For a while over the summer, it looked like Sony -- who owns film rights to Spider-Man -- was going to pull the character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For Marvel fans it was a dark time, the summer of 2019, for that was when the dispute between Marvel and Sony reached such a critical mass that Sony declared their intentions to pull Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But, before long, good news arrived and much of the credit for the reunion of the two companies was placed at the feet of Tom Holland, who'd brought Spider-Man to life across several films in the massively successful MCU. His was the most financially lucrative Spider-Man franchise yet, so it's easy to see why there was contention between the studios.
Sony bought the film rights to Spider-Man years ago, which is why we got movies with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. But with the MCU taking off and Marvel Studios consolidating all of their rights, they weren't able to reclaim Spider-Man, and so they brokered a deal that worked for both sides ... until it didn't.
And while it may go down in history as a small blip in the juggernaut Marvel film franchise, there were a scary few months there and were it not for the hard work of executives on both sides, and apparently the actor beloved around the world as the amazing wall-crawler, there might have been a very ugly divorce between Spidey and his Marvel friends.
In fact, that's kind of the way Holland described it, as they were in the midst of it during the big D-23 event over the summer. "I was honestly devastated, I was really upset," he told Jimmy Kimmel. "All my Marvel friends were there, and they were taking Marvel pictures and I was not allowed to be in them. It was awful."
Talk about an awkward encounter, and one that was so devastating for the young actor, Disney CEO Bob Iger recalled Holland in tears when they spoke. But it was the very fact that they spoke that seems to have been a catalyst in bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table.
And it all started innocently enough, with Holland asking at D-23 if he could get Iger's email address. "I just wanted to say this has been an amazing five years of my life, thank you for changing my life in the best way and I hope we can work together in the future," Holland said.
That email got a quick response from Iger, who said he wanted to chat with Holland a bit. Obviously, however the Spider-Man deal broke down, Holland was still contractually obligated to make more films, so this was basically the future of his career literally on the line.
Hilariously, though, he said that when Iger finally found the time to call, Holland was at a pub quiz with his family. " I'm like three pints in, right, I haven't eaten much, and I get a phone call from an unknown number," he recalled. "I'm like, 'This is Bob Iger, but I'm drunk.'"
Apparently, at his dad's urging, he took the call and though he didn't readily admit to it, he got pretty emotional and "weeped." He finally said, " I was really emotional 'cause I felt like it was all coming to an end." Thankfully that proved not to be the case.
And while Holland then downplayed his role in the negotiations that led to Spider-Man staying in the MCU, but his passion and respect surely played a huge role in Iger wanting to keep him as part of the MCU, even if he is the absolute worst at keeping its secrets.
"It would have been a shame to take him out of the MCU, you know?" Holland said. "This is where he belongs and we've built such a strong character in that world and it would have been a shame to lose that, but I'm just really glad that we managed to work it out."