This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and lots of speculation on things to come.
Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man stepped up to headline his own movie in Spider-Man: Homecoming, building on the foundations of Captain America: Civil War to bring his unique brand of nervous excitement and haphazard heroics to the big screen.
Sony and Marvel Studios will continue to collaborate on the Spidey franchise going forward, thrusting Peter into more zany situations and crossing him over with more iconic Avengers. Here’s a rundown of what to expect next, blended with a bit of our own speculation…
Avengers: Infinity War
It’s fairly widely known that Tom Holland has already begun filming for Avengers: Infinity War, the third movie in Marvel Studios’ epic team-up franchise, which will pit Earth’s mightiest heroes against Josh Brolin’s Mad Titan, Thanos.
The fact that Holland was covered up in a puffa jacket in the first footage released from the set may or may not be significant. Was young Mr Holland simply a bit chilly that day, or were the powers-that-be trying to hide a new Spidey costume under that eye-catching piece of winter wear?
Of course, Homecoming ended with Peter eschewing an offer to join the Avengers, turning down a shiny new costume – reminiscent of the ‘Iron Spider’ threads from the Civil War comics – as part of the bargain.
Perhaps Thanos will bring the fight to Earth in Infinity War, and Tony will reach out to Peter, offering a new outfit in exchange for assistance. (There’s a precedent in the comics for Spidey helping out the Avengers without being an ironclad member of the team. That was a commonplace occurrence for a while.)
That’s just plain old guesswork on our part, though. Plot details are thin on the ground regarding Infinity War and its as yet untitled sequel. The first film is due in April 2018, and the second one in April 2019. It’ll probably be a while before we even see a trailer.
One thing’s for sure: fighting aliens and meeting spacefaring superheroes like the Guardians Of The Galaxy is bound to send Peter into overexcited mode again. Maybe he’ll start another video diary!
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming’s sequel has been given an American release date of July 5th 2019, placing it a couple of months after Avengers 4 – the sequel to Infinity War – in the grand overarching mega narrative.
Marvel Cinematic Universe overlord Kevin Feige explained recently, to the Toronto Sun, that Avengers 4 will wrap up the MCU’s “original 22-movie arc”, and “it will be Peter and Spider-Man [in Homecoming’s sequel] that usher us into the aftermath and how things proceed from there.”
This makes a fair bit of sense when you think about it. After all, Homecoming built its narrative around the detritus left behind by superhero battles. The MCU versions of The Vulture and Shocker developed their tech from the wreckage wrought by previous Avengers scuffles.
It seems safe to assume that there will be lots of cool stuff lying around after Infinity War and Avengers 4. The final showdown with Thanos is sure to be as big and bombastic as any of the previous Earth-threatening conflicts.
But, in keeping with the scaled back perspective of Homecoming, one assumes that Peter Parker will also have personal issues to contend with when his second solo movie rolls around. For one thing, the final pre-end-credits shot of Homecoming saw Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May discovering that Peter is Spider-Man. That’s bound to have some repercussions.
This was a smart move, plonking this new version of Spidey into a situation he’s never explicitly been in before, at least on the big screen. Will May knowing Peter’s secret hinder his ability to sneak out of windows and into the night? Or might it mean that she’s put into more immediate danger than before? We’ll have to keep watching to find out.
In a recent interview with us, Homecoming’s director Jon Watts revealed that he has been putting together a scratchpad of ideas for Spidey’s cinematic future. Here’s hoping he can repeat the joyful fun of watching Homecoming, whilst also upping the action ante and the person stakes for Peter.
The Sinister Six?
In the prison-set mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes – looking particularly lively, for someone who should’ve exploded a few scenes prior – bumped into Mac Gargan (played by Michael Mando), and hatched a vague plan to cause some trouble.
Gargan was the guy that Toomes was trying to sell weapons to, on the Staten Island Ferry, earlier on in the film. Fans of the comics will immediately recognise the name: Mac Gargan is the civilian identity of the villainous Scorpion. And to hammer the point home, the cinematic Gargan has a scorpion tattoo on his neck.
Gargan suggests that he knows a few people on the outside that might like to harm Spidey. And although Toomes refused to reveal Spidey’s secret identity, he’s probably still keen for revenge.
This seems like a nice organic way to build a Sinister Six: with a gang of regular crooks, utilising the best tech available, teaming up and causing trouble for Spidey. It would offer a nice piece of escalation if this team came together during Homecoming’s sequel.
We already have a Vulture, a Scorpion and a Shocker (lest we forget that the mantle passed to Bokeem Woodbine’s Herman Schultz during Homecoming), so Gargan only needs to rope in three friends to get the team up to the right number. (Leave your villainous wish list in the comments, folks!)
