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How The MCU Cast Really Feels About Spider-Man Leaving

Mere days before Spider-Man: Far from Home was set to return to theaters with an additional four minutes of footage, Sony and Disney made the shocking announcement that the cooperative agreement between the two studios that allowed Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was coming to an abrupt end. This comes as a major blow to the MCU, which had seemed to be setting up the web-slinger as the heir apparent to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), as well as fans of the character, who loved Tom Holland's portrayal of Peter Parker and were eager to see him continue in the franchise as a full-fledged Avenger. 

But what do Holland's co-stars think about Spidey's sudden swing back into the world of Sony? Spider-Man has worked closely with the Avengers on a number of occasions, fighting alongside Tony Stark and his allies in Captain America: Civil War, and teaming up with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the Guardians of the Galaxy to battle Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War. And of course, who could forget Spidey's triumphant return at the end of Avengers: Endgame, when he assembled alongside nearly every hero in the MCU to save the world? 

While many of the actors of the MCU have remained silent on the matter, a few have spoken out. Below, we've rounded up their reactions, most of which contain a mixture of surprise, sadness, and unmistakable fondness for Tom Holland and the character of Peter Parker.

Simu Liu is as baffled as the rest of us

The star of the upcoming Phase 4 film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the first MCU actor to react to the news of the Sony/Disney split, tweeting out a bewildered "Wut" minutes after Deadline broke the story. Although it's hard to say definitively that the Spider-Man story is what Liu was referring to in his cryptic tweet, the actor has made a habit of regularly reacting to Marvel news since being cast in Shang-Chi, including a number of excited tweets during the D23 fan expo about the return of Randall Park and Gemma Chan to the MCU, and also one expressing his enthusiasm about the announced Ms. Marvel Disney+ series. 

Liu has been an avid fan of the MCU for years, openly campaigning for Marvel to make a movie centering an Asian-American superhero years before he was cast as one, and throwing his hat into the ring to play Shang-Chi once the film was announced in 2018. So although he hasn't had the chance to work with Holland yet on a Marvel film, it's understandable that he'd still voice his thoughts on such a huge development — and it turns out that, like so many of the rest of us, he's very confused. 

Ryan Reynolds is already mentally composing crossover fan fiction

Another star who is waiting in the wings to make his MCU debut is Ryan Reynolds, who has portrayed Wade Wilson/Deadpool in two successful solo films, and one less successful X-Men spinoff film. Along with the X-Men, the rights to the character of Deadpool were sold off to Fox in the '90s, and for the first three phases of the MCU, characters weren't even allowed to so much as utter the word "mutant" in a Marvel Studios film. However, thanks to Disney's acquisition of Fox in the spring of 2019, Deadpool is now back in the hands of Marvel, and anxiously anticipating his introduction into the MCU.

While the Merc with a Mouth and Spider-Man have a long and colorful comics history together, Sony's reclaiming of the web-slinger means that they'll have to wait at least a little longer before getting to share the big screen. When a fan asked Reynolds about the possibility of a Deadpool/Spidey film on Twitter shortly after the Deadline story broke, Reynolds replied, "You can. But you can only see it in my heart." 

Although Disney owns the rights to Deadpool and Sony now owns the rights to Spider-Man, as far as we know, no one has yet claimed the rights to Ryan Reynolds' personal fan fiction. Someone should really get on that. 

Jeremy Renner is taking the Spidey news surprisingly hard

The day after the Sony/Disney split was announced, Jeremy Renner, who has played Clint Barton/Hawkeye since 2011's Thor and will soon be headlining the Hawkeye series for Disney+, took to Instagram to beg for Spidey's return. 

Posted alongside an image of the heartbreaking moment in Avengers: Endgame when Hawkeye wakes up on Vormir moments after the tragic death of his best friend Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Renner added the caption, "Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you #congrats #spidermanrocks #[bow and arrow emoji] #please." 

Despite fighting on opposing teams during Captain America: Civil War and barely sharing any screentime in Avengers: Endgame, Renner was the first — and so far, only — MCU cast member to address Sony directly to ask for Spider-Man back. While it's unclear who exactly Renner is congratulating in his caption, given that he appears to be blaming Sony entirely for the split (although reports indicate that responsibility may be much more evenly distributed between the two studios), the fact that his photo seems to equate the loss of Spider-Man from the MCU with the death of a close friend and fellow Avenger may be a sign that the sharpshooter isn't taking the news particularly well. Perhaps one of the other Avengers should head over to check on him and make sure he's okay. 

Jon Favreau is holding on to hope

Of the MCU stars who have gone on the record with their thoughts about Spider-Man's exit from the franchise, the only one who has shared a significant amount of screentime with Holland is actor and director Jon Favreau, who's portrayed Tony Stark's assistant Happy Hogan since 2008's Iron Man and co-starred in both of Holland's solo Spider-Man films. Favreau also directed the first two Iron Man films, and has served as an executive producer of all four Avengers movies.  

Speaking to ET on the red carpet at D23, Favreau said, "It's still early days. As a fan, [I'm] cautiously hopeful that something will come together, because I think all the fans wanna see those characters together. I don't mean Happy and May, I mean Spidey with the MCU. So, still early days. 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. But as a fan, I'm hopeful that... you know, cautiously optimistic. Holding out hope that this isn't the final chapter of that story."

