That Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer. Amiright?
Just about everything you could hope for: Spidey quipping with the bad guys! No superhero — or high school — respect for Peter Parker! And Tony Stark! Let’s make it abundantly clear Spidey is now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We also saw a whole lot of inspiration from the Ultimate Spider-Man universe. And that’s got me worried. Worried for Peter Parker.
How so? Because maybe — just maybe — Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first film in a trilogy that sets up the death of Peter Parker and the rise of Miles Morales. Here are a couple clues.
Peter Parker’s Ultimate Problems
There’s little doubt our new Peter Parker, portrayed by Tom Holland, is operating in a universe heavily influenced by the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Parker’s best friend, Ned Leeds, looks and acts a lot like Ganke Lee, Miles Morales’s friend. (Miles, as you know, is the other Spider-Man running around the Marvel Universe these days.)
The mysterious Michelle, portrayed by Zendaya, may or may not be Mary Jane Watson. Unlike the model/actress M.J., the regular Marvel Universe’s Parker knows all too well, this possible (probable?) M.J. is more like her Ultimate counterpart: bookish, a little nerdy, introverted.
Even Parker’s primary antagonist, The Vulture, looks like a riff on the teched-out Vulture in Ultimate Spider-Man.
But, most telling of all? Parker’s superhero issues — very specific superhero issues —are the same as Ultimate Spider-Man’s. The same issues that Parker had at a very specific time in his life.
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'To Become an Avenger, Are There Trials?'
Part way through the trailer, Parker asks Stark, “So, to become an Avenger, are there trials or an interview?” Stark gently pushes back, eventually telling Parker that, yes, school sucks, but he’s not ready to be an Avenger.
Later, Parker confides in his friend Ned that he’s sick of Stark treating him like a kid. Parker wants to be a big-time superhero. And he has a chance to prove himself to the Avengers: Likely taking on a gaggle of super villains alone.
In the Ultimate Spider-Man story arc “The Death of Spider-Man,” Parker faced similar problems. There’s even a point where the Ultimates, the Avengers’ name in the Ultimate universe, discuss what to do with Parker. Stark wants to train him and Steve Rogers wants to ground him. (Go figure, those two not seeing eye to eye.) Eventually it’s decided that the Ultimates will train Parker to be a better hero.
Sure, sounds like that’s what Tony’s doing in Homecoming. And like how Ultimate Tony gifts Parker with upgraded webshooters, our Homecoming Tony gives Parker wings.
Is Peter Parker Going to Die? Oh No!
"Oh no" is right. Because the similarities don’t end there.
Based on the trailer, fans are speculating about the formation of the Sinister Six — originally The Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio and Sandman. In the trailer, we see a couple of these villains, notably Vulture and, likely, The Shocker, standing in for Electro. There’s even a shot of a figure in silhouette sporting a furry collar...some version of Kraven?
But here’s the kicker. In the “Death of Spider-Man” storyline, Norman Osborn, a.k.a. the Green Goblin, breaks Doc Ock, Electro, Sandman, Kraven and the Vulture out of maximum security prison in an effort to build an army to take down Spider-Man once and for all. They even crash the Tinkerer’s hideout to steal weapons.
The bummer part? It works.
So, if we get a glimpse of Osborn in Homecoming and more of him in the sequel, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that this very scenario might be the plot of the final film in a Spider-Man trilogy.
But Why Kill Peter Parker?
Honestly? To make room for Miles Morales.
Peter Parker’s death in the Ultimate universe led to the introduction of Miles Morales, a young African-American/Latino teenager who was miraculously bitten by the same spider that bit Peter Parker.
I previously speculated that the casting of Abraham Attah, a 15-year-old Ghana-born actor best known for his role in Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation, could mean our young Miles will appear. That post came off another in which I suggest that Donald Glover might play Jefferson Davis, Miles’s father. After all, Glover is the "real-world" father of the Miles Morales character in a lot of ways, since his quest to be Spider-Man inspired Miles’s comic book birth. Using him as anyone but Davis is almost a crime.
In the comics, Davis is lured into the criminal underworld by his brother, Aaron, eventually becoming an informant for S.H.I.E.L.D. Screenshots of Glover looking like an unwilling participant in some high-tech ne’er-do-well seems to — at this point — support the idea.
Aaron is The Prowler, a thief who steals tech from OsCorp, Norman Osborn’s company. Rather than The Prowler, Homecoming's Aaron Davis could be the Shocker. Combining characters is an age-old film adaptation technique.
In the comics, Aaron accidentally carries the radioactive spider in a duffel bag to Jefferson's and Miles’s apartment, where Miles is bit.
If speculative memory serves, The Shocker is connected to The Tinkerer in Homecoming. And Tinkerer works with The Vulture at OsCorp.
So all the pieces are coming together. That spider bite is a scene we could easily see in Homecoming.
So Wait Walk Me Through This Again
Again, Spider-Man: Homecoming may be the first film in a trilogy that sets up the death of Peter Parker and the rise of Miles Morales.
As Holland’s Parker battles his way through two Spider-Man films and two Avengers films, we may see the parallel origin story of Attah’s Morales.
Holland’s fifth and final MCU film would be a third Spider-Man, in which he and Morales battle the Green Goblin and the rest of the Sinister Six — to the death. (In the comics, Johnny Storm fought alongside Parker.)
At the end of that film, maybe we see Miles put on Spidey’s costume, keeping Parker’s identity secret, swinging off into the night.
And we gear up for a Spider-Man trilogy with Morales in the lead.
Do you think Peter Parker will die in the MCU, or will they keep him alive forever? Let us know in the comments below!