[The following contains potential spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.]
With the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home upon us, I wanted to take a look at what the future for the webbed wall-crawler would look like. I have given this a considerable amount of thought, and I think Spider-Man as a marvel property may be Marvel’s first and best chance following a character through to complete maturity. This first trilogy talks about his high school years and the struggle of that balance in his relationships. The second trilogy is all about his college years. I envision the final three films would be about what it’s like to be an adult in a world that embraces or shuns superheroes.
If Marvel can pull this off, it is the first step to having your audience grow with your character fully and completely. We all go to one movie to see a character’s journey, but imagine if you saw the whole life of a character. Wouldn’t that make the journey all the more special? I think Tom Holland is in a position where all that he has learned throughout his life can deeply inform his portrayal of Peter Parker in his adult and college years. I fully realize that everyone is excited for the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield but to be able to look at how Holland specifically evolves the character into his 20s into his 30s and then finally into his 40s or 50s gives the character a true legacy that I don’t think any of the other Marvel superheroes can touch.
I realize that would be extremely expensive for the studio, but it would pay off in equal measure. We have already seen Peter Parker grow into his responsibility as Spider-Man. Still, it would be very intriguing from a storytelling perspective to know how those responsibilities shift throughout different stages of life and what his priorities become as he reaches adulthood. Is there a point when Peter Parker would want to stop being Spider-Man? What does that look like? Does he have a choice? Those questions are ripe for good storytelling within the world Peter inhabits.
In terms of the other characters introduced in this new trilogy, MJ doesn’t necessarily have to become an actress. She could be a social justice warrior and a civil rights lawyer. There are too many opportunities for growth if you stretch out this franchise long-term that people would identify with. People read comic books because they see themselves in the heroes. I think it would be brilliant to show other aspects of growth and evolution beyond the world of powers and look at the responsibility that the heroes face that doesn’t involve imminent danger. Audiences then could say if Peter Parker can do it, then so can I. This is what Marvel’s main franchise needs to do to succeed. Audiences are just going to have to keep buying tickets to find out whether or not we get those other chapters of what could be a beautiful and elaborate story. I can’t wait to see where Spider-Man’s webs take him next.