The MCU finally remembers Spider-Man’s tragic story

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What if… from Marvel? addresses the sad history of Spider-Man, including his parents and Uncle Ben. Will the MCU finally tell about Peter Parker’s origin?

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for What if … from Marvel? episode 5.

The tragic story of Spider-Man was finally explored in What if … from Marvel? Episode 5, territory the MCU version of the friendly neighborhood web-slinger has so far avoided. When Tom Holland’s Spider-Man premiered in the MCU, it was no origin story. This decision was ultimately for the best; fans had seen Spider-Man origin stories twice before, and a new first Spider would have been bogged down by more of the same. However, many felt that this omission came at the cost of truly understanding Holland’s emotional motivations for Spider-Man.


Holland’s Spider-Man makes his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, where he already has powers and (although not mentioned) Uncle Ben has already passed away. Same Spider-Man: Homecoming, his first MCU solo film, doesn’t address Peter’s tragic past or any of the people he’s lost. Much to the controversy, the MCU makes Tony Stark’s mentorship paramount in Peter’s life, replacing the impact of Uncle Ben’s death with Tony’s in Avengers: Endgame. It’s not before What if…? that the public receives their first direct recognition of all that Peter has lost.

Related: The MCU Has Finally Done Justice For Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben

“How can you stay so optimistic after all?” “ an infected Hope Van Dyne asks Peter as they rush for a cure that might be too late. “Practice, I guess” he has answered. In his short monologue, Peter reflects on all he’s lost, starting with three characters the MCU has ignored until now: his parents and Uncle Ben. Peter’s story, and most importantly everything he lost and was able to overcome, is an integral part of Spider-Man’s story beyond his origins. This is what defines his entire approach to heroism, and his resilience is one of his greatest strengths. Perhaps it’s revealing that the MCU has avoided tackling this content until a literal zombie apocalypse, or perhaps it finally indicates a willingness to go back to Peter’s past and tell the tragedies that shaped his heroism.

Hudson Thames as Peter Parker aka Spider-Man in Marvel What If Episode 5

Remarkably, the MCU has avoided these three characters for so long (Holland’s Spider-Man has appeared in five MCU films) as their life and death have historically played a pivotal role in Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man. The studio’s apparent reluctance to avoid unnecessary narratives that could bog down a new take on a character whose origin has been told twice before was well founded. However, the current transition to new heroes in the MCU might be the perfect time to finally do justice to Peter’s past so that the motivations behind his character are solidified for the future.

Holland’s third solo film with the character, Spider-Man: No Path Home, seems like a perfect opportunity to bring such a transparent account of Peter’s tragic past. Exposing Spider-Man’s identity and appearances of Spider-Man villains from previous timelines (not to mention the possibility of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield making appearances) could be helpful circumstances to finally address the parents of Peter and Uncle Ben. At least until the December premiere, the MCU finally provided a direct mention of Uncle Ben in What if… from Marvel? (granted, in a different timeline), which hopefully indicates that Spider-Man’s tragic origin will soon be more widely recognized.

Next: The MCU Perfectly Reverses Maguire’s Most Iconic Spider-Man Moment

What if … from Marvel? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney +.

  • Eternals (2021)Release date: 05 November 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Path Home (2021)Release Date: December 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: March 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: 06 May 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: 08 Jul 2022
  • Wonders / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: November 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release Date: February 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: 05 May 2023

Scott Lang Ant Man in What If and Don Cheadle as Rhodey War Machine in Avengers Endgame

Marvel repeats Rhodey’s confusing endgame line


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