Three Years After No Way Home, Where Are The Tobey And Andrew Spider-Man Sequels?

Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man in No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home has been one of the most exciting theatrical experiences for fans of the MCU in a long time, owing largely to the inclusion of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield each reprising the role of Spider-Man from their respective film series – making the inevitable question of sequels all the more pertinent. After years of waiting, many rumors have circulated about how Maguire and Garfield could return to the big screen, varying from MCU Spider-Man 4 roles to their own film follow-ups building on their previous Spider-Man storylines.

With such massive box-office potential for additional stories in the sagas of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man or Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man, it is puzzling that sequels to neither of these series have entered production. At a minimum, with the building of Sony’s universe, audiences expected to see one of these two performers appear as Peter Parker in Venom or Madame Web. Despite suggestions, nods, and rumors, nothing has happened, and nothing appears to be happening. There are several reasons why this might be the case, hinting that a change to this strategy may happen sooner rather than later.

The Sony Universe Has Wanted To Stand On Its Own

Venom And Morbius Were Supposed To Launch A Universe To Rival The MCU

Promotional image of Venom with his tongue out in Sony's Venom

Following the success of Venom in 2018, Sony moved forward with building a shared universe of the Spider-Man characters to which they owned the rights. This was not the first attempt at building a shared universe around the properties they owned: a canceled Sinister Six spinoff movie was originally planned to follow The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery is among the most iconic in all comic books, and is perhaps the only assortment of villains that could justify their own cinematic universe.

There has been some talk of including Spider-Man in these features, with a strange appearance of the Tobey Maguire suit on a poster in the Morbius trailer, and rumors of unrealized plans to include Andrew Garfield in Madame Web. All this meant that it seemed for a while that one of these Spider-Men was planned to be integrated into Sony’s universe. Unfortunately, following Venom, the returns have been mixed, and plans have changed. Morbius and Madame Web have become some of the most derided major motion pictures in recent years, which has led to the studio seemingly reconsidering their plans.

The MCU Contract Dictates How Sony Can Use Spider-Man

Unknown Conditions From Feige And The Marvel Team May Limit Sony

Spider-Man, Iron Man, Drax the Destroyer, Star-Lord and Mantis on Titan in Avengers Infinity War

When Spider-Man was first announced to be appearing in the MCU, fans around the world rejoiced. Two separate studios collaborating like this with their properties was so unlikely that most would never have believed such an event could occur. When it did – and was done so successfully – this helped to revitalize the Spider-Man brand, resulting in two separate billion-dollar movies. While some details about how the property is shared between Sony and Disney have been communicated, most of the contract details are unclear. This has likely impacted Sony’s ability to move forward with other Spider-Man projects.

Sony handles live-action Spider-Man films, while Disney can use the character in a supporting capacity. This is restricted to live-action, feature-length storytelling, which has allowed the Spider-Verse films to be made by Sony and the animated series to be made by Disney. Given the size of the MCU’s media empire compared to Sony, it is likely that concessions had to be made by the studio to achieve this deal. The fact that no other live-action Spider-Man films have been made is thus potentially the result of a contract restriction prohibiting Sony from using the name Spider-Man in their non-MCU titles.

How Many Spider-Men Is Too Many Spider-Men?

The Market Of Marvel Heroes Can Become Oversaturated

Spider-Man No Way Home Pointing set photo with Andrew Garfield Tobey Maguire Tom Holland

The box office failure of The Flash has indicated that the return of legacy characters and their performers is not always sufficient to secure box office returns. While Michael Keaton’s return to the role of Batman was an exciting prospect – and the movie was later revealed to have three iterations of the Dark Knight, given Ben Affleck’s appearance and George Clooney’s surprise ending cameo – this was not enough to save the film, and indeed underlined that including various iterations of even popular heroes could risk overdilution.

On the other hand, the Spider-Verse films seem to present a different narrative. Each film introduces an increasing number of Spider-Men, yet none feel excessive or out of place. These films achieved enormous box-office and critical success and helped audiences embrace and understand multiversal iterations of popular characters. With this successful groundwork laid, the anticipation for No Way Home was even higher. However, with Spider-Man NoirBeyond the Spider-VerseFriendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and Tom Holland’s sequel all in various stages of production, there is a need to tread carefully to avoid oversaturating the brand.

Development On Alternative Spider-Man Sequels Is Happening Behind Closed Doors

Tom Holland’s MCU Spider-Man 4 Is Likely Not All That Sony Is Working On

Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker looking scared in Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Sony has been a successful player in cinema for decades because they are savvy about how they use their properties. While the recent failures of Madame Web and Morbius have caused doubts about their ability to execute their plans successfully, it must be remembered that this is the same studio that created the beloved, critically acclaimed Spider-Verse films and No Way Home. Sony as a studio is not foolish; if anything, they have learned that getting ahead of themselves with their larger universe plans has been detrimental, suggesting any prospective plans will be held from audiences until the time is right.

Spider-Man movie director Sam Raimi suggested as much in an interview with The Wrap, wherein he stated that he’d been working on some potential story aspects of a Tobey Maguire Spider-Man 4 in case he was contacted about the sequel, meaning work is technically already being done on one of these projects. With one of the directors who would most likely be tapped for a sequel seemingly believing Sony may be looking at Maguire or Garfield sequels following Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s hard to not also consider the very real possibility that talks are very much in motion.

Just as the surprise appearances of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire in No Way Home were never announced, this could be similar to Sony’s current strategy. Considering the underperformance of The Flash and Blue Beetle at the box office after the announcement of a new DCU, it’s likely that Sony realizes the importance of strategic silence and is now focusing on publicizing only their current projects, Venom: The Last Dance and Kraven the Hunter. It’s undeniable that the studio has plans for their Spider-Man characters, possibly involving Tobey and Andrew, but announcing these prematurely could harm their box office success.

A return by either Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, if not both, is inevitable. There has been too much talk and desire from most concerned parties, including Sam Raimi and Kirsten Dunst, for such lucrative fan service never to be used.

While Spider-Man: No Way Home worked as a good way to resolve the hanging threads of each character’s story, there are more tales to be told in each of these worlds, including returning Spider-Man villain stories. Given the trajectory of Marvel’s movie and show franchise sets up both Maguire and Garfield’s sequels so smoothly, not returning to either in some fashion would be a strange choice for the studio. Following the end of their successful Venom trilogy, it would be surprising not to hear developments of some follow-up sooner rather than later.

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