Now that Spider-Man: No Way Home has been out for roughly a week (depending on your location), Marvel fans know a little bit about Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) long-term MCU status. In fact, the little bit of confirmation the film offers is surprising in light of the off-screen adventure Holland, Sony (who holds the rights to the character), and Marvel Studios went on to make No Way Home. Or, maybe, that great contract dispute of 2019 was just some long-game hype for the eventual film and what it establishes for Spider-Man.
And if you’re unaware of what that is, consider this your SPOILER WARNING.
Instead of what we expected – Holland’s Spider-Man moving to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe – the character’s identity has been forgotten by the world at large. Even those close to him, like MJ (Zendaya), Ned (Jacob Batalon), and Happy (Jon Favreau) are unaware of who he is. The magic involved also seemingly removed the Tony Stark element, which means all of Peter’s advanced tech is lost to him. Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man is very much the down-on-his-luck do-gooder readers love in the comics.
But he is still in the MCU. That distinction matters, as the film leaves a number of possibilities for future stories there, even as Sony continues to build a universe of its own. And to confirm a more friendly relationship between the two production entities, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed an MCU Spider-Man 4 is already in development.
What might that look like? And what directions could the Holland Spider-Man take in the next phase of his life? Also, what will the Sony Spider-Man Universe look like without this Peter joining their ranks? Follow us on a thought experiment into the places Spider-Man could go.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment)
In contrast to the first three MCU films’ emphasis on “home,” the next film could place a greater focus on Peter as a young man living in the city. As teased in No Way Home’s final moments, rent will finally be an issue for him, and it’s pretty easy to imagine he’ll start delivering footage of Spider-Man to J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) in order to make ends meet. We also think he’ll go back to fighting street crime, like he did before Tony Stark entered his life.
Also, it is entirely possible his resolve to let MJ and Ned go will lead to new friends and, maybe, another love for Spider-Man. Felicia Hardy (played by Felicity Jones In The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is presumably out there somewhere. As for friends, it is also possible for Bobby Drake (X-Men’s Iceman) and Angelica Jones (aka Firestar) to make their debuts as Peter’s amazing new compatriots. Maybe circumstances will force him to move in with them.
But emotionally, trying to build a new life will be tough for Peter as he knows exactly who and where MJ and Ned are. No Way Home spent so much time building their dynamic that we seriously doubt it will be gone for long. Although, it is possible this won‘t be resolved in Spider-Man 4.
(Photo by Nicole Rivelli/©Netflix)
Despite the events of the Hawkeye finale, we seriously doubt Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is down for the count. And when he returns, we also doubt it will be long before he notices the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man busting up his operations in Manhattan.
Although Fisk is better associated with Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox, once again), the character began as a Spider-Man villain. They’ve been tussling on and off since 1967 — although Vanessa put an end to their fight for a good long while. Previously, the complicated rights situation, which saw the Daredevil characters at Fox and Spider-Man at Sony, made an on-screen fight between them seemingly impossible. Now with both characters now established in the MCU, their long-delayed cinematic title bout is possible. And with Holland and D’Onofrio playing the parts, it will be as much a battle of wits and bon mots as it will be one of physical prowess.
Curiously, though, one avenue of attack Fisk will not be able to take is striking out at Peter’s family, as he currently has none. This might make Spider-Man the best-suited of the New York heroes to deal with Kingpin. Even Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) has a mom to think about.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment)
Although No Way Home’s mid-credit stinger suggests a meeting between Venom and Peter in the short-term, we have a slightly different suspicion of future events. Spider-Man famously first wore the black Spider-Suit in the 1984 Marvel Comics crossover event Secret Wars. The story saw characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Doctor Doom pulled to the distant Battleworld by the Beyonder to war among one another for his seeming amusement. In issue #8, Peter searches for a machine that generates new costumes and gear. Presuming he found it, a glob of goo bonds with his existing threads, creating the black suit. Subsequent writers took the black-suited Spider-Man down a darker path and, ultimately, the suit took on a mind of its own, bonded with Eddie Brock, and became Venom.
So, let’s just imagine a film called Avengers: Secret Wars. Spider-Man is pulled to Battleworld with the rest of the existing heroes in, say, 2027, where he encounters the symbiote at long last.
Admittedly, that means an MCU version of the Venom story would have to wait for a possible Spider-Man 5, but with Spider-Man film producer Amy Pascal already saying a second trilogy is on the way, this would make for an interesting middle chapter.
(Photo by Matt Kennedy/©Sony Pictures Releasing)
If Spider-Man is staying in the MCU, than he has to have a pretty prominent role in the eventual fight against Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), right? Some suggest the events of No Way Home positioned Peter to eventually become the leader of the Avengers – although, that seemed to be the takeaway from Spider-Man: Far From Home as well – and that would make a confrontation with the Multiversal tyrant inevitable.
Like our theoretical Secret Wars film, this is a story to follow Spider-Man 4 and its seeming want to be more grounded. Nevertheless, the box office response to No Way Home may see Marvel and Sony wanting Peter in that place of authority – whether he wants it or not.
Bringing Peter into the Multiverse problem could even offer Sony’s Spider-Man Universe the chance to see the Holland incarnation. Although, that may already be in the cards…
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)
Now that the events of No Way Home are more or less public knowledge, the focus moves to Morbius as the next Spider-Man-related film. Its trailers leave us with a question: is the film set in the MCU? With Spidey’s low public image peppering the walls of the film, and the appearance of Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), it may be a stealth MCU release and another sign of the growing relationship between Sony and Marvel. The film could also take place in a universe very similar to the MCU where Peter wears Tom Holland’s face. We won’t have to wait too long for the answer there, though, as the long-delayed Mobius hits theaters next month.
Meanwhile, now that we’ve seen all three live action Spider-Men in one place, we seriously doubt they’ll be absent from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One or Part Two). If even just for voice cameos, the trio – with Holland in particular – could further strengthen the idea of a true multi-platform Multiverse with an appearance. Wilder still would be a live-action crossover with the animated Miles (Shameik Moore) and Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld). Wild is the Spider-Verse playbook, after all.
And speaking of the other two live action Peters …
(Photo by Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
One absolute outlier of a possibility is that Sony, director Sam Raimi, and Tobey Maguire reuniting to finally make Spider-Man 4. The film was famously cancelled in 2010 in favor of The Amazing Spider-Man, with leftover tensions from Spider-Man 3 no doubt contributing despite cordial recollections from all involved. Nevertheless, as Raimi recently said, he never expected to direct another superhero film after the heartache of making Spider-Man 3 and the development of Spider-Man 4.
But now the situation is different: Raimi is making Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Maguire returned as Peter for some pretty emotional scenes in No Way Home. The brief mention of post-Spider-Man 3 events offers tantalizing clues to his life with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and, maybe, a new member of the Parker clan. Fans online are already asking for this and the debut of Mayday Parker, a comic book character with her own history as the Amazing Spider-Girl.
(Photo by Jamie Trueblood/©Columbia Pictures)
And while we’re talking outliers, Andrew Garfield reminded us of just how good he was in those Amazing Spider-Man movies, and we’d love to see The Amazing Spider-Man 3 if only to see him find his MJ. Well, and see him clean up after the bitter, dark years he mentioned in No Way Home. Come to think of it, wouldn’t it be amazing if the Spider-Man glimpsed in Morbius was Garfield?
That sense of limitless possibility (and interconnection) is one of the great gifts of No Way Home. Sure, Into the Spider-Verse offered a first glimpse of it, but now we can see the infinite choices ahead for Peter, Sony, and Marvel.
Provided they can all stay neighborly, of course.