Giving street-level criminals some super weapons certainly seems a bit more do-able than The Amazing Spider-Man’s attempted method: building a mystery around a guy in a hat and his secret lab was arguably a tad too drawn out. The Sinister Six don’t need to be big or clever, they just need to be a tough opponent for Spidey to overcome.
It’s been confirmed that Sony is working on more movies inspired by the Spidey comics. One such film will focus on Venom, and another will feature the femme fatales Black Cat and Silver Sable.
As things stand, it’s unclear whether these films will have any overt ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. The latest scuttlebutt suggests they will be wholly separate to the MCU, although the word ‘adjuncts’ has been used before – which implies some sort of connection.
Either way, if Sony sticks to its schedule, we should see these two Spidey-related films before Holland’s next solo flick. While Spidey is busy with the Avengers movies in 2018 and the first half of 2019, Sony plans to sow some seeds. The Venom movie is slated for October 2018, and the coolly tiled Silver & Black may well come out in the same year.
Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer will direct Venom. Tom Hardy will star as Eddie Brock, a photojournalist who bonds with a symbiote to become a sludgy villain named Venom. The hot rumour right now is that Venom will face off against Carnage in the film. Carnage, if you’re unfamiliar, is the combination of a different symbiote and a mass murderer named Cletus Kasady.
Gina Prince-Bythewood – who shot the Cloak & Dagger TV pilot for Marvel – is directing Silver & Black. If you need a crash course: Black Cat is a notorious burglar/villainess, and Silver Sable is a mercenary/monarch from the fictional nation Symkaria. It seems safe to assume a ‘versus’ element here, with the two title characters battling it out.
By pitting other comic book characters against one another, Sony has hit upon a one way to make Spidey-inspired movies without Peter Parker. And they also seem to be considering another approach to brand growth…
The Prowler & Miles Morales
Another way to build a cinematic universe around the Spider-Man mythos is this: to introduce other characters, besides Peter Parker, who’ve held the Spidey mantle.
Spider-Man: Homecoming teased one such character – Miles Morales, the Hispanic teen who became Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe, an alt-reality from the comics where Peter died a tragic death. (Miles was later incorporated into the mainline Marvel Comics universe, leading to a dynamic where Peter is a globetrotting hero/CEO, and Miles takes care of New York.)
The Miles tease in Homecoming was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one. When Spidey used the ‘Karen’ A.I. to hunt down Donald Glover’s character, a familiar name popped up on the screen: Aaron Davis, aka ‘Prowler’. During the adorably awful interrogation that followed, Glover’s Aaron mentioned that he has a nephew.
Here’s why that nephew is significant: in the aforementioned Ultimate Universe, from the comics, Aaron was the uncle of Miles Morales. Aaron was a criminal who operated under the name The Prowler. He accidentally stole a radioactive spider from OsCorp while on a job. He took the spider home, unknowingly, and it bit Miles – turning him into Spider-Man.
Aaron and Miles would later fight together, in the comics, against the Scorpion. And now the MCU has an Aaron, a nephew, and a potential Scorpion. Are the pieces being put in place for a live-action rendering of the Miles Morales Spider-Man story? It certainly seems that way.
Perhaps Sony and Marvel plan to have two Spider-Men in operation on the big screen at the same time. Or maybe they’re seeding Miles as a potential replacement for Tom Holland’s Spidey a little ways down the road. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a Spider-Man fan.
(Also: Phil Lord and Chris Miller are working on an animated movie about Miles Morales, that Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti are directing… could this be a ploy by the studios to make Miles a household name ahead of his MCU debut? We sure hope so. )
Fair warning: this final section is pure guesswork. But, as I’ve detailed before on this site, I’ve got a theory about the direction Sony and Marvel’s cinematic Spider-Man stories are heading in.
In the comics, there is a rich history of Spider-heroes teaming up to battle massive adversaries. Recently, an arc called ‘Spider-Verse’ saw the original Peter Parker teaming up with an army of alt-Spideys – including parallel world versions of Uncle Ben, Aunt May and Gwen Stacey – to fight off The Inheritors, a group of multiverse-straddling arachnid-haters.
While I’m not expecting to see a Spider-Verse crossover with that level of wackiness any time particularly soon (there was also a talking pig – Peter Porker), I do think Sony is testing the waters right now, trying to work out the viability of an expanded Spider-Man cinematic universe.
Sony is asking a lot of questions with its next few films: will audiences embrace a Miles Morales animated film? Can Eddie Brock’s Venom be repurposed as a reluctant hero? Might Silver Sable and Black Cat be viable as antiheroes?
Box office numbers will determine the answers to all of those questions. And if Sony likes what it sees, the idea of a live action Miles Morales/Spider-Gwen/ Venom-and-Spidey team-up/Spider-Verse crossover might begin to sound a lot more plausible.
Maybe even Peter Porker, the spectacular Spider-Ham, will get his day in the sun eventually. If the box office dollar keeps on rolling in, anything is possible…