I'm going to be up-front, the following is a rumor and flagged as such by the source. HitFix is saying they are "hearing" but can't currently verify, that Sony is considering Spider-Man to join Marvel's Cinematic Universe. Let's be clear nothing is happening, these are only rumblings that Sony is thinking about this. Below is what Drew had to say about this rumor.
"While I can't get the confirmations I need to verify the story, I'm hearing that there are some very cool "Spider-Man" plans being discussed that would help Sony refocus their enormously important franchise while also opening up some connections in the onscreen Marvel movie universe that would blow fandom's minds. Will it work out? I don't know. I would love to be able to state for sure that it's happening. What seems clear from what I've heard is that Marvel wants to be able to play with all of their characters, and if they can make that work creatively and on a corporate level, they will, and that means the world gets bigger again."
Adding fuel to the fire, BadassDigest is claiming that Sony is going even further and recasting the role for Drew Goddard's Sinister Six. That would mean Andrew Garfield would be out and that we'll see a third actor portraying Peter Parker. Also, Alex Kurtzman's Venom spin-off is apparently dead (that really came out of nowhere). Neither of these have been confirmed by Sony, but Devin has a good track record with this sort of stuff. Here's what Devin is hearing about Sony's bizarre Spider-Man plans.
- Sony is going to soft reboot Spider-Man with The Sinister Six, having a new actor playing a Spidey who works with the villains The Dirty Dozen style to take down a larger threat.
- Sony is going to put Spider-Man on the shelf for four or five years and see if they can develop any of the side characters into their own franchises.
I've also heard that Venom is functionally dead again.
Don't get the impression that we'll be seeing Spidey swinging around in Age of Ultron, because it's too late in the game to add him into the main film. However, it's not out of the question to have him involved with Easter Eggs, via digital shots or props within the film. Having one of the Avengers reading The Daily Bugle might be just enough to give fans something to strive for. Button scenes are likely to leak via sites like LatinoReview, so it's doubtful they'll add him to one of those.
This could be the shot-in-the-arm for a franchise that is quickly losing it's support from fans and audiences alike. While Amazing Spider-Man remains to be popular overseas, the returns are diminishing with each installment domestically. Not the best sign of a healthy superhero franchise. The second film failed to connect with audiences, and Sony delayed production on Amazing Spider-Man 3. Instead, they're moving forward with Sinister Six and an untitled female-led spin-off (Blackcat?). Devin states that Spider-Man (played by a new actor) will be in Sinister Six, but that might be the last we see of him for a while. As Sony might be putting an immediate holt to Amazing Spider-Man 3, for a couple of years.
All this sounds like Sony is scrambling to figure out how to keep this franchise alive, and rushing into a third film doesn't seem to be apart of these plans. Having Spider-Man be apart of Captain America 3 (rumored to have elements of Civil War) or Avengers 3 could mend those bridges with fans. The studio doesn't seem to know what to do, but having Marvel help-out is the best case scenario. Since, it's very unlikely Sony will sell back the rights. This could end-up being more of a case of how Marvel is able to use/share characters like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Fox.
On our part, we know that Sony's relationship with Marvel is a bit less cantankerous than it is with Fox. Even though Marvel's Kevin Feige remains good friends with X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner. The studio itself seems to butt-heads with Marvel on character details. It was rumored that Marvel wasn't willing to allow the Deadpool movie to be rated-R. Considering he's one of the more popular characters and does feature in their comics, video games and cartoons. You can't blame them, but it kind of shows how much say Marvel still has with these projects. These heated studio conflicts haven't dampened Lauren and Hugh Jackman's wiliness to join the Cinematic Universe. Jackman an X-Men producer himself, has also called for Wolverine and Spidey to join the ranks.