With numerous references to the Avengers, the Sokovia Accords and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming really makes it seem as if Peter Parker has lived in this workd all along. Indeed, we recently discovered that even as a small child, Peter Parker bore witness to some pivotal events in the #MCU — namely Whiplash’s (Mickey Rourke) attack on the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2. And that’s not all; recent comments from several prominent figures in Marvel and Sony have suggested that the sequels to Spider-Man: Homecoming may revisit some other hugely formative events in Spider-Man’s life — though not as we know them.
Could Uncle Ben Have Died In The End Battle Of The Avengers?
After making Spider-Man: Homecoming a critical and financial success, director Jon Watts is widely expected to helm the film’s sequel. So when he sat down with Germain Lussier from io9, talk naturally turned to where he might take the series. Intriguingly, Watts specified that he wanted to revisit two of the MCU’s game-changing events from Peter Parker’s youthful perspective:
“… [The first would be] seeing Tony Stark on TV, revealing to the world that he’s Iron Man. That would be so dramatic. Then, yes, the events at the end of Avengers would be a big deal to a little kid. And I think that might be something that would be worth exploring.”
On balance, revisiting these scenarios makes a whole lot of sense. After all, Peter has idolized Tony Stark (#RobertDowneyJr) for some time, so the fact that his role model became a superhero would definitely leave a big impression on him. Plus, New York is Spider-Man’s stomping ground, so the Chitauri Invasion would be another thematically rich event to explore from Peter's (admittedly diminutive) perspective. It’s very clear that the filmmakers are working hard to distinguish #TomHolland’s Spider-Man from his predecessors by giving him a longstanding personal history in the MCU. But these recollections of Peter's past might feature as more than just a fun reference for fans.
Certainly, when io9 casually suggested to Watts that Uncle Ben could even have died in the Battle of New York, Watts cryptically replied that the idea was “interesting.” Intriguingly, io9 also stated that both Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige kept silent when they were pressed on the same issue, and tellingly, they too expressed their desire to delve into Peter’s past in future films. So could we see a flashback to Uncle Ben being caught in the crossfire at the end of #TheAvengers? Hoo-boy, our Spider-senses are tingling now, and for good reason!
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Parker In The MCU
As we all know, Ben Parker and his death are hugely pivotal parts of Spider-Man’s origin story in the comics, but neither Homecoming nor Captain America: Civil War mentioned him directly. These two movies only allude to his passing, such as when Peter tells Ned (Jacob Batalon) that his Aunt May had been through a lot. Since we’ve had both Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen’s versions of Ben Parker kicking the bucket onscreen, it is quite understandable that Marvel would want to avoid repeating themselves with yet another rehash of his death. But now that we’ve heard these statements from Jon Watts, does Marvel’s reticence hint at something more? Are Jon Watts, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal really looking to connect the birth of Spider-Man with other established events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Even though no one is confirming anything at this early stage, io9 is quick to note that:
“...how Peter dealt with the Chitauri invasion is considered a crucial part of the character’s development [at Marvel]...”
It definitely seems like Marvel are planning to tackle something major in Peter Parker’s past. But is this a good idea? We here at Movie Pilot are all for inter-connectivity, but honestly, tying the death of Uncle Ben into the Battle of New York might be a step too far. Spider-Man: Homecoming has already caused problems since it doesn’t fit into the time-frame that’s already been established by The Avengers. Adding Uncle Ben into the mix would only further complicate matters.
Regardless of whether it’s eight or four years between the end battle of The Avengers and Spider-Man’s first appearance in Civil War, the latter film establishes that Peter acquired his spider-powers six months before the Sokovia Accords. Some fans might wonder "why is this so important to the death of Uncle Ben?" Well, it’s long been established that Ben dies not long after Peter gains — and selfishly uses — his powers. The simple and effective link between Spidey's abuse of power and Ben Parker’s death is widely considered to be a sacrosanct event in #SpiderMan’s canon. If Marvel Studios plan to have Ben die years before Peter gets his “stick-em” powers, they could risk diluting the power of this classic tale for the sake of inter-film connectivity.
Plus this kind of move could re-invite the ire of many moviegoers and fans, who have already balked at Homecoming's changes to the source material. The slight suggestion that #TomHolland's Spider-Man wouldn't have a spider-sense caused such outrage that Kevin Feige had to step in and calm it, and the less said about the outcry over Zendaya’s casting the better. Not to mention, Spider-Man 3’s twist that the villain Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) had killed Uncle Ben really didn’t sit well with a lot of hardcore Spider-Man aficionados. Therefore, it does seem strange that Marvel would similarly change something that’s so deeply embedded in Spider-Man’s canon, when it could prove to be hugely detrimental for the reinvigorated series in the long run.
Unless there’s some really nifty writing to counter it, these changes to Uncle Ben's death could be problematic. However, if we're still some way off seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming's sequels, so these plans may very well change beforehand. And let's not forget that Marvel have rarely put a foot wrong with their origin stories. There's plenty to suggest that Peter Parker's past and future are safe in Marvel's hands.
Which events in the MCU would you like the Spider-Man series to revisit? Head to the comments and let us know!
[Source: io9 Gizmodo]