As much as Marvel Comics fans may want it to be true, Spider-Man will not be teaming up with the X-Men in a future feature film, BuzzFeed has confirmed.
This week, the internet lit up with excited — and confused — chatter after Sony Pictures' The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened in the UK, and audiences who stuck around during the final credits witnessed a scene from the upcoming superhero film X-Men: Days of Future Past (SPOILERS ahead!) featuring Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique breaking into and then out of a military base. (SPOILERS over!) The scene was presaged by the X-Men logo, and it had nothing to do with the story in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — for one thing, it is set in the 1970s, whereas Andrew Garfield's Spidey lives in the present day. But audiences have been cheering the sequence in London theaters, and it was enough to spark the possibility that the web-slinger and the powerful mutants could be teaming up for a future adventure together on screen as they have so often in the pages of the Marvel comics.
Unfortunately, that won't be happening any time soon. (And by soon, think decades.)
As first reported by Variety, the X-Men teaser came about thanks to a contractual obligation The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb has to make another movie for Fox Searchlight, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The indie studio, part of the larger Fox Entertainment Group corporation, released Webb's breakout hit (500) Days of Summer in 2009, but since then Webb had been tied up, so to speak, making 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. When Sony decided they wanted Webb right away to make the sequel, the studio struck a deal to borrow Webb in exchange for promoting 20th Century Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past as a post-credits teaser in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
No money exchanged hands, but Sony clearly saw this as a win-win — not only would they get the director they wanted, but they could include the same kind of post-credits coda audiences have come to expect from the Marvel Studios movies.
But Marvel Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, releases films that are part of a single "Cinematic Universe," whereas the movie versions of Spider-Man and the X-Men are the distinct intellectual property of two enormous and separate media conglomerates. While inter-corporate dealing led to the X-Men technically appearing within the runtime of a Spider-Man movie, Fox and Sony have not discussed allowing those characters to interact on screen. Apparently, neither studio considered baiting hardcore fans with the false promise of a Spidey/X-Men crossover film would be too much of a risk here.
Sony Pictures is well underway with plans to expand the Spider-Man universe with films based on the superhero's deep bench of villains. While none of those films have started production, Sony did still slip in a knowing teaser for The Sinister Six at the beginning of The Amazing Spider-Man 2's credits, with flashes of virtual schematics for key elements for characters within Spidey's rogues gallery. The X-Men teaser then followed.
Fox also reportedly is considering bringing the X-Men together with another Marvel property under its umbrella, the Fantastic Four, which Chronicle director Josh Trank is rebooting for 2015. And last summer, a teaser for X-Men: Days of Future Past played during the end credits for X-Men spin-off The Wolverine.
It's all part of the increasingly dizzy movie studio arms race to expand lucrative franchises into even more lucrative mega-franchises, chasing after the giant money pit Marvel Studios has made for itself. If the hopes of some fans get trampled in the process, that seems to be simply a cost of doing business in Hollywood.
Update: You can now watch the post-credit scene.
Additional reporting by Scott Bryan.