The stars aligned earlier this week when Sony’s puppy dog eyes finally landed in a chink in Marvel Studios’ gold-plated armor. At long last, Spidey is making his MCU debut. First he’ll appear in a Marvel Studios film—likely Captain America: Civil War, given how Spider-Man plays a big role in the comics as essentially the ideological piece of ass Tony Stark and Cap fight over—and then he’ll get his own movie in 2017.
While it’s not been confirmed that Andrew Garfield is hanging up his tights and a new actor is being brought in to play the web-slinger, that’s probably what’s happening. Garfield was only contracted for one more film, and it’d be pretty weird if Disney/Sony recast him right after the big introduction to Cap, Thor, and the rest. The guy probably wants to get out after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 anyway. And the line in the official press release about how Marvel Studios and Sony “will collaborate on a new creative direction” for Spidey seems to indicate a full-on reboot.
So. Sony. Marvel. Here’s what you do. Or, rather, what you don’t do.
Don’t do another origin story.
I know, I know. The superhero genre as a whole is hung up on them. It makes sense to do the big intro for a superhero team like the Guardians of the Galaxy, because your general moviegoer has no clue who they are. But going the origin story route was a big part of why Man of Steel was so meh. Everyone knows who Superman is. We had to hang on and watch Henry Cavill retread familiar territory for 3/4 of the film before we got to something new (Supes killing Zod). It’s pointless.
Peter Parker’s the same. Everybody knows who he is. Nerdy kid, bitten by a spider, “with great power comes great responsibility,” blah de blah. This origin story was last done all of three years ago with The Amazing Spider-Man, which in turn was made a mere five years after Sam Raimi’s franchise went out in an explosion of emo hair and pelvic thrusting. Sony had an amazing incarnation of Peter Parker in Andrew Garfield this time around, but it’s like the rest of the movie was just an afterthought. “Oh, we need a plot. Shit.”
I think there’s a chance here that the origin story might be given a pass. Presumably Civil War (or whichever MCU movie new!Spidey makes his first appearance in) will already be full enough that they won’t waste time on explaining “Hey, this is who Spider-Man is!” Not having to handle the introduction of the character gives Sony, in turn, the opportunity to just jump right in with their 2017 movie, instead of rewinding the clock and doing the same thing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man did before. They’ve not shown the best acuity at business/creative decisions as of late, but hopefully with Marvel holding their hand they’ll wisen up.
Marvel can do anything they want at this point. They could film Don Johnson eating a chalupa for two hours, and people would see it. To rely on the boring old stand-by origin story would be lazy. It would shift Marvel closer to the creative rut they’ve been edging against as of late, just as Captain Marvel and Black Panther gave fans hope about a bold new direction.
Of course, if Sony and Marvel really want to do an origin story, they could just ditch Peter Parker entirely and have Miles Morales be Spidey, instead. I’d be fine with that.