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Spider-Man is joining Marvel's Cinematic Universe, Sony and Marvel confirm

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Spider-Man is coming to Marvel's Cinematic Universe, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today, meaning the web-slinger will make an appearance in an upcoming Marvel film to rub elbows with the likes of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.

The deal is a confirmation of long-burning rumors that Marvel and Sony were working together to bring the flagship superhero into Marvel's hugely successful film franchises.

The new Spider-Man will first appear in an unspecified Marvel film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and dozens of superheroes and villains play.

Sony Pictures will also release the next installment in the Spider-Man movie franchise in 2017. The new film will be co-produced by Marvel's Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, the Sony exec who oversaw the franchise for the past 13 years. Feige and Pascal will "collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger," the companies said, and Sony will finance, distribute, own and have final creative control over Spider-Man.

Marvel's characters from the Cinematic Universe — Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and others — may also make appearances in future Spider-Man movies. Marvel and Sony Pictures say they're "exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU" into future Spidey films.

"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," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a release. "This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."

"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," added Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

"I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie," said 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."

Sony Pictures has maintained rights to Spider-Man since 1999 and produced five films featuring the superhero: three under director Sam Raimi and two under Marc Webb.

Spider-Man was a key character in Marvel's Civil War arc that ran in the company's comic books in 2006. Marvel is producing a new film based on that arc, Captain America: Civil War, which is slated to hit theaters on May 6, 2016.