The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has confirmed Spider-Man star Tom Holland played a key role in Sony Pictures and Disney-owned Marvel Studios agreeing to ink a new deal that will see Marvel’s Kevin Feige produce at least one more Sony-distributed Spider-Man film set in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. In his first appearance as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iger confirmed a report published by THR Wednesday that said Holland was instrumental in orchestrating a repair of the months-long divorce that threatened to pull Peter Parker out of the MCU after the original five-movie deal between the two studios expired with July’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.
“Miraculously. He was. We had an event called D23, and Tom was there because he’s a voice in [Pixar’s Onward]. He said something on stage, and it was clear that fans wanted Tom back as Spider-Man, made by Marvel and our Marvel production team,” Iger said. “And after D23, Tom reached out to folks who work for me and said, ‘Can I please have Bob’s e-mail address or phone number?’ Of course, I’m very protected, so they were very careful. I said ‘Sure, have him contact me,’ and he did.”
Iger continued: “We spoke. And he basically made a — he cried on the phone, no, not really. But it was clear that he cared so much. And actually, we care about him.”
Holland, who made his debut as a rebooted Spider-Man in Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War before co-starring in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame for Disney-Marvel, is “a great Spider-Man,” Iger said.
“I felt for him, and it was clear that the fans wanted this to happen. So after I got off the phone with him, I made a couple of phone calls to our team at Disney Studios, and then I decided to call the head of Sony, and I said ‘We have to figure out a way to get this done, for Tom and for the fans.’ And we did,” Iger said. “That’s how it happened... Sometimes, when companies are negotiating with each other, they kinda forget that there are other folks out there.”
Sony was targeted by fan backlash and was at the center of multiple boycotts in an attempt by fans to pressure the studio to strike a new deal with Disney, who would have been forced to forgo involvement in any and all future Spider-Man projects that would fall exclusively under the purview of Sony Pictures and its “Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters.” While Holland is expected to appear in that continuity, he’ll first reappear in the MCU — a payoff of Holland’s behind-the-scenes campaign to get both parties to play nice.
In its report, THR said Holland made repeat appeals to both Sony and Disney executives to forge a new pact allowing Spider-Man to remain in the MCU. Following his appearance at Disney’s bi-annual D23 Expo, Holland similarly urged Sony film chairman Tom Rothman to continue negotiations after talks famously broke down on both sides.
Feige will again take creative charge on Spider-Man 3, this time with Disney putting up 25% of the budget. The deal also entitles Disney, who already owns 100% of the Spider-Man merchandise rights, to 25% of net gross when this next Spider-Man swings into theaters July 16, 2021.