2 Spider-Man Characters Are Now Stuck In Disney & Sony Rights Issues

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Spider-Man, Disney, Sony

Despite Disney-owned Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures playing nice with each other on Tom Holland's ultra-successful Spidey trilogy, there are still Spider-Man characters who are in a strange spot with their rights being owned by both parties.

The relationship between the two studios, and the deal they have, has been a point of fascination amongst both Marvel fans and the film community as a whole.

The companies made history in February 2015 when they first decided to work together so that Spider-Man could be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and continue to do so moving into Phase 5. Big studios sharing IP amongst each other is simply unheard of, yet these two titans not only did it but did so successfully.

Despite the relationship nearly falling apart after Spider-Man: Far From Home, a new deal was struck in late 2019 that led to the generational event that was No Way Home. It also opened up the doors for Tom Holland to appear in another yet-to-to-named MCU project alongside what seems to be some unspecified stipulations regarding Sony's own Spider-Man Universe.

Despite each studio sharing their respective IPs with one another, it's now been revealed that two key Spider-Man characters remain co-owned by both parties—making use of them interesting, to say the least.

The 2 Spider-Man Characters Who Are Still Stuck

Spider-Man Comic villains
Marvel Comics

The Direct got our hands on the new Spider-Man-centric book, With Great Power, from author Sean O’Connell, which revealed two characters who still have shared rights between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios.

The first character still wrapped up in these dealings is Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin.

Kingpin, Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

While Kingpin is mostly known as a Spider-Man villain, in recent years, he’s almost become even more associated with Daredevil, thanks to his three-season stint over on Netflix’s Daredevil. He recently crossed over into Disney+'s Hawkeye and will next be seen in Echo.

Prior to D'Onofrio's take on Kingpin, the last time the character was used in live-action was for 20th Century Fox's Daredevil film in 2003, which saw Michael Clarke Duncan portray the villain. This project was made before Disney and Marvel Studios got the rights back roughly a decade later.

Most recently, Sony used Fisk as the main antagonist for its animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Though, it's important to point out that the rights regarding animation compared to live-action are very different.

The second of these shared characters is none other than Jessica Drew's Spider-Woman.

Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman
Marvel Comics

The character has not yet seen an adaptation in live-action yet, although a project has been rumored to be in the works under director Olivia Wilde for the character. It's unclear if the project will be part of Sony's Spider-Man Universe or the MCU.

The character will, however, be appearing in animated form in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as played by Issa Rae.

With Great Power. which covers everything a fan should know about Spider-Man on the big screen, is now available to purchase online.

What's the Future of Kingpin and Spider-Woman?

Despite the ownership of Kingpin supposedly being shared between Sony and Marvel, there hasn’t been any attempt by Sony to use the character. Marvel Studios, however, has been hard at work bringing Wilson Fisk back into the MCU’s story.

Given how popular he is, Fisk's presence in the MCU is only going to get stronger.

As for Spider-Woman, the project has mostly had radio silence for a long while. However, most recently, rumored director Olivia Wilde alluded in an interview that she does "have access to those tools of the Marvel Universe"—though those words could be interpreted in multiple ways.

Oddly enough, Sony Pictures does have a Madame Web movie in production, which is rumored to include several incarnations of Spider-Woman as key characters. However, Jessica isn’t among those rumored.

Only time will tell if Marvel and Sony could end up working together for another character outside of Peter Parker himself or if the two will get into a tussle regarding one of the shared ones, such as Drew.

Marvel Studios' next project, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will be hitting theaters on Friday, November 11.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.