As everybody's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker has a working relationship with just about everyone in the Marvel Universe. He's been on a bunch of solo missions with Wolverine, fought Hydra with Captain America, and even worked closely with Tony Stark. Peter was even Stark's apprentice before (and during) Civil War, but his strongest relationships have always been with ground-level heroes. Given the character's history with the likes of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil, fans have been speculating as to whether these heroes will ever meet within the MCU.
When asked about a crossover between Netflix's Defenders and Sony's Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Homecoming producer Eric Carroll told screenrant.com,
"I think that’s something we all think would be really fun and it’s definitely a card I would love to see played, if not sooner rather than later. But as of now, it’s not referenced in this movie."
Although he's always been one of Marvel's biggest names, Spider-Man's greatest concern has always been street-level conflicts (hence his nickname, "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man"). That being said, could Spidey realistically come face-to-face with the live-action Defenders? Although it would be something for #Netflix, Sony and Marvel to figure out, there were many fans that believed an MCU Spider-man was impossible a few years ago. And yet, here we are in 2017, with Spider-man: Homecoming about to grave our local theaters.
This leads us to an important question: what is the relationship between Spider-Man and Netflix's ground-level heroes? With that in mind, here's why Peter Parker has an interesting history with the Defenders.
1. Luke Cage: A Fellow Avenger
- First Encounter: Amazing Spider-Man #123
Unfortunately, Luke Cage and Spider-Man first met as enemies when J. Jonah Jameson hired Luke Cage to take out Spider-Man. Jameson will do just about anything he can to prove that Spider-Man is a menace, which led to between the two Marvel heroes going head-to-head without good reason. Eventually, Luke and Peter talk it out (after Spider-Man restrains Cage with his web), and Luke realizes he's fighting for the wrong side. Luke later visits J. Jonah and shoves his payment into Jonah's mouth.
Needless to say, this would be a fantastic crossover on the small screen, and would be an awesome storyline to introduce Jameson to the MCU. Because Luke and Spider-Man are so similar when it comes to saving lives, their interaction would make for great television.
Spider-Man openly likes Luke in the comics, but usually Luke acts like he doesn't respect Spidey for what he represents. Despite how Cage may act, Luke brought Spider-Man along when Steve Rogers gave him the chance to form his own Avengers line-up.
2. Iron Fist: New York's Saviors
- First Encounter: Marvel Team-Up Vol 1 #31 featuring Spider-Man and Iron Fist (1977)
In comparison to the other Defenders, Iron Fist has the weakest relationship to Spider-Man. However, Danny Rand was there for one of Spider-Man's greatest comic book battles. Iron Fist and Spider-Man fought together (along with Captain America, Firestar, Venom, and Cloak and Dagger) against Carnage, who had used Shriek to make the people of New York uncontrollably violent.
At one point, Danny used his chi to calm down a group of New Yorkers. When Spider-Man saw this, he asked if he could learn the same skill - but Danny told him it would take years of training. If not for the help of Iron Fist during this time, New York would have descended into chaos and Spider-man would probably have died at the hands of Carnage. Just like in Ultimate Spider-Man, #IronFist's ability to keep up with Spider-Man in a fight would be fantastic to see in live-action.
3. Daredevil: Masked Confidants
- First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #16, 1964
With the exception of the Fantastic 4, Spider-Man is closer to #Daredevil than any other superhero in Marvel comics. The two of them share the same moral code and both feel guilty about the tragedies they were unable to prevent. Peter Parker and Matt Murdock even confided in each other with their secret identities, something that both heroes keep close to the chest.
Whenever it seemed like Matt was about to jump off the deep end with his infamous anger, or when he was possessed by a demon (in Marvel's Shadowland), Spider-Man was right there helping Matt Murdock get it together. Similarly, when Peter needs an ear, Matt would always be there for him.
In recent issues, the two haven't been as close. With Spider-Man going global with Parker Industries and Matt Murdock moving to the west coast of America, they don't have adventures like they used to. However, the ongoing friendship between these two means that they will surely be reunited before long.
4. Punisher: A Duo With Conflicting Values
- First Encounter: Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #129 1974
This is not a happy partnership. In fact, Spider-Man absolutely hates #Punisher and everything he stands for. Meanwhile, Punisher thinks Spider-Man is a kid that needs to realize that keeping his villains alive is foolish. Somehow, they end up working together frequently in Marvel comics, even though both characters hate it.
Like Luke Cage, the first time they met (which was also Punisher's first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #129) was when Punisher tried to kill Spider-Man. This time, Spidey was being hunted due to the death of Norman Osborn. A Spider-Man movie would actually be a great place for Punisher, especially because of their conflicting values - something that would be great to explore on the big screen.
5. Jessica Jones: An Unrequited Teen Crush
- First Encounter: Alias Volume 1 #23 (2004) (as Peter Parker)
Although it sounds strange to those who are only familiar with their live-action interpretations, Jessica Jones had a crush on Peter Parker when they were in high school together. Before she could get a chance to tell Peter how she felt, he was bitten by a radioactive spider and (as we all know) his life was changed forever. Later, an accident gave Jessica her own powers, but also resulted in the death of her family and left her in a coma.
When she awoke and went back to school, Flash Thompson and the rest of his crew started calling Jessica "Coma Girl". Peter later went to console her, but the conversation didn't go as he'd planned. However, if not for this conversation, Jessica never would have discovered her superpowers.
When Spider-Man was given the option of telling the New Avengers his identity or leaving the team, he took off his mask. It was only here when Jessica told Peter that they knew each other, and that she'd been in love with him during their school years. Of course, the MCU timeline makes this particular storyline impossible, but it's a nice piece of trivia to know that Jessica was once head-over-heels in love with our friendly neighborhood Spider-man.
Given the rich history between Spidey and the current Defenders line-up, it would be fantastic to see these characters interacting in live-action. Whether or not this will ever come to fruition is uncertain, but is hopefully something Sony, Netflix and Marvel are actively thinking about.
Which Marvel Netflix show would you most like to see Spider-Man appear in? Let me know in the comments below!