Avengers: Endgame was a heartbreaking but thoroughly satisfying conclusion to 10 years worth of longform storytelling. The story of the original Avengers has come full circle. In a successful effort to take down the Mad Titan Thanos, Iron Man and Black Widow had to sacrifice themselves; later, Captain America went back in time to live his fullest life with the woman of his dreams before passing his iconic shield to his best friend Sam. What a journey it has been. Surely Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau couldn’t possibly have known where this franchise would go when they gave birth to Iron Man back in April 2008.
But while the Infinity Saga has come to a close, the Marvel Cinematic Universe still has a long road ahead of it. There are a bunch of MCU films in various stages of production and development (Black Panther 2, The Eternals, Shang Chi, etc.), but none are more important than Spider-Man: Far From Home which will be gracing the big screen in less than a month’s time. After all, Feige has said that the final chapter of MCU phase three isn’t Endgame but the much awaited Spidey sequel. Far From Home is a film that promises to tackle the aftermath of the catastrophic events of Infinity War and Endgame, but more than that, it’s a film that could quite possibly change the landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forevermore.
Laying the groundwork for X-Men to be reintroduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe
A couple of months ago, early rumours and reports turned into substantial affirmation. The deed is done. Disney has purchased Fox and the likes of Wolverine and Mr Fantastic are heading back home where they belong. The question is how? How would these characters be rebooted and reintroduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a universe that prior to this seemed absent of them?
This would, of course, be less of a problem for the Fantastic Four who even in their comics are hailed by civilians as superheroes and celebrities. But for the X-Men, things are a little tricky. After all, in the X-Men verse, the mutants are often metaphors for oppressed minorities (LGBT, people of colour, etc), who despite their innocence and continuous acts of heroism are despised by the humans. So it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the X-Men to have just been existing in the shadows all these years while The Avengers were battling aliens in New York. Why would humans take selfies with superpowered beings like The Hulk but loathe someone like Nightcrawler?
This is where the multiverse comes in.
The concept of a multiverse was first brought up in Doctor Strange and later set up in Avengers: Endgame. Unlike films like Back to the Future and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when our heroes journeyed back in time, they weren’t travelling linearly within the established timeline, rather to an alternate timeline/universe. And in the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, the term ‘multiverse’ is explicitly mentioned.
“He’s from earth. Just not ours. The snap tore a hole in our dimension.” – Nick fury
“You’re saying there’s a multiverse?” – Peter Parker
The concept of a multiverse means that Marvel Studios can keep the prime universe (in which The Avengers reside in) and the X-Men universe separate. (The prime universe is known as Earth 616. Alternate universes will have different numbers assigned.) Perhaps the regular human beings in the X-Men universe are less receptive towards powered entities than the ones on Earth-616. Keeping them in separate universes would also automatically solve problems like: Why didn’t Professor X and gang help The Avengers out when they fought Thanos?
Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that we won’t see the X-Men and The Avengers interact. Every now and then, we could have huge crossover events that would see some of our favourite comic book storylines take form on the big screen — Mutant Massacre with Thor, Wolverine vs Hulk and of course, every geek’s wet dream, X-Men vs The Avengers!
The exploration of the multiverse with Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home would be the first step in making this happen.
Setting the stage for a Miles Morales entry
Prior to the release of the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales was a relatively unknown character outside of the hardcore comic book fandom. The Afro-Latin teenager from an alternate universe — Earth-1610 specifically — also gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider. The brutal murder of Peter Parker of his dimension inspired Miles to take up the mantle of Spider-Man.
Contrary to some belief, Miles Morales isn’t just Peter Parker of a different enthnicity. He has completely different story arcs and goes through his own gruelling set of trials and tribulations. If you’ve watched Into the Spider-Verse you know that Miles is a wholly intriguing character.
But how can he make his way into the MCU?
One answer is of course, again, the multiverse. In the comics, Miles moves to the Prime Reality after the events of Secret Wars. He now fights crime alongside Peter Parker of the Prime Reality. However, the MCU already dropped hints of the existence of Miles Morales in the prime timeline in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Remember Donald Glover’s character, Aaron Davis? Well, Aaron Davis also known as the villainous Prowler is none other than Miles Morales’ uncle.
“I don’t want those weapons in this neighbourhood either. I got a nephew who lives here.” – Aaron Davis to Spider-Man, Homecoming.
