Exciting news, True Believers! Feb. 9 was a momentous occasion for comic book fans the world over, as Sony and Marvel Studios announced they would be bringing Spider-Man to the masses in a joint effort that will see the wall-crawler appearing in a Marvel Studios film—likely Captain America: Civil War—before headlining his own film in 2017. For those who were lukewarm towards Sony’s recent efforts in bringing Spidey to the big screen, the opportunity to see the Marvel Studios juggernaut lend a hand is just one more reason to be excited for the wealth of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) goodness coming our way in the next few years.
However, while Spidey’s addition to the MCU is certainly a cause for celebration, it came with the not-so-amazing news that Marvel’s other films would be pushed back to make room for the 2017 release. Specifically, Black Panther and Captain Marvel have been delayed eight months and four months, respectively. Considering that both films were already years off, with Black Panther originally slated for November 2017 and Captain Marvel arriving the following summer, the added delay certainly stings for those eager to see the first Marvel films fronted by a person of colour and a woman.
As Marvel pushes for more inclusive titles in their comics, with characters like Ms. Marvel, a black Captain America, and a -female Thor seeing critical acclaim and a swelling of support from old and new readers alike, it’s fair to say their film slate has lagged behind in that respect. Every film in the MCU has had a white guy as the lead—three of them played by guys named Chris. We’re past due for a film that has a woman or PoC taking the lead (though that’s not to discount those characters who have shown up already, as Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie are fantastic in their roles as Black Widow and Falcon). To see Marvel make room for Spider-Man at the expense of the two films already slated for release feels a bit . . . disrespectful.
Of course, I understand that this is a business first and foremost, and bringing Spider-Man into the MCU is a surefire way to print money at the box office for both Marvel and Sony. I get that they don’t want to crowd an already jam-packed year of superhero films, and would rather give Spider-Man and the others room to breathe. But it still bums me out that this spectacular addition to the MCU comes at the expense of two lesser-known characters—ones that need all the support they can get to reach the same dizzying heights of success as, say, Guardians of the Galaxy. And when you consider the fanfare that came with Marvel’s announcement of Black Panther’s addition to Captain America: Civil War last year, it’s even more worrying that there’s potential for Spider-Man to overshadow his debut in that film.
This is all conjecture, obviously. Nobody knows how Civil War will play out, and there’s still the hope that Sony and Marvel will opt to adapt the Miles Morales version of Spidey for the MCU, skipping the Peter Parker origin story and giving us something unique and refreshing from the same old song and dance. But until then, I’ll take my enthusiasm with a very large grain of salt, and continue to hope for greater inclusivity in the future. Excelsior!