X-Men: Dark Phoenix Bombing May Have Been to Blame for Spider-Man Split Between Disney and Sony

The Marvel fandom is still reeling from the news that Disney and Sony have had a falling out about the usage of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The situation is still in flux right now, but examinations of how things got to this breaking point have turned up something interesting: the failure of the X-Men film Dark Phoenix might have had a hand in breaking Spider-Man's MCU run.

Variety has a whole breakdown of the "Spider-Man Split," and here's why some industry analysts are now pointing the finger at Dark Phoenix:

"One insider said that Disney was partly motivated to walk away from the negotiations because it wants Feige’s full attention on the newly-acquired Fox properties. After “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” bombed, one person familiar with Walt Disney Studios said co-chairman Alan Bergman insisted talks with Sony end. Another insider disputed “Dark Phoenix” as a motivator, but said Bergman led the charge on the Spider-Man deal."

Now, we must take this with a large grain of salt, as there are all kinds of rumors currently swirling about what went wrong between Disney and Sony regarding Spider-Man. That said, it is an interesting notion that Disney wants Kevin Feige to focus exclusively on the Fox X-Men/Fantastic Four properties, rather than playing around with Spider-Man. It's interesting because it doesn't sound altogether outside the realm of possibility: Disney now fully-owns the Fox Marvel properties; compared to the volatile haggling over Spider-Man, putting Feige's attention on X-Men and Fantastic Four seems like the much better investment of time and manpower. The Spider-Man franchise got the necessary shot of life it needed after the Amazing Spider-Man franchis folded, thanks in large part to Feige's oversight - which is exactly why a lot of fans believe that this Spider-Man situation will works itself out down the line.

Right now the D23 Expo is taking place, and the situation is somewhat awkward as Spider-Man's image is still all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe displays at the event. Other reports reveal that Feige's plan for Spider-Man 3 would've involved a story that Sony could still conceivably pull off, with some careful dancing around specific MCU mentions.

Here's what Feige said in a July interview, when asked how the Spider-Man franchise would move on from Far From Home’s mid-credits twist of Spider-Man's identity being revealed to the world:

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"It’ll be fun to see Spidey back in his element, out of the shadow of Tony, out of the shadow of the other Avengers, as his own man now, as his own hero. And yet now facing his own challenges that aren’t coming from Avengers fighting, like [Captain America: Civil War], or aliens coming, like [Avengers: Infinity War] or [Avengers: Endgame]. It’s all Peter focused and Peter based.”

Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame are now available on home video. Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021,Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.