Marvel and Sony announced late Monday night that the comic company’s most beloved hero will appear in an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film before his next adventure for Sony, which is scheduled to be released on July 28, 2017.
The long-anticipated news comes thanks to a new deal that will also see head Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige sign on as a producer of the Spider-Man franchise alongside Amy Pascal, the former Sony head who is now producing movies distributed by the studio.
The announcement hinted at major changes for Spider-Man, promising that Feige and Pascal, who helped launch the franchise in 2002, would "collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger."
"Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s great characters, beloved around the world," Disney CEO Bob Iger said.
"We’re thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building."
The two companies are also exploring "opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films."
Tobey Maguire starred as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in a trilogy of hit films directed by Sam Raimi that ran from 2002-07.
Sony then rebooted the series in 2012 with Andrew Garfield playing the wall-crawler under the command of director Marc Webb; that saga has been less successful — 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 made a franchise-low $708 million worldwide — and according to reports, Garfield is not expected to return for the next films.
The early money is that Spider-Man will make his MCU debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, which will be based on a comics storyline in which the character was heavily involved.
In October, Feige warned fans not to get too excited over Spidey’s potential involvement, saying that "Civil War of the cinematic universe will differ from the comic universe. We have a different continuity going."
Obviously, this deal likely changes things.
Also changing: Other Marvel movie release dates. Thor: Ragnarok, the third movie about the hammer-swinging Avenger, has been moved from July 28, 2017 to Nov. 3 of that year. Black Panther will hit theaters on July 6, 2018, which moves Captain Marvel to Nov. 2, 2018, and bounces Inhumans all the way to July 12, 2019.
Adam K. Raymond writes for Yahoo Movies