The Future of Spider-Man After No Way Home

Spoilers in this story Spider-Man, There’s No Way Home

Spider-Man, There’s No Way Home isn’t just the last chapter in a trilogy. It’s a soft reboot for Marvel’s most popular superhero.

Tom is left speechless at the end. Holland‘s Peter Parker has not only lost his Aunt May but he has chosen to erase the memories of every single one of his remaining friends. He evolves from a wide-eyed whipper-snapper who relied on the help of mentors like Iron Man and Doctor Strange into a loner who understands that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
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If these entries are not in the Homecoming Trilogy featured an animated Disney version. Spider-Man, the final installment harkens back to the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films that Sony made in the ‘00s and ‘10s. The tone of any future Spider-Man films featuring Holland is likely to be more serious.

The memory-wiping plotline also happens to serve Sony’s corporate mandate. Sony and Disney co-produced the Holland Spider-Man movies for years. The character is now fully integrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now Sony is developing its own superhero universe centered on Spidey just as, conveniently, all of Peter’s MCU buddies forget his secret identity.

Here’s everything you need to know about the end of Spider-Man, There’s No Way HomeIt’s implications for Spider-Man, his franchises and future.

What happens after the conclusion of Spider-Man, There’s No Way Home?

Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.
Matt Kennedy—Marvel Studios(l-r), Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch Spider-Man, There’s No Way Home

The last Spider-Man movie, Far from Home, the villain Mysterio revealed Spider-Man’s secret identity, effectively blowing up Peter’s life. Peter is suspect of his association with his friends.

Doctor Strange agrees to help Peter cast a spell to make Spider-Man forget that he is Spider-Man. But mid-incantation, Peter begins to change the parameters of his wish: He would like MJ to remember him, and aunt May…and his friend Ned, too. Doctor Strange opens portals to parallel universes accidentally when the spell fails.

A handful of villains from older Spider-Man franchises—the ones starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield before Tom Holland took over the role—cross over from their worlds to fight Holland’s Peter Parker. It’s Peter’s job to send them back, though once he realizes that all the baddies are fated to die fighting the other Spider-Men, he wonders if there isn’t a kinder, more ethical way to deal with these men, each of whom suffers from some mental or physical ailment. Gen Z’s approach to fighting bad guys is admirably compassionate.

Aunt May is killed and the Green Goblin flees. In her dying moments, Aunt May utters the famous words that have yet to have been spoken aloud in this particular iteration of the Spidey story: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Peter is filled with guilt, and he wants to get rid of the Green Goblin. Spider-Man’s story is not about Avengers. And unlike the other super heroes, Spider-Man believes in hope. Luckily, Maguire and Garfields’ Peters cross into Holland’s dimension too and counsel Peter on the importance of empathy. They help Spidey capture and heal each villain.

The multiverse still continues to fragment, even though they sent the bad guys back to their respective worlds. What is the solution? Peter Parker must be forgotten by everyone in this universe. Doctor Strange accepts to cast the spell. Peter then says goodbye to MJ and Ned.

Peter approaches MJ to inform her about his identity, but she decides not to do so in order for her college education at MIT to begin a new life. Peter rents an apartment in Midtown, puts on a Spider-Man costume, and starts a lonely existence fighting crime and renting rent.

Sincerely, there are still questions. I have lingering questions about why everyone needs to forget Peter Parker’s identity and not just forget Peter Parker.It is Spider-Man? How can you change the parameters of the spell to make Spider-Man? Peter has one semester left of high school, so how does this spell function? MJ and Ned go to school with him—would everyone just think he’s a new kid who appeared out of nowhere? Was the spell effective? AllAre the Peter Parkers right? Did Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker return home to Kirsten Dunst’s MJ only for her to not recognize him?

The memory-wiping plot serves as an entry point to the new trilogy. Here we see Peter, an older man trying to make it through his early 20s.

Sony wanted a Soft Reboot of Spider-Man.

MJ (Zendaya) prepares to freefall with Spider-man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.
Sony PicturesZendaya and Tom Holland are in Spider-Man, There’s No Way Home

Stranding Spider-Man in that sad apartment, without friends or family, may seem like a rather grim fate for Holland’s Peter Parker, but for Sony—which has always preferred its Spider-Men a little more tortured—it’s a return to form.

Disney and Sony partnered up to make the Holland films, and to integrate Peter Parker into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was more optimistic, younger and naive then his predecessors. He benefited from Iron Man’s mentorship, not to mention the billionaire’s pocketbook. His secret identity was known by a group of Avengers friends who helped him to navigate the chaotic world of crime fighting and homework.

Many fans believe that Spider-Man’s true identity is broke, overwhelmed by all his obligations. He’s also rather lonely since every time he reveals his secret identity to someone that person winds up in grave danger. Those financial and emotional challenges make Peter inventive, resourceful, compassionate and—this is key—relatable.