At this point in Homecoming, Peter Parker had only just begun his life as a superhero and Miles was probably a little kid in kindergarten. Since then Peter Parker has taken down The Vulture, fought alongside The Avengers to defeat Thanos, got dusted by the Mad Titan in an emotionally harrowing scene, returned five years later to not only fight Thanos but end him. The legend of Spider-Man has probably grown exponentially and one can imagine a little kid like Miles Morales (now aged ten) looking up to and being inspired by him.
Spider-Man: Far From Home would be the perfect opportunity to drop a Miles Morales easter egg again. Maybe we cut to a quick scene where little Miles accompanied by his uncle Aaron, plays with a Spider-Man action figure? Perhaps five years down the line, we could tackle the death of Peter Parker and introduce Miles Morales into the fold.
Spider-Man as the new Iron Man?
The Far From Home trailer opens with Peter having a conversation with Happy Hogan.
“Everywhere I go, I see his face. I just really miss him.” – Peter Parker
“Yeah, I miss him too. I don’t think Tony would’ve done what he did, if he didn’t know you were going to be here after he was gone.” – Happy Hogan
What follows is an action sequence with Spider-Man in his awesome Iron Spider suit, kicking ass and taking down bad guys. A police officer comically asks:
“You gonna be the next Iron Man now?”
Now before you groan and roll your eyes so far back, you can see the inner workings of your brain, this line isn’t meant to be taken literally. It isn’t about having an Iron Suit or an AI to communicate with while on missions. This is about growth. It’s about Peter stepping up, maturing and becoming one of the leaders of The Avengers even when he may be reluctant.
When Spider-Man was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War, some fans complained that the character wasn’t as “adult” or “serious” as the Tobey Maguire version. There are some who also take issue with the quippy personality of Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming. What we need to realise is that was merely the beginning of his character arc. Prior to meeting Tony Stark, he was still swinging around in his underoos.
But so much has happened since then and Peter has experienced incidents no teenager should ever go through. After Avengers: Endgame, the world has lost great heroes and the Avengers, great leaders in Iron Man and the retired Captain America. Peter? Peter lost a father figure. Spider-Man: Far From Home will see the further growth of Peter Parker. While we don’t believe Peter has the capability to lead a team alongside Captain Marvel and Black Panther now, I’m confident that it will soon change after Far From Home.
Much like DC’s Caped Crusader Batman, Spider-Man has a stacked Rogues Gallery. From the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom all the way to Electro, Hobgoblin and Mysterio, Spidey probably has the best Rogues Gallery of Marvel Comics. The slew of compelling villains provided Stan Lee with the perfect opportunity to bring to life a team of supervillains and boy did he deliver. In The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 comic, the Sinister Six was conceived, spearheaded by none other than the highly intelligent Doc Ock. Joining the doctor was Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman and Vulture. Since then, we’ve gotten many versions of the Sinister Six with various leaders and evil characters as part of the squad, including but not limited to Speed Demon, Shocker, Lizard and even Venom.
Spider-Man: Homecoming introduced us to Vulture, who thanks to Michael Keaton’s performance, good writing and a memorable twist is now one of the best villains under the MCU umbrella. The best part is, Vulture did not die at the end of the film. The post-credits scene also acquainted us with Scorpion in a quick but riveting interaction with Vulture. Is Sony/Marvel Studios laying the groundwork for a Sinister Six film? It sure does seem like it.
Spider-Man: Far From Home will bring to the silver screen one of the most popular Spidey villains of all time: Mysterio. Just like Vulture, Mysterio happens to be one of the members of the original Sinister Six. Coincidence? I think not.
Spider-Man vs Sinister Six is a gripping idea in and of itself. But seeing as how it’s 2019 and we’ve got a giant tapestry known as the MCU to play with, don’t be surprised to see the seeds planted for an Avengers vs Sinister Six film. While I don’t expect the next big Avengers title to be one centred around Sinister Six, we could more than likely get a Spider-Man film akin to Captain America: Civil War. Much like how Civil War was mostly a Captain America and Iron Man story with the rest as supporting characters, Sinister Six could mostly be a Spider-Man tale with some supporting characters like Falcon, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Wasp and Valkyrie sprinkled in.
Be sure to catch Spider-Man: Far From Home in cinemas 3 July 2019.
*This article is brought to you by Sony Pictures Malaysia.