Who is Avi Arad? MCU fans call producer Spider-Man's 'biggest villain', but here's the real story
Arad's creative control is linked with massive changes to MCU's original vision for Spider-Man, here is everything you need to know about it
Israeli-American businessman and producer Avi Arad isn't exactly a fan favorite. Despite being one of the original brains behind the beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Arad hasn't shared Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige's vision. As a result, he found himself ousted, not just from the MCU but also reportedly from control over his beloved Spider-Man films. A new leak shows us just how bad things have gotten between Marvel and Arad.
A chat revealed on social media reportedly says that Arad had a huge role to play in the first two MCU Spider-Man films. He was however cast aside when Marvel and Sony were renegotiating the beloved character in 2019. We can't verify if this is authentic, but it should have some element of truth to it given Arad's presence in earlier Spider-Man films, including the Raimi trilogy and Marc Webb movies.
If you haven't heard of Arad, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about the businessman and how he ended up being one of the most hated personalities by fans. We also look at the leaks and the truth behind Spidey's MCU contract.
Who is Avi Arad?
Arad was born in 1948 in Israel. As a child, he grew up with Spider-Man and Superman comics which he read in Hebrew. In 1965, he was then conscripted into the Israeli Defence Forces and saw action in the Six-Day War of 1967. In 1970, he moved to the US and enrolled in Hofstra University in New York to study industrial management. To help put himself through university, Arad worked as a truck driver and taught Hebrew. After graduating in 1972, Arad then designed toys for Mattel, Hasbro and Tyco.
In the 1980s, Arad joined Toy Biz where he is credited with the creations of Rollerblade Baby, My Pretty Ballerina, Baby Wanna Walk, Baby Loves to Talk, Magic Bottle Baby and Giggles 'n' Go. He also created a series of X-Men action figures that brought in over $30M. Soon, he was promoted to CEO. In 1993, Toy Biz was acquired by Marvel and Arad was made the head of Marvel Studios. That was a pivotal role for Arad.
Following Marvel's bankruptcy in 1996, Arad was involved in the fraught negotiations with Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman over control of Marvel. Eventually, he came out on top and Toy Biz won the rights to Marvel Comics as well as its more popular characters, including Spider-Man. Arad oversaw the success of several early Marvel films such as 'Blade', 'Hulk', the X-Men series and Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Thanks to him, Marvel emerged from a bankrupt company to a major powerhouse.
However, things quickly changed for Arad. In 2006, he resigned from his various roles at Marvel to produce films independently for the company. His production house Arad Productions took over some of Marvel's films including the Marc Webb Spider-Man films, 'Fantastic Four' and Sony's 'Venom'. He has played a pivotal role in the Spidey films, which have recently seemed to irk Feige and the Marvel team.
Arad's troubles with Marvel
Arad's controversial history with Marvel is well documented. Due to his clout, he often made big creative decisions, which did not always end well. In 2012, he told Omelete that he was responsible for scrapping Raimi's 'Spider-Man 4' in favor of a reboot. "The problem was, we didn't have a story that was strong enough, and warranted making another movie," he said. He also played a pivotal role in Marvel's first two Spidey films — 'Homecoming' and 'Far From Home'.
That role is what landed Arad in trouble. Sony contracted Arad to help shape the Spidey films and since they had final creative control, a lot of Feige and Marvel's ideas never made it to the film. Twitter user Johnny Obeid shared screenshots and said, "Not saying this is true at all or anything of that nature.... but Avi Arad has this track record of controlling things I love love love Homecoming and Far From Home, but if this is true, y’all (that dislike MCU Spider-Man) can no longer blame Holland, Watts, Feige, & Marvel." The screenshots were originally shared by @SaintAvenger2016, from a Spider-Man fan account.
Not saying this is true at all or anything of that nature.... but Avi Arad has this track record of controlling things— Johnny Obeid 🇵🇸 (@JohnnyObeid_) April 18, 2021
I love love love Homecoming and Far From Home, but if this is true, y’all (that dislike MCU Spider-Man) can no longer blame Holland, Watts, Feige, & Marvel 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/rMVLqVOVdx
There's no comment from Sony, Marvel or Arad himself, so we can't say for sure if this is true. That said, Arad had a massive amount of control over Raimi and Webb's Spidey films and the Sony Spiderverse, so it is likely he had a lot of involvement in the MCU films. It's hard to say if he has truly been pushed out of his role for 'No Way Home'. Arad is still listed as a producer for the upcoming 'No Way Home', 'Morbius' and 'Into the Spiderverse' sequel, which means he still has some role to play.
Given the secretive second deal signed by Sony and Marvel in 2019, there is little we know about the details. Nonetheless, Arad has become a punching bag on social media since the messages have gone public. "Since Avi Arad is longer involved with No Way Home, I'm so much more excited for this movie now," one person tweeted. Another said, "I’m becoming more and more hopeful for No Way Home again."
Since Avi Arad is longer involved with No Way Home, I'm so much more excited for this movie now.— tfatws era (@BirdIsSalty) April 19, 2021
I’m becoming more and more hopeful for No Way Home again.— Tanner and the Winter Soldier (@Tanner_Slavin) April 18, 2021
Until we get more details, it's best you take this with a pinch of salt for now. Arad is a huge personality with a long history at Marvel. While the Spider-Man films haven't always been well-loved, it is hard to pin their failures on a single person. Is Arad responsible? Probably, but that's a long way from what the screenshot is alleging.