What's next for Spider-Man? The wall-crawler's latest epic adventure has left fans buzzing with delight, and begging for more. Naturally, all eyes have turned to the mid-credits sequence, and fans are wondering: Is this a setup for the Sinister Six? How will the Vulture return? And what's next in the story of this villain who Marvel has actually kept alive?
Here's the catch, though; these questions are based on a fundamental misunderstanding. While there are elements of the mid-credits sequence that are clearly setup, that's not really what the scene is all about. This time round, the mid-credits sequence isn't setup; it's a conclusion. So let's head deep into spoiler territory as we explore what this scene is all about...
Adrian Toomes As A Man Of Honor
Director Jon Watts has embraced a difficult challenge with Spider-Man: Homecoming, working to present the Vulture as a three-dimensional character in his own right. It's all achieved by carefully building up to the critical moment when Adrian Toomes opens his door to Peter Parker, and we suddenly have to deal with the idea that the bad guy is also a family man.
As Marvel visionary Kevin Feige explained to Fandango:
"We worked backwards and forwards from that moment. It was like two movies — it was the movie up until then and the movie after that moment. Because it had to surprise you, but it had to be true, also. You had to believe that we had set it up so that you would buy it [and it] doesn’t seem like something out of left field. That’s a pretty great moment and we didn’t know until we showed it to audiences and every time it was like, “(Gasps),” and then you knew it was okay."
The film's dynamic completely changed at this point, with themes and ideas that are core to the Spider-Man mythos effortlessly slotting into place. No longer is Spider-Man battling the Vulture; now it's Peter Parker against Adrian Toomes. And here's the thing — With both aware of the other's secret, the first thing we learn about Toomes is that he's a man of honor.
While Toomes threatens Peter, he does so in a way that makes it clear; he believes he owes Spider-Man a lot. After all, this was the guy who saved his daughter's life, so Toomes decides to give Peter a chance. Back out, and your life will be spared. It's a wonderful touch, instantly adding a layer of depth to the Vulture's character that you rarely see in superhero films. It's also crucial to keep in mind if you're going to understand the mid-credits scene.
A Redemption Theme
By the film's end, you see, there's essentially something of an honor-bond between Spider-Man and the Vulture. Not only has Spider-Man saved Liz's life, he's gone one better; he's proved himself a true hero by saving the Vulture's life too. When the moment came, Spider-Man didn't even stop to think twice — He dived into the flames to save the man who had threatened to kill everyone he loves. How will such an act of heroism affect a villain who has a sense of honor?
That's why Marvel made the mid-credits sequence. It's not there as setup for Sinister Six, or anything like that. As Kevin Feige told Slash Film, fans have become "conditioned" to expect the credits scenes to be a tease of what's to come, but that's not what they're always about. In this case, the scene doesn't exist to relaunch the Vulture's story. Instead, it exists to close it.
"This was basically just meant to show that Toomes was not a horrible guy, had found himself in this position, and realized this kid saved his daughter, this kid saved his own life. He wouldn’t even be alive if it wasn’t for this kid. And in that moment where he had the opportunity to rat him out and have a guy go after him, he decides to keep the secret, because he appreciated ultimately what Peter did for him. He is one of the few villains to survive a movie, and I think you appreciate it.”
It's a subtle moment of redemption for the film's villain, bringing Adrian Toomes's story to a close. That, incidentally, is why Marvel revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that Keaton was only signed up for the one film — This mid-credits sequence brings the Vulture's story to a definite end. Now, I'm sure Keaton could be persuaded to return, but the fact remains that — at the time of filming — #Marvel had no plans to reprise the role of the Vulture. This mid-credits sequence is no prologue to the 2019 Homecoming sequel, or a teaser to a Sinister Six film. Rather, it's simply an epilogue to Homecoming itself, bringing the story to a beautifully satisfactory close.