It has been a wild week for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it may lose one of its biggest characters–Spider-Man–because of a dispute between Sony and Disney over the rights. In the middle of the madness is actor Tom Holland who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MCU films. Regardless of the final outcome though, Holland showed up to D23 on Saturday to promote his upcoming Pixar movie, Onward, which is set for release in Spring 2020.
The portion of the panel kicked off with a video. The movie takes place in a magical world filled with faeries, mermaids, elves, and more. Then, a jet flies by, and the magical world is gone, and it’s our modern day, filled with these creatures living what seems to be a normal life–there are gnomes mowing lawns!
Director Dan Scanlon, producer Kori Rae, actor Chris Pratt were in attendance, alongside Holland, who previously starred with Pratt in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. “Firstly, it’s so good to be back here at D23,” Holland said. “This is the best day of the year. Last time we were here, we were space buddies fighting on Titan. And now we’re elf buddies fighting in LA.”
At this point, nothing about Spider-Man had been mentioned. However, after the new footage was shown to the crowd–detailed below–Holland turned to the crowd and said, “It’s been a crazy week, and I want you to know I am grateful from the bottom of my heart, and I love you 3000.” He left the stage with the audience screaming.
Eight minutes of footage was then shown to everyone attending the D23 panel. The scenes shown were from early on in the film, and Tom Holland jumped down to watch it. Here’s what happens: The mother of the two elf boys, played by Julia Louis Dreyfus, tells her kids their dad left something for them. Pratt’s character says it is a wizard staff. The boys learn that magic used to exist, and their father left them a spell that would bring him back for one day only to see how they turned out when they grow up.
Pratt’s character tried to do the spell over and over again, but it never works. Both of the elf boys are bummed, especially Holland’s character who has no memories of his father. Holland’s character begins to successfully do the spell, but Pratt’s character breaks it before it’s complete. As a result, their father’s bottom half is there, just walking around. The boys have 24 hours to finish the spell and make him whole, but they need to find a “Phoenix Gem” to do so, as it powers the wizard staff. So, they head off on a quest.
In the final clip shown, the boys are off on their adventure, and the van they’re traveling in ran out of gas. They try using magic to get it back on the road, but Holland’s character accidentally shrinks his brother.
As for the future of Spider-Man in the MCU, the future is uncertain. Both fans and Sony remain optimistic about Spider-Man’s inclusion in future MCU films though. “Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise,” Sony said in a series of tweets. “We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film. We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him–including all their newly added Marvel properties–do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
Disney is also hopeful a deal will be worked out between the two companies, as Marvel Studios executive producer Jon Favreau told ET: “As a fan, [I’m] cautiously hopeful that something will come together, because I think all the fans wanna see those characters together. … Things don’t always–what you read isn’t always indicative of where things are now, so hopefully, I’ll find out more while I’m here. Holding out hope that this isn’t the final chapter of that story.”
Regardless of any potential Spider-Man involvement in the future of the MCU, Marvel Studios isn’t slowing down anytime soon. It was revealed yesterday that in addition to the MCU shows previously announced for Disney+ that Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight would each get their own original series.