: Civil War , then he needs to be introduced in either Age of Ultron or Ant-Man. There is not be time to cohesively include him in Age of Ultron, at least in a way that makes any narrative sense, not to mention the fact that they don’t even have a new Spider-Man cast yet (that we know of…). If they want to include him as a larger part of any story, just in a marginal sense, he’d have to make his premiere in Ant-Man.
Chances are good, however, that they will use him as a post-credits scene in one of the two films to set up the explosive events coming in Civil War as it is a certainty that want Spider-Man in that.

So, here’s my current theory.

Marvel is excited to play with their toys and Spider-Man is burning a hole in their pockets, so they rush to throw him in to a post-credits scene at the end of Age of Ultron where they use him to set up this new environment with the world screaming for greater regulations on these runaway heroes who are destroying the world in the wake of their battles. Much like in the Civil War comics, Spider-Man will be thrown right into the middle, either caught by Iron Man as he comes on to the scene or met by Captain America who brings him under his protective shield, setting everything up for the Civil War.

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By introducing him as soon as possible, that gives Marvel some space to add him to Ant-Man if they want or need to in order to tell the best possible story.

From there, Civil War breaks out and it’s Stark’s team versus Cap’s team. Chances are good that they will use Peter Parker’s youth and relative newness to the scene to make him fearful to do the “right thing,” meaning the lawful thing, and he will join forces with Iron Man initially, since that is the “law.” However, since he’s so much younger than everyone else, he’s still a bit more of a blank slate, so over the course of the film, much like in the comics, Spider-Man will learn the difference between the “lawful” thing and the “right” thing: always an interesting theme to explore.

He starts with Iron Man and ends up with Captain America, who will then be assassinated at the end of the film, leaving a bit of a leadership void for his particular team. There will be an even larger voice left in Thor:Ragnarok which, if the rumors are true, will most likely see Thor taken out of the action, at least for the time being.
Spider-Man will spend his next solo film learning how to lead. Marvel and Sony are currently working out a deal to include other MCU characters in Spider-Man’s solo film and that is, most likely, to keep up this environment of the world hating these superheroes, not trusting them, putting the heroes on the run while still trying to do the right thing. This film will act as a crucible for Spider-Man, teaching him how to be the leader the world will need him to be when mother-effing Thanos comes to Earth to claim whatever Infinity Stones are here.

Again, this is all theory based on what I’ve read in the news, the rumors I’ve heard, the comics I’ve read and what I know of the original source material. Take it ALL with a grain of salt.

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