First lets take a look back at the history of Marvel movies. Before Marvel started their own studio and their cinematic universe they sold the rights to some of their biggest properties. Most notably Spider-Man to Sony and X-Men to Fox. This gave Fox and Sony exclusive rights to use characters from those properties. When Marvel decided to start making movies it meant that two of their most popular properties were off limits to them. Under the guidance of Producer Keven Feige Marvel has turned into a juggernaut at the box office, taking lesser known comics like Iron Man and The Guardians of the Galaxy and turning them into massive hits.
This brings us to the announcement last night. Marvel doesn't need Spider-Man in their universe but he was a pretty important character in the comics of the Civil War story line that they are building up. Could they do it without him? They certainly could but it would be awesome if he was in a the movie alongside The Avengers. But the biggest winner is Sony. They get Kevin Feige to reboot Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and help bring a cohesive vision to the Spider-Man franchise.
So what does this mean going forward? Well we get Spider-Man in a marvel movie. Then a stand alone Spider-Man on July 28th 2017. Based on the dates the best guess is that Spider-Man will be in Captain America 3. It is unclear if he will be in any additional Marvel movies but you have to think he will appear in others. I think one of the biggest things Sony got out of it is the release date. A date previously held by Thor 3. As DC Comics will tell you going up against Marvel with release dates will backfire. It says a lot when Marvel is willing to push a lot of their movies back to make way for the Sony movie. Now Thor: Ragnarok will open 11/3/17, Black Panther which previously had that date will now open 7/6/18, which bumps Captain Marvel to 11/2/18 and the Inhumans to 7/12/19. The Avengers: Infinity Wars will have the same date of 5/4/18 and 5/3/19.
The biggest losers are everyone that worked on the last two Amazing Spider-Man's. It would appear that everything Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield has done will be scrapped. It would have been interesting to see Andrew Garfield in a movie that had a good story and better direction. Unfortunately it looks like he will be out. Along with all the other spin offs Sony was planning. Although they had started working on a stand alone Sinister Six movie with Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) and it is unclear what will become of that movie. Sony hasn't said it will be abandoned but with everything else going on you have to think it will be drastically altered if it does proceed.
In the end it's a win-win-win scenario. Marvel get to have one of its iconic characters join its movies. The fans get what the want. And the biggest winner is Sony who gets new life and a new vision for their franchise. And let's be clear its still Sony's franchise. The press release was pretty specific in that Sony will retain all the rights to creative and financial control of Spider-Man. They are essentially loaning the character back to Marvel. But if they are smart they will follow Marvel and Kevin Fiege's advice.