Tom Holland, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and some of the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe opened up at Disney’s D23 expo about the Spider-Man split between Sony and Marvel Studios.
Holland – who played Peter Parker in five MCU films despite Sony owning the classic superhero – didn’t address the situation outright while promoting his animated film Onward at D23, but he did tell the audience, “It’s been a crazy week, but I want you to know I am grateful from the bottom of my heart and I love you 3,000.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Holland elaborated on the situation, “Basically, we’ve made five great movies. It’s been five amazing years. I’ve had the time of my life. Who knows what the future holds? But all I know is that I’m going to continue playing Spider-Man and having the time of my life. It’s going to be so fun, however we choose to do it. The future for Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we’ll find new ways to make it even cooler.”
Under a unique partnership between two rival studios, Sony – following a pair of disappointing Amazing Spider-Man films – loaned out the character to Marvel Studios as part of a profit-sharing deal. Holland’s Spider-Man appeared in three MCU films – Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame – as well as the standalone Homecoming and Far From Home, both co-produced by the Disney-owned Marvel Studios and Sony’s Columbia Pictures.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the partnership between Sony and Marvel would end after stalled negotiations, making Spider-Man’s future in the MCU tenuous. Sony cited Feige’s increased workload – Phase 4 films and the numerous Disney+ television projects – as one of the reasons for the Spider-Man split.
Feige didn’t address the situation during Marvel’s D23 panel, but he told EW, “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. 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.”
At D23, Rolling Stone Senior Writer Jamil Smith spoke to several of Holland’s Avengers co-stars about Spider-Man’s departure from the MCU.
“It’s really upsetting,” Scarlet Witch portrayer Elizabeth Olsen said. “He’s such an addition, he’s such a light and an energy and a humor. He added so much to the franchise, it’s really disappointing.”
Paul Bettany, who plays Vision in the MCU, told Smith that, more than the Spider-Man character, he would miss Holland’s presence at events like D23 and Comic-Con. “Having him around on the set and at these events, he’s such a shining light and always happy,” Bettany said. “I’m really gonna miss him. He’s so gifted.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stars Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie echoed their fellow Avengers stars. “We haven’t given up hope yet,” Stan said of a possible Sony/Marvel reunion. “We’re saying, ‘Let’s hopefully have them work it out.’ Because it would be weird to not have him. You have to trust Kevin Feige.”
Mackie added, “And there’s no one else to make fun of… My boots would have no heel if we don’t have him.”
Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell likened the situation to MCU fans’ emotional attachment to the superheroes on-screen. “It’s not always just the happy ending; there’s got to be the bittersweet reality of people don’t always end up where you want them to be or they’re not always going to be around,” Atwell sold Smith. “That’s an important life lesson to know, it’s something every human being faces at some point.”