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Stan Lee's daughter has harsh words for Disney after they lose Spider-Man

Disney, consider yourself burned.

Joan Celia Lee, the daughter of the late, great Marvel mastermind Stan Lee, had some biting words for the House of Mouse — the parent company of Marvel Studios — after it failed to reach an agreement with Sony Pictures to keep Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Lee spoke with TMZ about the situation, and it's clear that she's not happy over what she perceives to be an unwarranted power play by Disney to score full control of the iconic charcter, for whom Sony has long held the film rights. 

"Marvel and Disney seeking total control of my father's creations must be checked and balanced by others who, while still seeking to profit, have genuine respect for Stan Lee and his legacy," she said. "Whether it's Sony or someone else's, the continued evolution of Stan's characters and his legacy deserves multiple points of view."

In case it seems like Lee may be implying that Marvel Studios did not have respect for Stan the Man's legacy, Lee went on to clarify that she wasn't actually implying that at all — she was outright stating it. "When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me," Lee explained. "From day one, they have commoditized my father's work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency… In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney's executives."

That's a brutal assessment — and more than a little bit confusing, considering that Stan Lee deigned to make cameos in every single Marvel Studios film up until the time of his death. Publicly, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has never shown anything but respect for Lee and his legacy; after the icon's death last year, Feige said in a statement, "He was very special, and I've always said, anybody who met Stan…I've never heard one story of somebody meeting Stan and not being overwhelmed with excitement. He never disappointed, and I was lucky enough to see him about 10 days before he passed away… it doesn't seem like he's gone. Because just like with Walt Disney on this lot, his influence will never go away."

Joan Celia Lee's comments come just a day after Sony Pictures issued a statement which, while magnanimously making reference to Feige's ridiculous workload as a reason for removing Spidey from his plate, painted the decision to axe the wall-crawler from the MCU as one which ultimately was made by Marvel.

"We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have [Feige] 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," a Sony spokesperson said. Inside sources, meanwhile, have insisted that the split is solely over money, with Disney having sought a bigger piece of the Spider-Pie going forward.

Whatever the case, we're getting the distinct feeling that the brouhaha over Spider-Man is far from over. Of course, the reported split between the two studios — which reached their initial agreement to share custody of Spidey in 2015 — caused a massive outcry amongst fans, most of whom were far more pleased with the MCU iteration of the character portrayed by Tom Holland than they had been with the previous ones fielded by Sony before the deal.

In fact, it was the comparative failure of the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man series — and in particular, 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — which precipitated the deal with Marvel in the first place. It's safe to say that, when left to its own devices, Sony has a bit of a history of egregiously mishandling the character, so fans should be forgiven for fearing that Spidey's departure from the MCU may not bode well for his future cinematic fortunes.

Of course, the failure of the two studios to reach an agreement doesn't mean that we'll never see Holland in the red and blue tights again. For one thing, you may remember that the 2015 deal was struck after talks between Sony and Marvel similarly fell apart in 2014; the situation came to light when a series of internal emails among Sony execs were made public, and the strong reaction among fans was undoubtedly a factor which brought the involved parties back to the table. It's not outside the realm of possibility — especially now that the MCU's Spidey is now a known and beloved commodity — that a similar situation could play out here.

Even if that doesn't turn out to be the case, Sony has said that it fully intends to produce at least two more Spider-Man solo films starring Holland, with Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts also returning. These films would presumably take place in the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters (which thus far includes last year's Venom and the forthcoming Morbius and Venom 2), which would result in an unprecedented situation.

Specifically, it would involve the wholesale porting of a character — portrayed by the same actor — from one shared universe to another, totally unrelated one. This has never happened before, and it would obviously present the kind of narrative challenges for both which would have no clear solution.

How will Marvel explain the sudden disappearance of Peter Parker from the MCU's superhero community? How would Sony explain the hero inexplicably popping up, his identity as a hero having been influenced heavily by events that took place in a universe separate from its own? 

It seems as if, in order to craft a satisfactory narrative around how in the heck Spider-Man skipped over to another universe, the two studios may have to actually cooperate… and all things considered, that doesn't seem terribly likely. Hopefully, more prominent voices like Joan Celia Lee's will join the chorus loudly and publicly prodding the two companies to come back to the bargaining table, because finding a way to extend their agreement is no less than what the fans deserve.