Favreau's optimism that Holland's Spider-Man may eventually rejoin the MCU seems to echo Sony's statement that they "hope [Sony and Disney's failure to reach an agreement] might change in the future," but we're not sure if all this hope is based on an actual plan for eventual reconciliation, or just wishful thinking. 

Jeff Goldblum had the most Jeff Goldblum-iest reaction imaginable

In what is perhaps the most perfect piece of casting in the entire MCU, Jeff Goldblum plays the eons-old Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, meaning that Goldblum will now get asked about every major development in the MCU going forward, and we'll all get to revel in his reactions. When asked by Variety at D23 about Spider-Man's break with the MCU, Goldblum responded how only Goldblum can.

"No! This is the first I've heard of it! I'm crestfallen," Goldblum exclaimed, before temporarily losing the ability to speak, making a repetitive "sksksk" noise like a skipping record. He then seemed to remember only the first half of the #SaveSpiderman campaign mentioned four seconds earlier. "Save... what's happening? I didn't know any of this."

After being given a quick rundown of the split — while Goldblum squinted and silently mouthed the words "Sony" and "Marvel" as though he'd never heard of either studio before — Goldblum then offered his own brand of Goldblum-y wisdom. "I'm not a business person. You're speaking — whatever you say is Greek to me. But all these... the mountains of producciore [pretty sure he was going for produttori, or "producers" in Italian] and uh.... eh... I don't know. It'll all work out, I'm sure. Good luck. They'll figure it out."

So there you have it, straight from the mouth of the Grandmaster himself. Everything will be fine, and also, he has no idea what any of us are talking about. 

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will miss Tom Holland

The stars of the upcoming WandaVision series on Disney+ were at D23 to reveal a few fascinating tidbits about their "weird" new show, but had a few moments to speak to Variety about Spidey's departure from the MCU. "It's so sad!" Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, told Variety. Her onscreen partner Paul Bettany, who plays the superpowered android Vision, agreed, offering only a hoarse "I can't talk about that."

"It really is sad," Olsen went on to elaborate. "I mean Tom was such a special — first off, he's like one of the greatest — he is the greatest Spider-Man to me. He actually has that youthful energy and the ability physically and emotionally and he's just been incredible. And it's been really lucky that we've been able to work with him, and I think it's a big loss and it's really too bad." 

Neither Olsen nor Bettany has worked much with Holland in the MCU, but it sounds as though both admired his work and would've liked to see him continue with the franchise. Olsen then joked that they should start an online petition to bring Spidey back to the MCU, although it seems evident from her tone that she's doubtful that such an effort would be very fruitful.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are feeling sentimental

At D23 to promote The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will see Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their MCU roles for six episodes on Disney+ in the fall of 2020, the two actors seemed appropriately somber about Tom Holland's sudden exit from the MCU. "We will always have little Tom," Mackie told Variety, lifting a hand to point to his heart. "Right here." 

Stan then looked straight into the camera with a musical message for Holland himself. "Tom," he said, before bursting into song. "You are always on my mind, you are always on my mind." As Stan sang, adding hand gestures and eyebrow waggles for emphasis, Mackie continued to point to his heart, repeating, "Right here, little Tom. We love you, little Tom." 

Holland's most notable scene with Stan and Mackie occurred in Captain America: Civil War, when the two supersoldiers teamed up to fight the web-slinger during the airport fight. After exclaiming delightedly over Bucky's metal arm and attempting to perform a citizen's arrest on Sam, Spidey seemed to gain the upper hand before Sam's droid Redwing flung him out a window. However, if Stan's singing and Mackie's earnest we love yous are any indication, it would seem there's no ill will between the real-life actors, and that Holland will be sincerely missed. 

No matter where he goes, Tom Holland is excited to keep making "even cooler" Spider-Man movies

After remaining mostly silent in the days between the Sony/Disney announcement and D23 — save for a cryptic Instagram post with Robert Downey Jr. captioned "We did it Mr Stark!" — Holland addressed his departure from the MCU during his appearance at Disney's animation panel to promote his upcoming Pixar film Onward, in which he will co-star alongside fellow MCU actor Chris Pratt. 

"It's been a crazy week," Holland said, addressing the audience, "but I want you to know I am grateful from the bottom of my heart and I love you 3,000." The last part of his statement references Tony Stark's heart-tugging line from Avengers: Endgame, making it clear to Marvel fans that although Holland was at the expo to promote a different film, he was speaking directly to us. 

Holland later gave a more extensive statement to EW, expressing his pride in the MCU movies he participated in as well as excitement over his future with Sony. "Basically, we've made five great movies," Holland said. "It's been five amazing years. I've had the time of my life. Who knows what the future holds? But all I know is that I'm going to continue playing Spider-Man and having the time of my life. It's going to be so fun, however we choose to do it. The future for Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we'll find new ways to make it even cooler."

Although it will definitely be strange to enter a new phase of the MCU with no Spider-Man after Peter played such a major role in Phase 3, it's encouraging to hear that Holland intends to keep making Spidey films well into the future, even if it's with a different studio. But of course, we should've known that no matter what the "mountains of producciore" decide, Holland himself would never let us down. After all, who knows better than Spidey himself that with great power comes great responsibility?