Tom Holland's extended cameo as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War introduced us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of Spider-Man, and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming will kickstart the third live-action Spider-Man franchise — with a little help from Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. It will also feature the return of Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, who looks after Peter in Queens, New York.
In the comics, Peter Parker moved in with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, who raised him after the death of his parents, making him the man he becomes. (Of course, Uncle Ben later dies tragically as well.) But why did Stan Lee decide to put Peter through such a horrible childhood in the first place?
CinemaBlend sat down with the director of The Amazing Spider-Man series, Marc Webb, and he revealed Stan Lee's thought process:
"My big question for him was why are all superheroes orphans.You know, Spider-Man, Superman, Harry Potter...they're all orphans! And he sat and thought about it, he's like, 'I don't know!' 'Well, why did you make Peter Parker an orphan?' And he said, 'I didn't think about it much. I just wanted to get him out of the house!'"
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Perhaps that's an anticlimactic explanation. A few years back, however, when Stan Lee was asked the same question by GeekNation, he answered:
"Peter Parker’s parents had to be murdered so that I could give him his aunt to live with, and I wanted him to be an orphan. I wanted Peter Parker to have a really tough life. I guess I was not in a good mood when I did that."
While it still sounds like Stan Lee is joking a bit, the truth is that Peter's "really tough life" is what drives him to be a hero. Similarly, Bruce Wayne losing his parents and Matthew Murdock losing his father are integral parts of their origin stories, inspiring their lifelong fights against crime.
The difference, perhaps, is that Bruce Wayne and Matthew Murdock were both children when criminals took away their families, so they had years to process their losses — but Peter's crimefighting journey began as a teenager immediately after the death of his Uncle Ben. Peter loved and respected Uncle Ben; taking revenge on Uncle Ben's killer (not the fact that Peter was orphaned) is what drove him to become Spider-Man, and perhaps this is why Spider-Man always had a more impulsive personality as a hero.
So, while Stan Lee may tease us about how "I just wanted to get him out of the house," the truth is that a great superhero needs a compelling personal reason to protect others — just being a generally nice person isn't motivation enough. Lee, a storytelling master of the medium, is keenly aware of this fact on the page, even if he's earned the right to be coy about it in person.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens on July 7, 2017. Are you excited? Let us know why in the comments section down below.