The debate between whether Tom Holland's Spider-Man will leave the MCU for good continues to rage on. It's totally understandable as for many (including myself) this is the best interpretation of Spider-Man on screen to date, blending the best parts of the comicbook and '90s animated series into one.
After negotiations initially broke down between Sony and Marvel in August 2019, the pair reconciled a month later, coming to an agreement that would see another Spider-Man solo film (No Way Home), as well as another appearance in Marvel Studios movie (yet to be announced).
As No Way Home will tackle the multiverse, there's plenty of reasons to suggest the character will exit the MCU in some form, while there's equally as much to say he will still play a part going forward. What we've done is put these clues together for your viewing pleasure. Let's begin.
Warning: spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU lie ahead.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage mid-credits scene
After Tom Hardy's Venom defeats Woody Harrelson's Carnage (last spoiler warning) in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the mid-credits scene sees the character go on vacation before being transported to what seems to be the MCU. Here, J. Jonah Jameson appears on a TV screen only to reveal the identity of Spider-Man as Peter Parker, mirroring the same clip shown at the end of Far From Home.
There's a lot to unpack here but it does seem Venom is now in the same universe as Tom Holland's Spider-Man. Whether Spidey and Venom will both remain here is yet to be seen. It's possible they could both (technically) reside within the MCU but only ever interact with Sony-owned characters i.e. no Avengers. Tom Hardy has also shared several posts (via Instagram) about an encounter between Venom and Spider-Man before quickly deleting them, adding more fuel to the fire.
Tom Holland's comments
Moving onto Holland's comments when speaking to EW, the actor confirmed that No Way Home is the end of the Homecoming trilogy. He also noted that if he returned to the role it would be a different type of film.
"We were all treating [No Way Home] as the end of a franchise, let's say. I think if we were lucky enough to dive into these characters again, you'd be seeing a very different version It would no longer be the Homecoming trilogy," the quote reads.
"We would give it some time and try to build something different and tonally change the films. Whether that happens or not, I don't know. But we were definitely treating [No Way Home] like it was coming to an end, and it felt like it.”
Holland also confirmed that No Way Home is his last contracted film between Sony and Disney, however, confirmed in an Instagram post that he would do another movie "in a heartbeat" if offered one.
The next clue I would like to bring forth is to do with the Morbius trailer (yes that film is still happening). Starring Jared Leto as Morbius, the Living Vampire, the most interesting thing about the trailer is the last shot that confirms the appearance of Michael Keaton's Vulture, who originally debuted in Spider-Man: Homecoming within the MCU.
This SSU film has a poster in the backdrop of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man, suggesting it's within that universe. Somehow Vulture has been dragged across into this universe – potentially how Venom was dragged across in the mid-credits scene of Let There Be Carnage.
To counterpoint this, Keaton is wearing the same prison clothes as seen at the end of Homecoming, so it does look like he was just breaking out. Let's say the Sam Raimi Spider-Man poster was a red herring; Vulture could have just escaped prison and is now helping Morbius put together a team in the MCU, such as the Sinister Six. This would make a very enticing post-credits scene and make more sense within the MCU.
Director Jon Watts helmed both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: No Way Home and has once again taken charge for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Following this, Watts has signed on to bring the Fantastic Four to the MCU – not another Spidey flick. This could be because Watts wants to stay within the MCU (because why wouldn't you) instead of moving into Sony's Spider-Man Universe.
If a fourth Spider-Man film was due to take place in the MCU, why would Watts not want to be a part of this again? Holland even was quoted (via EW) as saying the pair had "much more fun" on the making of No Way Home than the previous two films.
On the flip side of this, the only other reason I can think of is that Spider-Man will appear in the Fantastic Four movie, fulfilling the agreement held by Marvel and Sony. The characters do have a close relationship in the comics - specifically with the Human Torch - so this could happen before Spider-Man goes back into his own sandbox once more.
Kraven the Hunter
It's well known that Sony has been trying to establish its own universe without having to rely on the MCU and Kevin Feige. We've already had Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and are due to get Morbius next year. After this, Sony is making a Kraven the Hunter flick starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson – yes, the very same Aaron Taylor-Johnson who portrayed Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Without any more projects in the works with Marvel Studios outside of what we've already discussed, Sony is clearing banking on its own universe. On top of this, the reality is that the multiverse premise in No Way Home seems as clean as break as you can get for Spider-Man and Tom Holland to exit the MCU without messing up major plot points.
Do we think this will be forever? No. Contracts and negotiations will undoubtedly be underway and the MCU makes far too much money for Sony to leave altogether but will Marvel still want to play ball? One thing is for sure: the future of Spider-Man will never be the same again.
In the meantime, enjoy the latest trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home: