So by now the dust has settled somewhat, and we’ve had plenty of time to soak in the surprisingly excellent entry into the that was Tom Holland’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Marvel’s smash-hit Captain America: Civil War.
As comic relief with a hell of a lot of heart, Spider-Man seemed to instantly capture the affection of comic book and movie fans alike, and Holland will reprise the role for next year’s Spidey solo outing, .
Spider-Man is an interesting one to introduce to the MCU now, as he has a bit of an edge over other new-coming characters due to the fact that most of us already know what the hugely iconic Marvel hero is about. If not from reading the comic books or watching the animated series, then from the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy, and the Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man twofer.
Sure, there is going to have to be a fair amount of groundwork laid regarding exactly what the new, younger Tom Holland-portrayed Spidey is all about, but beyond Homecoming the scope for Spider-Man movies is almost limitless.
Homecoming And Beyond
We’ve already seen some of this potential in Sony’s planned (and perhaps now canned in the wake of the Sony/Marvel deal) Sinister Six and Venom spin-off features; and the Spider-Man universe is chock full of villains, heroes and everyone in between just waiting to be used.
But what about the Spider-Family? A lot of massively iconic heroes have a support network of similarly themed supes around them, from the famous Bat-Family to the Arrow-Family of the comics which is currently growing in the CW’s “Flarrowverse”. The extended Spider-Man family came front and centre in Marvel’s 2014 Spider-Verse storyline, which saw various incarnations of Spider-Man from across the Marvel multiverse being targeted by Morlun and his family.
Spider-Verse featured every single Spider-Man we’d seen in the page of Marvel comics — yep — even Spider-Ham, as brought the various Spideys together to fight back against Morlun. But why are the Spider-Family important?
The Spider-Man Family
One of Peter Parker’s defining attributes is his lack of immediate, biological family. Raised as an orphan following the death of his parents, the patriarch of his nuclear family — Ben Parker — is killed around the time he receives his powers, due to Peter’s failure to exercise his “great responsibility”.
Though he later discovers he has a half-sister — Teresa Parker/Durand, who was only introduced two years ago in Family Business — in the majority of his comic book iterations his only biological family is his Aunt May. That is, unless you count the Spider-Man Family.
The Family consists of Spider-Men and Spider-Totems, at lot of whom hail from other universes. From Earth-616 (the Marvel baseline Earth) you’ve got Peter’s clones Kaine Parker (Scarlet Spider) and Ben Reilly, as well as Cindy Moon (Silk), ), Cassandra Webb (Madame Web) and more.
Spider-Gwen hails from Earth-65: a universe in which Gwen Stacey was the one bitten by the radioactive spider, with her friend Peter Parker becoming the Lizard and subsequently dying in her arms.
From Earth-1610 (the Ultimate universe) comes Miles Morales who took up the Spider-Man mantle following the death of Peter Parker, and has been a hit with fans as the first half African-American, half Hispanic Spider-Man.
From Earth-982 there are also Peter and Mary Jane’s children, the infant Benjy and Mayday Parker (Spider-Woman). And of course who could forget Spider-Ham — Peter Porker — the pig Spider-Man from Earth-8311?
I could go on, but there isn’t enough time in the day for that and I’m sure we’ll all very busy and important. The point: there’s a hell of a lot of other Spider-People out there, a limitless amount in fact. Though many of them were killed off during the massive Spider-Verse event of 2014, there’s still a huge scope for storytelling using these characters. Case in point: both Silk and Spider-Gwen were spun off into their own comic book series following Spider-Verse due to their popularity with audiences.
Why Do A Spider-Verse Movie?
Of course the MCU is already a pretty damn ambitious piece of work, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well managed to balance such a huge cast. So why bother with a Spider-Verse when we already have a good Marvel-verse established?
It’s Something Different
As previously mentioned, Peter Parker’s alter-ego is one superhero who has been done to death when it comes to cinematic adaptations, with Sony already cranking out five live-action films of vastly differing quality. To be fair though, Marvel/Disney have never had a direct hand in Spider-Man’s on-screen iterations until now, so allowing them the chance to play out their version of a solo Peter Parker Spider-Man now is understandable.
But — although — we already know what he’s all about, and we’ve seen him many times before. The opportunity to see some of the other Spider-Men who have been growing in popularity since the Spider-Verse event — especially Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales — would be incredible.
And as for the movies, you wouldn’t be wrong to say that even at their best (which probably fizzled out around the time of Spider-Man 2) they remained pretty formulaic. Each movie can be boiled down to Spider-Man vs a major villain who has a personal connection to him, Peter Parker’s problems with his job, and his relationship with Mary Jane and/or Gwen Stacey.
It Creates A Support Network For Peter
Of course we’ve known for a while that we’re going to see Robert Downey Jr. popping up in Homecoming as Tony Stark (Iron Man) after the rapport established between the two characters in Captain America: Civil War, presumably to hit on Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) some more, and make jokes about puberty and webbing.
In the comic books — but right now the Avengers as we know them are broken and scattered, .
Spider-Man has typically been swinging solo, but given the success of the Avengers and how exciting it is to see them on screen together, it would be great to see some other Spider-Men being introduced to the MCU for him to bounce off of.
Could It Happen?
Well, it was announced last week that Donald Glover — — has just signed on for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Does this mean we’ll get to see Miles Morales in Homecoming? It’s unlikely due to how early in the game it is for Spider-Man, but not impossible to imagine later down the line.
And indeed — — there’s already the potential to bring in two more Spider-Men in the form of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who could feasibly appear as older Spider-Men from other universes (the Sony-verse, if you will).
Though that suggestion doesn’t help very much with regards to the ‘same old samey formula’ problem, it would be very interesting to see, and a good send off for the characters who kinda just fizzled out with their poor last swings as Spidey in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Joining The Infinity War?
Of course if the Spider-Verse was going to be truly opened up then the way to do it might be through Avengers: Infinity War. If there is potential to introduce more Spider-Men to the MCU, it seems more likely at this juncture that the way to do so would be through bringing in characters from other universes.
Although all Infinity War details are currently are being kept under pretty tight wraps, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that the concept of other universes might come into it. After all, messing with other universes is kinda Thanos’s jam.
If there is the potential to introduce more Spider-Men to the MCU, it seems likely at this juncture that the way to do so would be through bringing in characters from other universes; particularly if they’re older, more experienced ones to act as a foil or mentor to the young Peter Parker.
At the moment , but that could all change with Infinity War, which will really open up the Marvel cinematic to the cosmos. And we’re not forgetting Doctor Strange either, which releases this year featuring the magical, mystical, dimension-hopping Doctor Stephen Strange and will introduce these concepts more firmly into the MCU.
Of course, if the wider Spider-Verse is ever introduced to the MCU it almost definitely won’t be until after Tom Holland has been allowed to have his solo run as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, probably not until after Infinity War as we head into Phase 4 of the cinematic universe.
For now though, we can hope that Glover’s casting in Homecoming is a sign of things to come. Spider-Verse flavored things…
Hey, we can dream, right?
Spider-Man: Homecoming is set to release July 7, 2017.
What do you think? Do you want to see a variation of Spider-Verse introduced to the MCU after Spider-Man: Homecoming? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
MP Staff Writer, thinking too much about comic books since 1992. Tweet me your favourite superheroes, @katgngr