To say that Marvel's team-up with Sony for the MCU Spider-Man films has been successful would be an understatement. The Tom Holland-starring films have been wildly popular with audiences and the most recent, Spider-Man: No Way Home, is crushing it at the box office and is well on its way to crossing a half a billion dollars at the domestic box office — and has already crossed that billion mark globally. The partnership isn't over, either, with Spider-Man 4 confirmed to be in active development, but while the Spider-Man franchise is a hit now, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige recalls that there was a lot of pressure to get things right back when he first joined forces with Sony's Amy Pascal for a Spider-Man movie.
"When I met with Amy Pascal and first approached her about joining forces to do a Spider-Man movie together and set him in the MCU and when we got her blessing and the blessing of Sony and Tom Rothman came on board and believed in it, there was a lot of pressure, right? It's one thing getting people to say yes, it's another thing now delivering on what the heck you were talking about," Feige said in an interview released by Sony Pictures for Spider-Man: No Way Home. "And the first step on that is casting, and is saying 'okay let's find the youngest, Peter Parker who we can grow with and who can do scenes with these other Marvel heroes for the first time.'"
He continued, "We knew that Tony Stark was going to be a big part of that, and Civil War was already shooting at the time, and we weren't sure we were going to be able to cast Peter Parker and include him in the initial round of photography on Civil War, but we wanted to make every effort to do that."
The popularity of Spider-Man: Homecoming and both Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home after that are clear proof that while there was pressure, Marvel and Sony got things right with this approach to the beloved character and Feige is right in that audiences have grown with Holland's Peter Parker as the character has as well across not just the Spider-Man films, but his appearances in the larger MCU as well. That character growth is perhaps most apparent in Far From Home.
"We knew coming out of Far From Home that we didn't want to shy away from the fact that his identity is now revealed, it's out there, and that was certainly always the starting point, and with Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna and our director Jon Watts and Amy Pascal we sat and just started brainstorming, what happens next?" Feige said. "What happens to him as he starts to- as he swings away from Madison Square Garden where that big TV screen outed his identity? And how does his life change and get turned upside down? And more importantly how does it affect his friends?"
Feige continued, "Peter Parker can handle a lot, but when he starts to see his friends being effected by his actions unfairly that really is emotionally draining for him. So that was always early on where it was, and we had a lot of fun discussions, it's always, having a discussion of 'You know what would be cool? It would be cool if we did this, it would be cool if we did that.' As I said I'd always been saying if we ever brought Ock back you'd have to bring Alfred Molina in, and how would you do that? We thought it might be fun someday."
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters now.