The Latest Spider-Man 4 Rumors Have Me Worried About The Character’s MCU Future

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Depending on which faction of Spider-Man fans you choose to believe online, there are two definitions of “Spider-Man 4” that Hollywood is entertaining. On one side, you have the possibility of Sam Raimi returning to the Spider-Man franchise with his leading man Tobey Maguire, delivering on a sequel that fans have petitioned for for years. And on the other side, there are dedicated Tom Holland fans who want to see what’s next for the MCU hero following the identity-shattering events of Spider-Man: No Way Home (still one of the best Spider-Man movies ever made). Both seem like they have the potential to be very lucrative – and if I was Sony, I’d be exploring the possibility of making both happen, come hell or high water. But for now, I want to focus on the Holland side of the equation, the rumors that have been swirling around his Spider-Man 4, and why they have me concerned. 

Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin in Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

What are the current Spider-Man 4 rumors?

The fourth Tom Holland Spider-Man movie remains in development, and is one of the many upcoming Marvel movies that doesn’t yet have a release date. Disney executives have said that they are pumping the brakes on Marvel productions, allowing the studio to get its creative legs underneath itself, and stop pumping out movies and shows. To that end, Marvel Studios only has one movie coming to theaters in 2024, and that’s the highly-anticipated Deadpool and Wolverine.

Because of developments that have been occurring in the Disney+ shows, there has been an emphasis on Spider-Man 4 being a street-level story, possibly part of a major storyline that was hinted at during the conclusion of Echo that would follow the Kingpin of Crime (Vincent D’Onofrio) as he ran for Mayor of New York City. Wilson Fisk exploiting the political office was a long-running subplot in the Marvel comics, and between the upcoming Daredevil: Born Again and a possible Spider-Man 4, this would be a tremendous story arc to spread out over those installments. 

Marvel could easily find room for more of its street-level, Manhattan-based characters in this Spider-Man 4. It has been reported that Jon Bernthal is reprising his role of Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, and Spidey has locked horns with that vigilante many times over the years. Seeing Tom Holland share the screen with Bernthal in an MCU project would be a thrill. As would the presence of Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), or any of the Defenders, if Marvel wanted to keep some street-level heroes in the mix while they waited for the next big Avengers team up movie. 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

What does Marvel want with Spider-Man 4?

According to the rumors, Marvel Studios is negotiating with Sony to make sure that Spider-Man 4 contains some multiversal elements, so as to continue pushing the narrative of what’s currently defined as The Multiverse Saga. That is very much what Spider-Man: No Way Home did, as heroes and villains from the existing Sony universe of Spider-man films crossed over into the MCU, giving Tom Holland the chance to interact with former Peter Parkers Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. It has been the high point of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga to date (with Loki Season 2 being a close second), and other attempts to expand on the Multiverse have stumbled… especially thanks to the issues caused by Kang the Conqueror star Jonathan Majors’ legal problems.

It makes sense that Marvel would want almost every movie reaching theaters to expand on the Multiversal Saga. The end of The Marvels sent Teyonah Parris to an alternate, parallel universe where the X-Men exist. Sequels for both Doctor Strange and Ant-Man set up major plot twists for the Multiverse. Kevin Feige, the architect of the MCU, needs to build toward previously announced Avengers films – notably a Secret Wars mashup that likely would require Marvel heroes from all different generations to come together on screen and fight a Big Bad. So it could be detrimental for Spider-Man 4 to detour into a street-level storyline, when Marvel only has a certain number of film opportunities to lay the groundwork for a fifth Avengers film

Also, and this goes without saying, Marvel Studios needs heroes. Given the absence of Iron Man (who just won an Oscar) and Captain America, Marvel is missing its heaviest hitters, and needs recognizable characters to carry the baton forward. Spider-Man is the obvious choice, but not if he’s in a film that’s extending a storyline that has been relegated to the Disney+ streaming service. 

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home 2021

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

So, what’s the big problem? 

Whether Spider-Man 4 ends up being a street-level story or a Multiverse-extending story, there’s one thing for sure: it doesn’t sound like it’s very concerned with being a Spider-Man story. Marvel and Sony’s collaborations have gone to great lengths to establish Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in the MCU, giving him Tony Stark as a mentor and having Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) disrupting Spidey’s European vacation. By the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, though, Peter sacrificed everything to restore balance to the universe, and was left right where we want him… as a lonely, broke, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. 

Can Marvel and Sony just make a Spider-Man story now, and not a story that has to prop up or further larger storylines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? 

Let Peter grapple with the grief of his life without Aunt May. Maybe introduce MCU Gwen Stacy, or Harry Osborn. Focus on a Spider-Man villain that we haven’t yet seen on screen, like Homecoming and Far From Home did with The Vulture (Michael Keaton) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Spider-Man has a rich rogues gallery – too many of which are being wasted in the Sony Spider-Verse of films. Put them to good use in an MCU Spider-Man film. 

Arguably, Tom Holland hasn’t had the chance to carry his own Spider-Man movie the way that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield did. Holland has always been part of something larger, which is both a blessing and a curse. The final moments of Spider-Man: No Way Home felt the closest to a traditional Spider-Man movie then fans have gotten in years… since Holland’s Spider-Man swung onto the scene and snatched Cap’s shield in Captain America: Civil War. The stage has been set for Marvel and Sony to finally tell the mother of all Spider-man movies. And while there’s a tingle that accompanies more team ups with the likes of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), The Punisher, or more Marvel characters, I just want Spider-Man 4 to be a Spider-Man movie.  

Is that truly so much to ask?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.