While Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters in a matter of weeks, Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures, and Disney already have big plans for the franchise going forward. Indeed, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 is set for release on July 5, 2019, and while we don’t have any official word on who’s writing or directing that movie yet, the complex deal that brought together Marvel and Sony has stipulations that clue us into what may be coming down the pike.
Per THR’s extensive profile of Spider-Man: Homecoming, star Tom Holland is contractually obligated to star in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 and Spider-Man 3, but when it comes to the next sequel it won’t be Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man working alongside Peter Parker. The inclusion of Iron Man in Homecoming was a smart way to clue fans into the fact that Spider-Man: Homecoming does indeed take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Downey Jr. is a busy and expensive guy. So the current contract between Sony and Marvel—which lets Marvel take the creative lead on the Spider-Man movies while Sony pays for and reaps the profits from them—says that Sony will get another MCU character that it does not own to use in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2.
So who will be starring alongside Holland in the sequel? We likely won’t have a solid idea until we see Avengers: Infinity War, which hits theaters next May and finds Peter Parker fighting alongside every MCU hero we’ve seen thus far. Holland made his debut in Captain America: Civil War and had a pretty fun antagonistic rapport with Chris Evans’ Captain America, but Evans has made it pretty clear that once his contract expires with Avengers 4, he’s eyeing the door.
We’ll likely see in Infinity War which hero/character Parker has solid chemistry with, and that will probably be the MCU hero that pops up in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2. Whether that character will have as prominent a role as Downey Jr.—who’s essentially a co-star of Homecoming—remains to be seen.
The report also notes that Michael Keaton’s contract only has him playing the villainous Vulture in one movie. So Homecoming is likely the last we’ll see of him. Although that’s kind of standard procedure for the MCU, as villains not named Loki don’t really have a tendency to return down the line.
All eyes will be on Homecoming to see how audiences respond, but it’s safe to assume preliminary discussions about Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 are already taking place. So time to place your bets on who will be joining Spidey in the next adventure. Will it be Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange? Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow? Or maybe Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man?