When Holland’s Spider-Man suffers in this movie, he learns the lessons superheroes (and Jedis and Hobbits and Jon Snows) need to learn to become the heroes they need to be. The film becomes chaotic, as movies about the multiverse tend to. But by the end Peter’s path forward is clear, open and full of possibility. He has matured into a more mature, but still a schoolboy.

Parker’s isolation also happens to be a handy plot device. Sony now has the option to produce future Spider-Man films without Disney without having to explain why characters that Disney owns like Captain Marvel or Ant-Man aren’t stopping by to check on Peter.

What’s the future of Spider-Man in Sony’s Spider-verse and Disney’s MCU?

Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures' MORBIUS.
Sony Pictures Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures’ Morbius

Spider-Man, after all, needs to serve as the lynchpin to Sony’s burgeoning Spider-verse, which includes movies like VenomThere are many other projects that will be based on Spider-Man villains. MorbiusAnd Kraven the Hunter. The question of Holland’s participation in these films, and whether they will be able to swing between Spider and MCU universes is still up in the air.

And Sony’s ambitions to create its own superhero franchise won’t necessarily preclude Sony and Disney from future team-ups: If they wanted to eventually re-introduce Holland’s Spidey into a new Avengers team, all they would have to do is conjure up some spell that would remind all the Avengers that, hey, that kid from Queens is a superhero.

Sony and Disney have been arguing for years over Peter’s rights. He is arguably the most beloved superhero of cinema. They almost scuttled the two studios You can’t go home! when they couldn’t reach a deal to co-produce the movie a few years ago. They seem to be working together once again as it stands now. Disney producers have said Sony and Disney have worked out a tit-for-tat policy, and that Holland is obligated to appear in at least one more MCU movie since Disney leant Sony Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange for You can’t go home!.

Amy Pascal (producer) and a former Sony executive recently announced that the pair intends to keep their partnership. “This is not the last movie that we are going to make with Marvel,” she told Fandango. “We are getting ready to make the next Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland and Marvel. We’re thinking of this as three films, and now we’re going to go onto the next three. This is not the lat of our MCU movies.”

But Holland has been more circumspect about whether he’ll return to the role. “I think if we were lucky enough to dive into these characters again, you’d be seeing a very different version. Then it wouldn’t be. Homecoming trilogy,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “We would give it some time and try to build something different and tonally change the films. Whether that happens or not, I don’t know. However, we did treat. You can’t go home! like it was coming to an end, and it felt like it.”

Pascal even changed her mind in recent days. “As long as [Holland] wants to make Spider-Man movies, we will make Spider-Man movies,” Pascal told Variety. “But I’m a producer, and I always think everything is going to work out. If I have my way, we will.”

Without Spider-Man, where does the MCU go?

Marvel Studios Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye

Whatever Holland decides, it’s safe to say we probably won’t see a new Spider-Man appearance in the MCU for at least a few years. What does this mean for Marvel? It’s not in the best spot.

After the heights of 2008, it is now in a downturn. Avengers: Infinity WarAnd Avengers: Endgame, and most of the movies they’ve released since have gotten tepid reviews. There are very few characters that we can root for after losing iconic roles like Captain America and Iron Man. We still have Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, though all of their movies tend to rank low on most critics’ “best of” lists and none of those characters have quite captured the hearts of audiences as, say, Steve Rogers or T’Challa. Now, the studio may have lost Spider-Man as well, at most for a while.

Marvel plans to turn sidekicks in heroes by creating their own Disney+ series: Loki, Hawkeye and Vision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Wanda and Vision have all appeared in their own series. Many of these have been diverting, but are not essential viewing. Hawkeye, Falcon and Wanda never got enough TV time. Avengers movies to make much of an impression, and it’s unclear whether the casual Marvel fan will feel the need to tune into their TV shows to learn how these characters evolve before they return to the big screen.

Given how few fan favorite characters remain active in the MCU it’s unclear why Loki, a genuine fan favorite, is also toiling on the streaming service when he should be headlining his own movie. Next year, his brother Thor will be back on the silver screen. Thor: Love and Thunder but as a supporting player to Natalie Portman’s Jane, who now wields Thor’s hammer. While that’s an exciting development, Jane hasn’t been well served by the Thor series thus far, so director Taika Waititi has his work cut out for him making up from past Marvel missteps.

With mixed results, the studio has been trying to develop a roster of new super heroes, including Shang-Chi, Eternals and others. (We will surely see Shang-Chi again, as he was a critical and box office hit, but the Eternals’ fate is up for debate after director Chloe Zhao took the franchise in an ambitious but distinctly un-Marvel direction, for better or worse, puzzling many critics and fans.)

Two of Hollywood’s most exciting young stars are playing the leading roles in the future universe: Florence Pugh and the Black Widow, which she played in the debut movie. Black Widow and Hailee Steinfeld, who is currently upstaging Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye’s mentor in the Hawkeye TV series. Marvel would do well to make these two women stars in their own movies as soon as they can.


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