Spider-Man feels your pain.
Making his first public appearance since news broke that his iconic web-slinger might never appear in another Marvel movie, Tom Holland received a hero’s welcome at Disney’s D23 Expo on Saturday. On stage with fellow Marvel alumnus Chris Pratt to promote their upcoming Pixar fantasy film Onward, Holland acknowledged loud ovations of the crowd — including several shouts of “we love you, Spider-Man” — and made sure the fans knew he was with them.
“It’s been a crazy week. I want you all to know I love you from the bottom of my heart,” Holland told the audience, before echoing Robert Downey Jr.’s final line in Avengers: Endgame. “I love you 3,000.”
The 23-year-old British actor has found himself in the middle of a billion-dollar tug-of-war between Sony and Disney, with the former refusing to give up profit-sharing on future Spider-Man installments despite the record-breaking box-office success of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider Man: Far From Home, both produced by Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige.
After leaving the stage, Holland elaborated on the split. “Basically, we’ve made five great movies,” Holland told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
The Sony-Disney battle has become a big talking point among attendees of D23, Disney’s fan convention. Spidey is inescapable, with the Marvel booth featuring plenty of images of Holland’s version of company’s signature superhero. On Thursday, Jon Favreau, an architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who co-starred in both Spider-Man films and honored at D23 as a “Disney Legend,” told Entertainment Tonight that he hopes both studios come to their senses and reach an accord.
“As a fan, [I'm] cautiously hopeful that something will come together, because I think all the fans want to see those characters together. I don't mean Happy and May, I mean Spidey with the MCU,” Favreau said, referencing the budding romance between his Happy Hogan and Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May in Far From Home.
“I'm hopeful ... you know, cautiously optimistic. Holding out hope that this isn't the final chapter of that story.”
Other Marvel stars appearing at D23 like Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) expressed their support for Holland and Spider-Man remaining in the MCU, while Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) tweeted similar sentiments.
As for Onward, the Pixar film is about a pair of elf brothers (Holland and Pratt) on a quest to find a spell to bring back their dead father for one day. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who previously voiced a role in Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, plays their mother. It is due out March 6, 2020.
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