Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who introduced Spider-Man (Tom Holland) into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, admit they are “not so devastated or surprised” to learn of the falling out between Sony and Marvel Studios parent company Disney threatening Spider-Man’s future in the shared MCU.
“We were extremely passionate about it. This is something we really wanted to happen, and fought a long time internally at Marvel to make it happen,” Anthony Russo told The Daily Beast of the original Spider-Man deal. Added Joe Russo, “It wasn’t easy. [Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige] went through a lot.”
“There were a lot of ups and downs, and he kept walking into our office and we’d go, ‘Look, we’ve got to do it with [Sony],’ and he’d go, ‘OK, I’ll figure it out,’ and walk back into his. He was looking for the way out,” Joe continued. “He wanted to open that door and have us go, ‘We figured it out! We don’t need Spider-Man!’ because it’s a lot of work to get two major corporations to play nice with each other, and the fact that it happened at all, we should all be dancing and celebrating that we got that little bit of time.”
“I think that’s why Joe and I are not so devastated or surprised that there’s been a falling-out,” added Anthony, “because it was so hard to make it happen in the first place.”
Because the filmmakers were unsure Marvel Studios would be able to include Sony-controlled Spider-Man in Civil War, early drafts of the script saw Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) as the rookie superhero recruited to Team Iron Man by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr).
“Kevin came into the room and we were way down the road — drafts, I think — and he said, ‘You might have to change one thing.’ And then he went [makes Spider-Man ‘thwip’ hand] like that,” Civil War and Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus said during a 2018 appearance on Fatman on Batman. “And we went, ‘f—k you!’ [Laughs].”
“That’s one where we had a lot of contingency plans on that, right, because you gotta get Downey, and Black Panther, are we gonna do that now? Is that a good time, what do we have for him? All that,” added co-writer Stephen McFeely. “So we had a lot of early options of where the pieces could go.”
“Well, we had a section where you could recruit somebody, right?” McFeely said. Added Markus, “[Tony] actually went to San Francisco,” and the recruitment scene “would not have been as cool.”
“I believe [Scott] was watching his daughter play soccer,” McFeely said. “It wasn’t very good.”
Feige has since said the five-movie pact between Disney and Sony was “never meant to last forever.”
“I’m feeling about Spider-Man gratitude and joy. We got to make five films within the MCU with Spider-Man: two standalone films and three with the Avengers. It was a dream that I never thought would happen,” Feige told EW when breaking his silence on the split. “It was never meant to last forever. We knew there was a finite amount of time that we’d be able to do this, and we told the story we wanted to tell, and I’ll always be thankful for that.”