Spider-Man: Homecoming gave us quintessential big-screen Spidey moments, but there was one crucial component of the web-slinger's origin story that was absent from the film. After Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen brought Uncle Ben to life in the previous continuities, Marvel elected not to feature him in Spidey's MCU solo debut. He was alluded to, but never explicitly named in the film.
That wasn't always the plan, however. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley revealed the scene they originally wrote:
“It was when [Peter] was getting ready for homecoming and the wardrobe she was giving Peter was all Uncle Ben’s clothes. It was a nice moment, but we also knew that it veered away from his arc. If you’re going to talk about someone’s death, you don’t want it to be a throwaway.”
Giving Uncle Ben The Credit He Deserves
Though it might have been nice to actually hear the name "Ben" in the film, it does make sense to leave him out. Uncle Ben is a hugely important figure in #SpiderMan's mythos; he's the man who inspired his nephew to become the hero we all love today. As John Francis Daley says, you can't just flippantly refer to someone's death, especially someone as important as Ben, so it's totally fair that they removed this scene.
Rather than treading old ground — audiences have already seen Ben die on screen twice before — Spider-Man: Homecoming makes clear nods to Peter's uncle. Specifically, the scene when Peter tells Ned to keep his secret and the scene in the Thai restaurant.
In the former, Peter begs his best friend not to tell Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) the truth about the Stark internship after "everything she's been through," clearly referring to losing Uncle Ben. In the latter, May gets very emotional when she feels that Peter is being very distant while in the restaurant. She also turns down the waiter's advances; perhaps she just wasn't into the guy, but after all, she is still grieving for her husband.
Could Aunt May Get A New Relationship In The Sequel?
The Homecoming screenwriters also discussed the changes to Aunt May, a radical character alteration that fans have embraced. She's much younger than her predecessors, Rosemary Harris and Sally Field, but it's totally plausible that a 15-year-old would have an aunt in her late forties or early fifties, as opposed to the traditional Aunt May who was in her sixties or seventies. Here's what Goldstein said:
“We loved the idea of a cool aunt. In an early draft we actually even had her dating a guy, and part of her relationship with Peter was this inappropriate frankness. It didn’t make the cut, but I could see in the sequel she could get a boyfriend. She doesn’t have to be a mourning widow.”
Hey, Tony Stark spends time flirting with her when they first meet in Captain America: Civil War, and even eats the terrible walnut date loaf she makes. Who knows, maybe Pepper Potts will reject him and he'll move on to May?
Marisa Tomei might look a little different to the norm, but she certainly has a few of May's characteristics: she worries about Peter, just as she does in the comics, and it's obvious that she cares for him dearly. Deep down she's still the Aunt May we know and love.
Uncle Ben and Aunt May are both hugely influential figures in Peter Parker's life, and by extension, play vital roles in Spider-Man's story. Though Ben Parker wasn't directly referenced in the new film, it's clear that his influence defines Peter as a hero. Spider-Man: Homecoming manages to honor Ben's memory without covering old ground.
Did you miss Uncle Ben in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let me know in the comments!