What comes next for Spider-man in the MCU?

Spider-Man: No Way Home is finally here after much anticipation, and it certainly did not disappoint. The film closes out the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man trilogy, while also being a fitting celebration of Spider-Man media both past and present.

The return of many iconic characters such as Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin have left fans giddy and nostalgic.

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However, with the film providing closure for a number of characters, it also leaves the future of the MCU’s Spider-Man open ended and left for discussion.

While it has been seemingly confirmed that Tom Holland will be returning to the role for at least another Spider-Man trilogy and a crossover film, Tom Holland has expressed interest in passing the torch to legacy character Miles Morales. However, the ending of the film does not indicate which direction the franchise is wishing to take.

*Warning: Major spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home ahead*

Analysing the Ending

New Spiderman suit No Way Home
New Spider-man suit

After years of being a protege of Tony Stark and working alongside heroes such as Doctor Strange, Nick Fury and the Avengers, Spider-Man feels isolated once more after the events of the final battle.

After the three Spider-Men defeat the villains, Doctor Strange struggles to keep multiple dimensional rifts closed. Knowing that the spell at the beginning of the film may be the only way to close the rifts, Spider-Man grants Doctor Strange permission to conduct the spell to make the whole world forget that Peter Parker ever existed. This leads to many connections Peter has made being squashed, including his connection to the Avengers, Doctor Strange and his closest friends. Parker is essentially a ghost.

While Peter wishes to reconnect with MJ and Ned, he decides not to as they both seem extremely happy with their current lives. Instead, Peter moves into his own apartment and creates a suit without the technology gifted to him by Iron Man. This suit resembles his classic comic costume, with the film ending as Parker swings through the city. Many fans will be happy with this ending, as Peter’s character is now headed in a more comic book accurate direction where he is not reliant on a team and must face the obstacles of being a superhero alone with a poor man’s budget.

This ending can be considered a soft reboot for the character, as while he holds his memories of fighting alongside alternate versions of himself and taking on Thanos alongside the Avengers, the world has forgotten who Peter Parker is and every meaningful connection he has had is quashed. The film saga of Holland’s Spider-Man could literally end there and many fans would be satisfied with knowing that Peter Parker is swinging through Manhattan in a comic accurate suit and fighting crime off-screen.

However, with the success of the film both critically and financially and comments made that Holland’s Spider-Man will continue as an active part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems that the character’s story is set to continue. With the revelations from the film and some easter eggs, there are a few different avenues Spidey’s future could take.

The Black Suit Saga

Symbite suit Spider-man
Art by @Venomhology

The mid credits scene of the film focused on the set up from Sony’s Venom sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. In the post credits scene of that film, Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock is sent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and seems to recognise Peter Parker who is shown unmasked in the Daily Bugle broadcast (hinting at a potential hive mind for the Venom symbiote).

While this encounter teased a meeting between Holland and Hardy’s characters, Tom Hardy is limited to the mid credits scene where he learns about the events and heroes of the MCU from a bartender in Mexico. Just as Brock and Venom decide to go and visit Spider-Man, they are returned to their universe. However, Brock leaves behind a piece of the symbiote that moves, showcasing it is now alive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This may not directly set up an encounter between Hardy’s Venom and Holland’s Spider-Man, however it does directly tease that the Black Suit Saga is coming to the MCU. This famous comic book storyline has been adapted across multiple animated series and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (which is referenced by Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man). In the arc, Spider-Man bonds with the symbiote, which enhances his strength and gives him a fresh black suit. When Parker discovers that it is changing his personality, he ditches the suit and it bonds with Eddie Brock.

With a fresh slate set for Peter Parker, we could see the character create a rivalry with the Eddie Brock of the MCU and recreate this important arc in live action once again. Only time will tell exactly how the story plays out, but it seems that the Venom symbiote will have a massive part to play in Parker’s future.

Friend turns to Foe

The Hobgoblin
The Hobgoblin by @_artkin_

There was much speculation about the future of Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds. The self-proclaimed “man in the chair” has been Peter Parker’s closest ally since Spider-Man: Homecoming and has aided Parker in many adventures. He is the first individual outside of Tony Stark’s circle to know Spider-Man’s secret identity and has played a massive role in the franchise.

However, in the comics Ned has a much more villainous persona as the character is brainwashed into being the third iteration of the Hobgoblin. The Hobgoblin is a menacing threat with many of the same abilities and gadgets as the Green Goblin, with many speculating that promotional art and comments by Tom Holland suggest that Batalon’s character is heading towards that path.

Batalon has expressed interest in his character taking the more villainous turn and with the world (including Ned) now forgetting everything about Peter Parker, it seems easier for the films to take that turn. The Green Goblin entering the universe and having such a notable impact could also lead to inspiration for Leeds’ villainous turn. Another scene that foreshadows this is when Ned asks Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men about their best friends, leading to the character discovering that both their friends turn evil and try to kill them.

While played off for laughs, this scene may be foreshadowing an emotional encounter between old friends in the upcoming films. Only time will tell, but seeing his former best friend turn into one of his greatest foes would be a heartbreaking thing for Peter.

Mentoring Miles Morales

Spider-man and Miles Morales
Insomniac Games

Miles Morales has soared in popularity over the last few years. First introduced in the Ultimate Universe as the next Spider-Man after Peter Parker is killed in battle, Miles’ popularity has found him making his way to the main Marvel-616 comic universe and the character being adapted across multiple animated series.

The character also has a feature role in the Oscar winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and his own video game Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

With all the rumours and speculation about Miles Morales making his live action debut, including easter eggs such as Donald Glover portraying his Uncle Aaron Davis and referencing Miles and Jamie Foxx’s Electro stating that there “must be a black Spider-Man” somewhere in the multiverse. Tom Holland has spoken about passing the torch to Miles Morales down the road, meaning that Holland’s Parker could switch from being a mentee into a mentor.

This dynamic would be interesting for the character, as No Way Home already showcased Peter taking up more responsibility and discovering the hardships of being a superhero. Miles would remind Peter of an earlier version of himself as he tries to step into the role that Tony Stark, Nick Fury and Doctor Strange held with Peter.

With the rising popularity of Miles, it would be crazy for the MCU not to incorporate the character in the near future and it could lead to Peter passing the torch willingly or two Spider-Men operating within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The future is extremely bright for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, with Marvel having a multitude of possibilities when it comes to continuing the Peter Parker’s story. Spider-Man: No Way Home has proven the character is in great hands.

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