Fans trying to save Spider-Man from leaving Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe got #SaveSpiderMan trending, but it looks like bots are helping – and targeting Sony Pictures. Back in 2015, Sony Pictures’ second Spider-Man franchise had stalled out with the lackluster reception of 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the studio ended up striking a deal with Marvel Studios. The partnership allowed Spider-Man to join the MCU, and Tom Holland was later cast as Peter Parker. Holland’s take on Spider-Man has become beloved by fans, having appeared in two solo movies and three team-ups over the last few years. As a result, many fans were devastated by the news of Sony and Marvel potentially parting ways, causing Spider-Man to exit the MCU.
News of the studios’ dispute over a new deal broke on Aug. 20, and fans have taken to social media to voice their opinion on the situation – many of which are angry or sad. There’s still a possibility Sony and Marvel will strike a new agreement, but it’s unclear just how much of a possibility that outcome is. After the initial reports, Sony issued a statement on the Spider-Man deal negotiations falling apart, pointing the finger at Disney, Marvel Studios’ parent company. In the wake of the initial news and further updates, fans have rallied around the wall-crawling superhero on social media using hashtags. However, it appears not all the tweets in these hashtags are from humans.
Both #SaveSpiderMan and #SaveSpidey trended on Twitter, followed by #SaveSpiderManFromSony as the tide turned against Sony Pictures and fans blamed the studio for Spider-Man’s exit from the MCU. However, many fans have noticed Twitter bots (accounts run by software rather than humans) flooding the Spider-Man hashtags, potentially blowing the issue out of proportion. There are cases of similar or identical tweets going out from different accounts and while some of this can be attributed to humans stealing tweets in an attempt to go viral, many appear to be from bots. See examples in user 100tificoDatos‘s tweet below.
Fans have speculated Disney is behind the bots in an attempt to turn public sentiment against Sony, but that seems far-fetched. More likely, the bots are part of a fan effort to encourage Sony and Disney to come to an agreement that keeps Spider-Man in the MCU. Fans have also started petitions to keep Spider-Man in the MCU, created plenty of memes that have flooded all social media sites, and even launched a ridiculous Facebook event to storm Sony and save Spider-Man – similar to the Storm Area 51 efforts. Fans are doing plenty to convince the studios they should reach a deal that allows Spider-Man to stay in the MCU, so it’s not hard to believe some zealous folks created these Save Spider-Man bots.
Of course, what remains to be seen is whether public sentiment has any impact on the negotiations between Sony and Disney/Marvel. Based on reports, it seems discussions broke down over money; Disney wanted to make more profit off the Spider-Man movies Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige shepherded to the screen, and Sony didn’t want to give up the profits they were making. After all, Spider-Man: Far From Home is Sony’s highest-grossing movie ever and Spider-Man is arguably their biggest property. Allowing more of that profit to go to Disney might hurt the studio. Still, as both Disney and Sony protect their respective interests, fans are holding out hope the studios can reach an agreement and save Spider-Man from leaving the MCU.
Related: Marvel Losing Spider-Man Would Be A Disaster For The MCU