Were we ever so young, and in Korea, and Spider-Man?
Photo: Han Myung-Gu (Getty Images)

Hope is one of those ostensibly positive traits that comic book superheroes are always yelling about; it’s up there with “self-esteem” and “the power of friendship” in terms of qualities supposedly capable of saving the world from great evil. (We’ve always been more convinced by heaping helpfuls of gamma radiation or mutant magnet powers, but hey, to each their own.) But no amount of be-caped optimism can stand up to the cold reality of financially-motivated IP divorce, which is something that Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra seems increasingly desperate to drill into people’s heads re: this whole MCU Spider-Man deal.

To be fair to Vinciquerra, he’s pushing back against a whole boatload of public goodwill—so hey, maybe this cosmic “power of positive thinking” stuff really does have some kind of merit!—toward Spidey’s inclusion in the MCU, which was always the kind of a proposition driven by heartfelt wishes and fan-held hopes and also it made everyone involved a really stupid amount of money. Some of that goodwill-sh prodding comes from people inside the MCU itself, even, including Jon Favreau, who waved a heroic flag of hope to fans recently about the possibility of reuniting Peter Parker with his dead science dad once again. To which Vinciquerra said, essentially, “Hell no.”

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Rather, he tried to make it clear—while speaking at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology summit this week—that this is one situation where the collective hopes and beliefs of a whole population of nerds—all combining their forces in solidarity and dreaming the biggest damn dream they can dream—really don’t mean jack shit, no matter how many pictures of a crying Tom Holland we all post online. “For the moment the door is closed,” he said flatly when addressing the topic, even while that “for the moment” dangles enticingly for nerd brains to fixate on. Vinciquerra also noted that “It’s a long life,” which is the sort of thing you tell a child when they ask if they will also be bitten by a magical radioactive spider one day, and presumably with the same degree of journalistic rigor attached.

For what it’s worth, Vinciquerra had nothing but positive things to say about MCU head Kevin Feige, who’s been in charge of the last two Spider-Man movies (both directed by Jon Watts): “We had a great run with him on Spider-Man movies,” he told attendees. “We tried to see if there’s a way to work it out….the Marvel people are terrific people, we have great respect for them,” That being said, his follow-up suggests that maybe Sony is feeling a tad bit annoyed that Marvel gets all the credit for two of its biggest hits in recent years: “On the other hand, we have some pretty terrific people of our own. Kevin didn’t do all the work.”