There were rumors and there were conversations, but to almost everyone in Hollywood the possibility of Spider-Man joining his Marvel Universe brethren on the big screen was dead.  Obviously, anyone who reads Marvel Comics knows nothing stays dead forever.  In a major announcement on Monday night, Walt Disney's Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment revealed that the Wall Crawler would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The partnership will begin with Spider-Man appearing an an upcoming Marvel Studios film.  Spider-Man will then appear in the third installment of the "Amazing Spider-Man" franchise  on July 28, 2017.  That film will be produced by Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, the current co-chairman of the studio who is stepping down following the fallout of the Sony Hack in late November.  In a release, both parties noted "they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films."

More intriguingly, Marvel and Sony Pictures are also working together on opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future "Spider-Man" films.

There was no announcement on which MCU film Spider-Man would appear in, but previous discussions focused on "Captain America: Civil War" which is scheduled for release on May 6, 2016.  That film already features Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man so including Spider-Man would turn it into an even bigger blockbuster.  "Doctor Strange," which opens on Nov. 4, 2016 is also a possibility.  Including Spidey in the latter might help boost the profile of a character that is less known to the general public than some of Marvel's other popular creations.  Additionally, there was no confirmation on whether or not Andrew Garfield would continue to portray Peter Parker/Spider-Man in these new movies.

It's also worth noting that Spider-Man has been a member of The Avengers in Marvel's Comic Book Universe for over a decade. One can only speculate that this initial agreement may be a test run or the character's participation in the two-part "Avengers: Infinity War" which is set to begin in 2018.

Everyone involved appears thrilled this long rumored collaboration has finally come to pass.

"Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s great characters, beloved around the world," says Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Compay. "We’re thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building.”

Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment remarked, "We always want to collaborate with the best and most successful filmmakers to grow our franchises and develop our characters. Marvel, Kevin Feige and Amy, who helped orchestrate this deal, are the perfect team to help produce the next chapter of Spider-Man.  This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."

Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group added, "Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker’s story into the future."

"I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie," says Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. "Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world’s most beloved characters.  Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years."

Are you excited about "Spider-Man" joining the MCU? Which movie should he appear in first?

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.