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Joe and Anthony Russo say Spider-Man leaving the MCU is a 'tragic mistake'

The Spider-Man split heard 'round the world is still sparking drama between Sony and Marvel.

Joe and Anthony Russo, the directing team behind three of Spider-Man's MCU films — Captain America: Civil War (which introduced Tom Holland's Peter Parker), Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame — have some things to say about Spidey's sudden departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

During a sit-down with the Toronto Sun at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, the Russos opened up about losing Spider-Man, with Joe calling it a "tragic mistake on Sony's part."

"It was a tenuous, fraught union throughout the whole process. But, I will say, stepping back and trying to be objective as possible, that I think it's a tragic mistake on Sony's part to think that they can replicate Kevin [Feige, the president of Marvel Studios]'s penchant for telling incredible stories and the amazing success he has had over the years. I think it's a big mistake," the filmmaker said. 

Anthony felt similarly, noting that the divorce between Sony and Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) wasn't all that shocking given how tough it was to bring Spider-Man into the MCU and keep him there. 

"It was so difficult to get him into Civil War. It was an extremely long and hard process. But we were driven to help make it happen. But Kevin Feige pulled it off, somehow. Disney and all the good people at Sony found a way to make it work and it lasted a few films. We had a wonderful experience with that and I think audiences really appreciated that marriage," he stated. "But we know how hard that marriage was to make in the first place, so the fact that the marriage fell apart isn't really that surprising to me and Joe."

Why did Spider-Man leave the MCU?

At the end of August 2019, the surprising announcement broke that Sony and Disney had been unable to broker new terms of the deal on their shared ownership of Spider-Man, meaning the hero's fate was suddenly in flux. Though Spidey had essentially been on loan from Sony to Marvel Studios since 2015 (the studios agreed that Marvel could feature Spider-Man in its films while Sony retained most of the screen rights and profits), neither studio could agree on how much money each should get going forward, and the deal came to a close. (Disney reportedly wanted a much larger stake than it had received in previous years, and Sony simply wouldn't make it happen.)

How Tom Holland feels about no longer being in the MCU

Tom Holland is still contracted to play Spider-Man for at least two more films, so it's clear that the MCU staple will continue working with Sony for a few more years — donning the Spidey suit in Sony-exclusive films for the first time ever. The English actor has remained admirably diplomatic about the situation, stating that working with Marvel and Sony was a dream come true, and that he feels the Spider-Man franchise is in good hands with Sony

"Basically, we've made five great movies. 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," Holland said in late August 2019. 

He added in early September 2019, "Sony has also been really good to me, and the global success of Spider-Man: Far From Home is a real testament to their support, skill, and commitment. The legacy and future of Spidey rests in Sony's safe hands. I really am nothing but grateful."

Looking ahead at Sony and Marvel

Fans have been quite vocal about their disdain for the Spider-Man situation since the news broke, as it means that Peter Parker's Marvel arc will remain seriously unfinished, particularly because his carefully crafted relationships with characters like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) will seemingly be rendered obsolete. 

Even with two films on the bench for Holland, there still aren't any concrete details about what his iteration of Spider-Man will do next. Still, for fans angry about this decision, it's comforting to know that the Russo Brothers are on their side.