Spider-Man: No Way Home is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated and speculated films of all time.
Set to release on December 17, 2021, No Way Home is the third Tom Holland-led solo Spider-Man film for the MCU; but in this threequel, he's anything but alone. In addition to Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange, the film's call sheet includes villains from past Spider-Man franchises with rumors suggesting past Spider-Men will be appearing on screen as well.
While the film's steady stream of rumors and leaks have already made the project one for the books, Spider-Man: No Way Home's first trailer also shattered viewing records in August of 2021; and now, it looks to be making Phase 4 history in yet another way.
Spider-Man: No Way Home To Release in China
Even though Marvel Studios' Phase 4 is well underway, having begun with Black Widow and most recently with Eternals, not a single MCU Phase 4 film has been released in China due to the country's censorship and screening approvals.
According to Variety, that all looks to change with Marvel and Sony's upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home which was recently greenlit for a theatrical debut in China.
Since China is the world's largest film market, Marvel Studios' inability to release its Phase 4 films up to this point has impacted its global box office performance. Ironically, two of Marvel's most recent Phase 4 films - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals - both known for their Asian actors and directors, were among those rejected.
While Black Widow's release was seemingly stonewalled by the Chinese government due to the Communist Party's 100-year anniversary, Shang-Chi's odds of releasing diminished under former comments Simu Liu made about what his parents experienced living under the country's Communist regime.
In addition, Beijing-born Eternals director Chloe Zhao also made disparaging comments against China in the past; and while this likely contributed to the government banning the film, Eternals also included an LGBTQIA+ relationship.
While reports suggest that Disney declined requests to censor scenes from Eternals that certain nations consider problematic, an edited version of the film removing any instances of intimacy will be released in select Middle Eastern markets.
While Spider-Man: No Way Home is set for a wide release on December 17, 2021, there is no confirmation as to when it will debut in China.
Don't Swing Too Low, Marvel
While there was never a doubt that Spider-Man: No Way Home wouldn't deliver at the box office, a release in China practically guarantees that the film will outperform any other Marvel Phase 4 film to date.
In addition, Spider-Man films have historically performed well within the country as Spider-Man: Far From Home grossed $199 million in China back in 2019.
While that's great news for Marvel's numbers and Disney's coffers, the hope is that this renewed cash flow won't influence the studio to make future decisions based on China.
Simu Liu, Chloe Zhao, and other Marvel talent should be able to express their opinions and exercise free speech without fear of a studio head demanding an apology to appease a Communist regime or concerns about hurting their film's global performance.
For a franchise that's built on heroes, Marvel fans can only hope that the studio and Disney will continue to practice what they preach.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to release in theaters on December 17, 2021.