Marvel fans currently are patiently waiting for the arrival of Spider-Man: No Way Home, a multiversal adventure that pulls threads from the previous Spider-Man franchises and allows villains from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb era to interact and oppose the MCU’s Peter Parker (Tom Holland). It’s an example of the massive-swing storytelling that the MCU is growing accustomed to in Phase Four, which already has messed with the fabrics of time (Loki) and reality (WandaVision). But in a delicious twist of fate, this story probably wouldn’t be playing out the way we now expect it to if Holland didn’t “save” the franchise with a late-night phone call in a British pub.
It’s the stuff of legend now, a story that likely will only grow more colorful as it’s told and retold by Spider-Man fans over the years. I know I’ll never tire of hearing it. It begins during a time of upheaval in Spider-Man’s cinematic history. Despite enjoying a temporary “marriage” that allowed the webslinger to participate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time, Sony and Disney broke off their partnership over money, and Holland was facing a future outside of the MCU. And as he explained to CinemaBlend during the recent press events for Spider-Man: No Way Home:
A few days prior, Tom Holland had put in an ask to then-Disney CEO Bob Iger, so he could simply thank him for the opportunity to play Spider-Man in the Marvel universe. Disney and Sony were breaking off their agreement to share Spider-Man between franchises, because they couldn’t agree on a fair profit-sharing model. Holland didn’t care about the financials. He wanted to keep delivering the best possible Spider-Man movies, and believed the way to do it was by partnering with Marvel.
Holland was out at a pub trivia night with his family when Bob Iger finally called him back, though. And the way he tells it, he was a few pints in, and almost didn’t answer. But his father convinced him to pick up the phone, Holland did, and he passionately spilled his guts on why Spider-Man needed to stay in the MCU. Holland told CinemaBlend:
Holland tries to downplay the significance of his impact to this Sony-Marvel deal being saved. But if he doesn’t answer that phone call, and isn’t able to sway Bob Iger to renegotiate with Tom Rothman, then the multiverse movie that we are getting this week likely doesn't happen. Holland has already said that director Jon Watts pitched him on a Kraven the Hunter storyline that could have made up the sequel. Maybe Sony would have done that on their own, and we would have met Aaron Taylor Johnson’s Russian tracker earlier than expected.
But co-star Jacob Batalon chimed in as Holland tried to deflect credit and admitted:
That’s fair to say. All of the dominoes have to fall in very specific ways for us to get to a point where Spider-Man: No Way Home is even possible, the greatest of which is three major studios in Sony, Disney, and Marvel continued to agree to play nicely and share their valuable “toy” for another movie -- and beyond. And the moment that the road took a left turn towards what sounds like an incredible movie seems to trace back to the phone call that Tom Holland took while in a pub, buzzed and bummed but ready to save Spider-Man from potential disaster.
Spider-Man: No Way Home opens in the UK on December 15, and then in the States the following day. Do you have your tickets yet?
Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.
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