5 MCU Phase 4 Team-Ups That Won't Happen Now That Spider-Man Is Gone

Spidey has teamed up with more than just the Avengers. Here are five team-ups unlikely to happen now that Marvel and Sony have called it quits.

It was a breakup worse than Peter Parker and Mary Jane. This week, 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.

What a shame, because Marvel is set to introduce a ton of new characters that Spider-Man could have met to recreate some of the most amazing moments from the comics. But as it stands, Spider-Man is unlikely to stand beside the (new) Avengers as the MCU ramps up for Phase Four, which begins with Black Widow in 2020.

For those who missed the news and lack context: On Tuesday, Sony and Marvel officially broke off a 2015 agreement that allowed Spider-Man, whose film rights belong to Sony, to appear in Marvel’s “MCU” series.

But after the billion-dollar gross of Spider-Man: Far From Home, it was time for Marvel and Sony to come to new terms. This time, Marvel basically wanted more of the spider pie, which Sony refused; the company has found success on its own with a Venom franchise (the 2018 film grossed over $850 million) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an animated hit that stole the Oscar for Best Animated Feature away from Disney, which had two movies in the category.

Sony is now confident it can make successful Spider-Man movies on its own and is set to make at least two more with Tom Holland still starring and Jon Watts still directing.

When neither Sony, led by Tom Rothman, and Marvel, led by Kevin Feige, could find an agreement that both studios found agreeable, they split. So as it stands, there is no more Spider-Man in the MCU.

Looking at Phase Four, Phase Five, and everything that Kevin Feige teased at Comic-Con in July, here are all the amazing Spider-Man crossovers that were once possible, and now surely aren’t happening on the big screen.

Spider-Man Wolverine Marvel
From 'Spider-Man Versus Wolverine' #1.

5. Wolverine

At Comic-Con, Feige teased “mutants” are in store 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 easily Wolverine, the savage Canadian hunter with adamantium steel for bone.

As two of the most popular characters synonymous with Marvel, of course Wolverine and Spider-Man have crossed paths in hundreds of issues spanning Marvel’s history. Pick up any major crossover and chances are you’ll see the two of them in a bunch of panels. And their history goes back to even before Peter Parker was born, with Wolverine having met Peter’s parents when they were secret agents (Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1 published in 1995).

But the most interesting meeting between Spider-Man and Wolverine happened in the still-incredible 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 personal 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 (most 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.

Shang-Chi Marvel Spider-Man
Shang-Chi teaches Spider-Man kung fu, in the 2011 Free Comic Day issue of 'The Amazing Spider-Man.'

4. 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 is probably disappointed he won’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 restless pursuit of his father/nemesis, Fu Manchu.

Decades later, in 2011, Spider-Man lost his crucial Spider-Senses, which led him to consult with Shang-Chi. The Master of Kung Fu took in Spider-Man as his kung fu student, who taught him how to compensate for his lack of powers.

Imagine how cool this moment would have been in a movie with Simu Liu and Tom Holland. Thankfully, the comic still exists.

Spider-Man Bombastic Bag Man Fantastic Four
When Spidey needs a costume to swing home, Johnny makes him the "Bombastic Bag-Man," in 'The Amazing Spider-Man' #258.

3. The Fantastic Four

Like with the X-Men, Feige also 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 literally hundreds of moments to choose from and recount, let’s just focus on what is perhaps the best moment: 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 to return home to Queens. Johnny, trying to be “helpful,” lends Peter a spare Fantastic Four suit a paper bag with eye holes cut out, and a “Kick Me!” sign taped to his back which leads to ridicule when Peter tries to stop some bad guys on his way home. This costume was later included as free DLC in Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4.

I’ve got mixed feelings about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but imagine this moment recreated for the MCU. Holland would have killed selling Peter’s embarrassment.

Spider-Man Blade
Blade sternly tells Spider-Man he won't go by "Batman" in 'Spider-Man vs. Vampires,' a one-shot comic released in 2010.

2. Blade

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali will play Blade in a future movie reboot. Ali’s intensity as an actor, set against Holland’s jittery energy, would have been incredible had the films recreated Blade and Spider-Man’s few encounters.

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.

Several 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, this time in the one-shot Spider-Man vs. Vampires. The comic is about… Spider-Man fighting vampires. But the comic is remembered for Spidey making a pretty fun joke about Blade not being named “Batman.”

Deadpool Spider-Man
From 'Spider-Man/Deadpool' #1, a team-up series that kicks off right with Spidey and Deadpool caught in a pickle in Asgard's netherworld. That's just how the story begins.

1. Deadpool

As part of the mutants at Fox, Deadpool is on his way to the MCU as Feige and co. figure out how to include a foul-mouthed killer in this sprawling 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 in equal measure, doing everything from fighting bad guys to roasting DC movies and playing Overwatch.

Tom Holland is still young enough to believe that his Peter Parker totally plays Overwatch. Now imagine him getting into a fight over Hanzo with none other than Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.

Media via Marvel Entertainment, Sony Pictures