Sony shocked MCU fans earlier this week when it confirmed the rumors that said the studio failed to extend its MCU deal with Disney. Sony, hoping it can make blockbuster Spider-Man movies on its own without the MCU, didn’t agree to Disney’s proposed terms for a future deal. As a result, Spider-Man is no longer a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s the kind of move that will affect both studios, especially if they don’t find a way to compromise. And it’s Sony that will have a more daunting task creating a successful MCU alternative around Spidey — Marvel can easily move forward with new Avengers adventures that don’t include Spider-Man. Now, it looks like Sony might be under pressure to make Spider-Man 3 and release it long before Avengers 5 hits theaters.

As we learned a few weeks ago, there won’t be any Avengers, Spider-Man or Guardians sequels in MCU Phase 4. But we’ve already explained that Avengers is the kind of magic glue that holds the entire MCU together. Marvel can’t give that up, even though it just lost Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America — and Spider-Man too, if things stay the same. We then learned that Kevin Feige and Co. may be cooking up a massive Avengers vs. X-Men film that would be an amazing sequel to Infinity War and Endgame.

For that to happen, Marvel has to introduce the new Avengers replacements first, as well as the X-Men. And that will take some time to pull off. Avengers 5 might not hit the MCU until Phase 6, which is at least five years away — that’s speculation for the time being, based on the current structure of Phase 4.

But unlike Sony, Marvel is not under any pressure to deliver sequels to its hottest franchises. And if there’s anything that we’ve learned in the past few years, that’s that Marvel can turn any superhero movie into a massive success without requiring the presence of a well-known hero like Spider-Man.

Sony, meanwhile, does feel the pressure of having to crank out new Spider-Man films — just look at the following chart showing the box office performance of Sony’s eight Spidey flicks that have been released over the past two decades:

Image Source: BoxOfficeMojo

If you’ve ever wondered why Sony made so many Spider-Man movies that told the same old story over and over, it’s because the studio had no other choice. Per Deadline, Sony has to produce a Spider-Man film every three years to prevent a rights reversion to Disney. Now, Business Insider says the studio has up to five years to go for another sequel.

Whatever the case, the clock started ticking again right after the premiere of Far From Home. And whether or not Sony and Disney kiss and make up, Sony will have to bring Tom Holland back for a new film in the next three to five years — the actor has two more Spidey flicks in his contract, according to reports.

If Sony goes it alone, trying to create its own MCU-like world around Spider-Man, then it’ll probably have to have Holland appear in other movies even sooner than that, and then release a Spider-Man 3 film to tie everything together.

We do know a Venom 2 is already in the works starring Tom Hardy, with Andy Serkis directing. There’s also a Morbius flick that has Jared Leto attached to star. Then there’s the Spider-Verse franchise that can be further explored, with a sequel already in development. So Sony does have a lot more options for making Spider-Man interesting rather than rinsing and repeating what it has done in the past. But even so, waiting too long to release Spider-Man 3 would be a mistake.

Image Source: Sony Pictures

Sony does know a thing or two about mistakes, especially when it comes to making superhero movies. If its current fight with Disney over keeping Spider-Man in the MCU isn’t enough proof, then you absolutely need to read this The Wall Street Journal story that explains precisely how Sony got Spider-Man while refusing to purchase all the other MCU characters. Oops.

“Nobody gives a shit about any of the other Marvel characters,” Sony Pictures executive Yair Landau was told in 1998 when he brought back a proposition from Marvel that would have given Sony the rights to all the MCU characters for just $25 million. “Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.” That deal cost Marvel $10 million at the time, and it’s a deal that both Sony and Marvel probably regret, given how things evolved. At the time, nobody could have known how successful’s Feige’s MCU would become, of course.

Add to its contractual obligation towards Disney all the pressure from fans who aren’t happy about what Sony just pulled, and you end up with a studio that will want to prove as soon as possible that it can make non-MCU Spider-Man movies that people want to see. And that’s probably why Spider-Man 3 will hit theaters well before the new Avengers assemble.