Remember when you were a kid and you liked somebody, but you weren’t comfortable asking that person out? So you told a few friends, and maybe they told the friends of the girl or guy you like, and those emissaries determined whether there was mutual interest. If it’s an affirmative, an actual overture could be made without fear of humiliation on either front. If one side isn’t interested, however, the other can safely deny involvement.
The same thing happens at the corporate level. See, for example, the world of Spider-Man, where delicate preliminary conversations between Sony Pictures (which owns the cinematic license on the character) and Marvel Studios (which would like its webslinger back, now that it has its own massively successful string of superhero pictures) are underway.
Will Spidey be joining Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Black Widow on the big screen in the near future? No. Sources on both sides confirm that much. But a few years from now… that’s a possibility, at least according to EW’s sources. (Official reps for the two studios both declined to comment.)
But that’s the extent of it: possibility. There are several variables that need to play out before anything concrete happens. Here are the facts as we hear them from several well-placed sources: