Every blogger who bloggedy blogs about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is desperately trying to write through every angle of last night’s comic book quaking news that Sony and Marvel inked a deal to share Spider-Man.
Put as simple as possible, our favorite Webhead can now canoodle with Black Widow, talk tech with Tony Stark and compare Great Responsibility cards with Captain America.
With that comes a flood - no, a tsunami - of speculation. Which movie will Spidey appear in first? Who will play Peter Parker? Who should play Peter Parker? Should the stand alone film in 2017 be an origin story? Should it pick up where director Marc Webb’s films left off? What storyline should it be? Spider-Island? Spider-Verse? Oh, oh, oh! Kraven’s Last Hunt.
See? There are listicles of listicles to be written about Spider-Man’s inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper. Is Parker young? Is he old? Is he married? Is he single? Does he own his own company? Is he a professor at Empire State? Is he Miles Morales?!?
But how does Spidey fit in now?
While all those ideas are certainly swirling around my brain, what I’m most interested in right now is how Spidey will fit into the MCU. In a way, this is unprecedented. The MCU was built from the seed of Iron Man, pollinated by Sam Jackson’s credit tag entrance as Nick Fury, sporting a manilla folder labeled Avengers Initiative.
Now we have an established Marvel hero from what we might as well call a parallel universe. Does Marvel acknowledge what has come before? Or does it simply allow those films to live in those parallel universes? Does Marvel treat those franchises like it might treat the Ultimate line of Marvel Comics?
Maybe. And that wouldn’t be such a terrible idea. Hell, you could almost set up a Spider-Verse story in which Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire reprise their roles with whomever might portray our new wall crawler in an action packed, universe leaping film filled with totem sucking vampire-things.
At best, Marvel should just let it be. Should just allow that their universe was always inhabited by a Spider-Man, but one we haven’t met yet. Our experience with those multiverse Spideys have provided enough of a background to establish who Peter Parker is and what Spider-Man does that no origin is necessary.
So then, how does he fit in? How will Marvel introduce Spider-Man?
Civil War Spidey
The Wall Street Journal seems to think this introduction will come in Captain America: Civil War. On this surface, this feels like wedging in a major character in a film filled with major characters. But it doesn’t have to work that way at all. Spidey can be a minor character in Civil War. He can be a bit of an audience surrogate - caught up in the political intrigue, unsure how it affects someone like him directly. Until he’s unmasked for all the world to see.
In many ways, the Russo Bros could pull off some nice meta subtext here. If they show Spidey in costume - and only in costume - during moments at the front of the movie, they can create a true “moment” for both inworld characters and real world viewers: our first glimpse at this universe’s Peter Parker.
From there, Parker is swept off the Civil War stage. Maybe a moment or tag at the end of the film that introduces his stand-alone film in 2017.
That film is set-up in Civil War. Set-up because everyone knows who Peter Parker is. He’s a target now. And his family are targets. Targets to be hunted down.
Introducing Kraven the Hunter
And who better to do any kind of hunting that Kraven the Hunter?
That would offer up a film we could call Spider-Man: The Last Hunt in which Parker must save Aunt May, MJ, J Jonah Jameson and others from Kraven’s wrath. In a way, this would ground the story a bit - allow it to live somewhere between the Netflix series with Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones (his New Avengers counterparts) - while still existing in the bigger MCU movies.
After defeating Kraven, Spidey could rely on the help of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange to allow Spider-Man’s identity to once more disappear into the aether.
It also allows Strange to recruit Spidey for a bigger battle. An Infinity War.