Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra on Thursday said "for the moment the door is closed" on Spider-Man's participation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe overseen by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, who Vinciquerra said is "stretched incredibly thin" following Disney's acquisition of the Fantastic Four and X-Men properties previously controlled by Fox. According to a report from Variety, Vinciquerra said Feige's new responsibilities in handling those IPs is in part to blame for a breakdown in talks between Sony and Disney, keeping in line with Sony's earlier stance these new additions will not "allow time" for Feige to collaborate on a property not owned by Disney.
"We had a great run with [Feige] on Spider-Man movies," Vinciquerra said at Variety's Entertainment & Technology summit. "We tried to see if there's a way to work it out ... the Marvel people are terrific people, we have great respect for them, but on the other hand we have some pretty terrific people of our own. Kevin didn't do all the work."
Beyond the Jared Leto-led Morbius, out in July, and the now in the works Venom 2 teaming star Tom Hardy with director Andy Serkis, Vinciquerra commented on plans for "five or six" Spidey-centric television shows in addition to the studio's multiple movie spinoffs now in various stages of development.
"Spider-Man was fine before the event movies, did better with the event movies, and now that we have our own universe, he will play off the other characters as well," Vinciquerra said. "I think we're pretty capable of doing what we have to do here."
Though Sony said it was "grateful" for Feige's "help and guidance" on Spider-Man: Homecoming and sequel Far From Home — which over the summer became both the first Spider-Man movie to cross a billion at the box office and Sony's highest-ever grossing movie — a recent report from THR claimed Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman believes Sony no longer needs Feige's help following hits Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
"Much of today's news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige's involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film," Sony Pictures said in an Aug. 21 statement when breaking their silence on the Sony-Disney divorce. "We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him — including all their newly added Marvel properties — do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own."
The statement continued: "Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue."
In 2016 — after Sony and Disney collaborated to introduce a rebooted Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War following the underperformance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — Rothman told THR Sony has "the ultimate authority" over the character, but admitted the studio conceded the "creative lead" to Marvel because "they know what they're doing."
More recently, Civil War and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo detailed Feige's efforts to convince Sony and Disney to agree to that initial five-movie pact allowing Spider-Man to, for the first time, operate as part of a wider universe alongside other superheroes such as Captain America (Chris Evans) and mentor Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr).
Though Feige has since said Marvel "told the story we wanted to tell" when lamenting the loss of Spider-Man from the MCU, Feige declared his plans for a Peter-focused Spider-Man 3 months before it was learned talks between the two studios reached an impasse.
This all came after Feige noted both sides knew such an unprecedented deal was "the best thing for Spider-Man."
"This was a very unique scenario, in large part thanks to [producer] Amy Pascal, and then Tom Rothman, the people at Sony, the people at Disney, who knew and really believed this was the best thing for Spider-Man," Feige said in 2017 when promoting Homecoming, the first Spidey solo produced by Marvel.
"And egos and lawyers and all that other corporate stuff that you would think would hinder it, it was all very smooth. Sort of shockingly so," Feige continued. "People find that interesting, and maybe unprecedented, but it all really came down — from my point of view — to a creative vision for what to do with this character."
Holland will stay on in his role and has since said the movies are "only going to get bigger and better" with new character crossovers.