Marvel Phase Four: 5 Spider-Man crossovers that might happen now
It was a breakup worse than Peter Parker and Mary Jane. This summer, Marvel fans were devastated to learn that Sony Pictures and Disney/Marvel Studios failed to reach new terms over the film rights to Spider-Man, resulting in what looks like an exit for Spidey from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Eventually, the studios made up and agreed to collaborate on new Spider-Man movies. Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige will produce the next Spider-Man film, which is slated for release on July 16, 2021. In return, Spider-Man will star in one more Marvel Studios production, such as a possible Avengers 5.
“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” Feige told Variety. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”
So, Spider-Man only has one appearance left in the MCU. But based on what we know about Phase Four, we can try to guess what Spider-Man crossovers seen in the comics are now possible. Here’s what could happen in Phase Four (or even Phase Five) of the MCU with Spider-Man.
5. Spider-Man vs. Wolverine
At Comic-Con, Feige teased “mutants” for the MCU, though he remained mum on the specifics. But ask any Marvel fan, and they’ll tell you the most famous mutant is Wolverine, the savage Canadian hunter with adamantium for bone.
As two characters synonymous with Marvel, Wolverine and Spider-Man have crossed paths in hundreds of issues. Pick up any major crossover and chances are you’ll see them together. Their history even goes back to before Peter Parker was born, when Wolverine met Peter’s parents back when they were secret agents (Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1 in 1995).
But the most interesting meeting between Spider-Man and Wolverine happened in the 1987 one-shot, Spider-Man Versus Wolverine. While the title does exactly as it promised, at its core, the comic is about how Spider-Man and Wolverine each explore loss, and how different (and similar) the two of them behave. There is no definitive winner between their fight, and as writer James C. Owsley makes clear, there isn’t meant to be.
Decades later, the two characters co-starred again in Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine, a six-issue miniseries by Jason Aaron (famous for his legendary The Mighty Thor run) that had its own strengths as an epic tale that, believe it or not, spans centuries in Earth’s time.
4. Spider-Man vs. Shang-Chi
Shang-Chi will debut in the MCU in 2021 with his first solo film starring Simu Liu. But when news broke over Marvel and Sony, Liu joined fans in expressing bewilderment on social media, simply tweeting: “Wut.”
Liu was probably disappointed because he thought he wouldn’t get to meet Spider-Man like Shang-Chi did in the comics. The two first crossed paths in 1974, in issue #2 of Giant-Size Spider-Man where Spider-Man got caught in Shang-Chi’s pursuit of his father/nemesis, Fu Manchu.
Decades later, in 2011, Spider-Man lost his Spider-Senses, which led him to consult Shang-Chi. The Master of Kung Fu took in Spider-Man as his student, who taught him how to compensate for his lack of powers. Imagine how cool this could be in a movie with Simu Liu and Tom Holland. If that doesn’t happen, thankfully the comic exists.
3. Spider-Man vs. the Fantastic Four
Like with the X-Men, Feige alluded to the Fantastic Four joining the MCU in the future. And their history with Spider-Man is as rich and varied as characters like Batman with Superman. Their first encounter, in the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, inspired the first issue of What If…? where Spidey joins the Fantastic Four (creating “The Fantastic Five”). What If…? is currently set to air as an animated series on Disney+.
With hundreds of moments to choose from, let’s focus on what is perhaps the best: The time Johnny Storm pranked Spidey with a makeshift costume. In The Amazing Spider-Man #258, which takes place after the events of Secret Wars where Spider-Man came in contact with the alien symbiote, Reed Richards helps Peter split himself of the parasite.
This left Peter without a costume for his swing home to Queens. Johnny, being “helpful,” lends Peter a spare Fantastic Four suit and a paper bag with eye holes — and a “Kick Me!” sign taped to his back. This outfit leads to ridicule when Peter tries to stop some bad guys on his way home. This costume was included as free DLC in Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4.
2. Spider-Man vs. Blade
Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali will play Blade in the MCU. His intensity as an actor, paired with Holland’s jittery energy, could make for an incredible movie moment.
Like Shang-Chi, Spider-Man met Blade in a 1997 relaunch of Marvel Team-Up. In issue #7, Blade and Spider-Man fight Henry Sage, a vampire who injects himself with a special formula that allows him to withstand the sun. Years later, in the 2006 Blade series, the very first issue begins with Blade hunting a vampiric Spider-Man, who was turned when he tried to save an elementary school invaded by Dracula.
The two met again a little later, this time in the one-shot Spider-Man vs. Vampires. The comic is about… well, Spider-Man fighting vampires. But the comic is remembered for Spidey making a pretty fun joke about Blade not being named “Batman.”
1. Spider-Man vs. Deadpool
Deadpool is on his way to the MCU as Feige et al. figure out how to include a foul-mouthed killer in a family-friendly PG-13 franchise. For now, it’s fun to think just how much Deadpool could clean up his act to appear alongside Spider-Man, just as he’s done literally 50 times.
In 2016, Marvel released Spider-Man/Deadpool, an action-comedy comic book series that featured multiple writers but started with Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness. Throughout all 50 issues, Spidey and Deadpool butt heads and chill out, doing everything from roasting DC movies to playing Overwatch.
Tom Holland is still young enough to make you believe that his Peter Parker plays Overwatch. Now imagine him getting into a fight over maining Hanzo with none other than Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.
The third, untitled Spider-Man movie will be released on July 16, 2021.