Bold emphasis in some portions added by me. BREAKING: Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios are joining forces on the next iteration of Spider-Man. Kevin Feige, who has steered a ton of hit franchise launches for Marvel, boards the project as producer. He will produce the next films with Amy Pascal, who just left the executive suites at Sony for a big production deal. Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and then Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017. There had been rumors that Sony might sell the webslinger back to Marvel and Disney but that’s not what is happening. Instead, Sony keeps its top franchise but this opens the door to Marvel Comics’ biggest superhero being able to cross pollinate in the Marvel universe. That has been a key benefit in launching Marvel hits from Iron Man to The Avengers. There had been talk that Spidey would surface in the next installment of Captain America. Now, that can happen. It’s a smart move, because Spidey was showing signs of stagnation. Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, who produced the most recent Amazing Spider-Man films directed by Marc Webb, will be exec producers. Deadline reported last week in breaking the exit of Amy Pascal for a production deal that she would likely be a key player as Spider-Man moved forward. The last version of the film, 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, grossed over $700 million but was considered something of a disappointment for a film that cost north of $200 million and grossed about that amount domestically. Andrew Garfield has been playing the wall crawler alongside Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. She was a bright spot, but that character completed its run in the series. Sony had made plans for spinoff films based on The Sinister Six, a collection of Spidey villains. This is a good development for fans. So far, the way it has worked is, both Sony and Fox (with X-Men and Fantastic Four universes) had to keep a steady stream of pictures and developments coming, or risk losing the franchises back to Marvel, which is owned by Disney. That is why, after Sam Raimi decided the original Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series had run its course, Sony had to move so quickly to basically remake the original storyline. It would have risked losing a billion dollar property if it hadn’t met certain deadlines. This accord signals a change in that relationship.