Spider-Man is set to exit the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after Disney and Sony failed to reach an agreement, according to reports.
Disney/Marvel Studios hold the rights to comic book characters featured in the MCU, collectively the movies that feature Iron Man, Avengers and more, but rival studio Sony owns the on-screen rights to Spider-Man.
It's why we've had three versions of Spider-Man since the new millennium. A complicated contract means Sony has to make a Spider-Man movie every few years or the rights revert to Marvel/Disney.
Four years ago, Sony and Disney announced they had reached a deal where Spider-Man would appear in the MCU and in MCU movies but where Sony still financed and distributed the stand-alone Spider-Man movies that, so far, have included Homecoming and Far From Home.
Now, according to a report in Deadline, that kumbaya is over.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, the man responsible for overseeing and turning the MCU into a multibillion-dollar behemoth, will no longer have any creative input into the on-screen Spider-Man character. Sony will go it alone.
Tom Holland will continue to play Spider-Man, and Homecoming and Far From Home director Jon Watts is expected to have two more movies coming.
What this means for fans is we won't see Spidey interact with the likes of Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel anymore. Possibly, not even Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan.
Deadline reported the schism came over Disney/Marvel's desire to stump up 50 per cent of the financing for the films, which in effect would likely mean pocketing 50 per cent of the profit.
MCU movies are hugely profitable, and this week Spider-Man: Far From Home became Sony's biggest grossing movie of all time at US$1.1 billion ($1.5 billion). Far From Home is also one of the biggest box office draws of the year, globally.
It's collected US$37 million in Australia and is currently the fifth biggest movie of the year.
Tom Holland's version of Spider-Man was actually introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and the Brit was cast by MCU directors Anthony and Joe Russo.
Since the successful relaunch of this iteration of Spider-Man, Sony has forged ahead with expanding the Spider-Man universe, which included the action fizzer Venom that made money but was hit with mostly negative reviews.
There is a Venom sequel in the works with Andy Serkis tapped to direct and a Morbius movie with Jared Leto also under way.
The breakup at least clarifies confusion on whether an antihero character like Venom was in the MCU or not.
Sony also released the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a thrilling adventure featuring the character of Miles Morales in the Spider-Man suit. It went on to win an Oscar.
The next MCU movie to be released will be Black Widow in May 2020. Feige recently revealed Marvel's Phase Four movies and TV shows.