Spider-Man: Homecoming has firmly established the webslinger’s presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a fresh take on Peter Parker and his supporting cast. But like any comic book movie, you might still have questions – about who characters are, about whether there were easter eggs you missed, and about what happened. Here, we’ll do our best to clear things up for you.
Spoilers for the entire film follow right after the return of the spoiler squirrel…
What’s Damage Control?
In the MCU, as in the comics, Damage Control is an entity that exists specifically to clear up the mess made by superhero battles. Created by Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colon in 1988, the company was originally co-owned by Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk, who were the two largest shareholders. It was run, as in the films, by the somewhat stern Anne-Marie Hoag.
Interestingly, Damage Control was recently considered as a TV property – a sitcom set on the sidelines of the MCU, much like the original comic was intended to be – but it never made it past the script stage.
Any major diversions from the comics?
The most obvious diversion is that in the comics, the Vulture is not Liz Allan’s father – though her stepbrother is the Molten Man and she later marries Harry Osborn, making the original Green Goblin her stepfather.
Similarly divergent, Ned Leeds – here shown as Peter’s best friend in high school – is, in the comics, a reporter at the Daily Bugle who marries Betty Brant and is later revealed to be the super-villain, the Hobgoblin. Here, Ned is an almost note-perfect recreation (both visually and in relationship terms) of Miles Morales’ best friend, Ganke Lee.
Speaking of which…
Was Donald Glover’s character the Prowler?
It sure seems so. In case you missed it, the crook Spider-Man interrogates in the underground parking garage, played by Donald Glover, is named Aaron Davis and has the alias “Prowler” on his police report. He also talks about his nephew living in the neighbourhood when he decides to help Peter out.
In the Ultimate comics, the Prowler – Aaron Davis – is the uncle of Miles Morales, aka the second Ultimate Spider-Man, aka Spider-Man. So not only is that apparently the Prowler, it’s also a pretty explicit nod in the direction of Miles Morales existing in the MCU. Hey, if Donald Glover’s too old to play Miles, maybe this is the next best thing.
Any other notable characters?
There’s barely a character in this film who isn’t in some way taken from the comics.
The guy building all the tech gear for Toomes is Phinea Mason, aka the Tinkerer.
The first version of the Shocker – Jason “Montana” Brice – is a member of the low-level thugs, the Enforcers. (The second and more, er, lasting version of the Shocker is Herman Schultz, the villain from the comics.)
Peter’s Academic Decathlon team members and classmate are almost all named for existing characters, though with far more tenuous connections than any of those. There’s Abraham Brown (Black Tiger), Cindy Moon (Silk) and Sally Avril (Bluebird), and many other bit-parts whose names were taken from the comics. Someone clearly had fun picking them out, that’s for sure.
Amusingly, the one name not connected to anything in the comics? Karen, the voice of Spider-Man’s suit. One can only guess how long they spent trying to come up with a name that didn’t mean anything to the MCU – and even then, they say “Karen”, Marvel nerds think “Karen Page?” (from Daredevil)…
So was Zendaya Mary Jane after all?
It’s safe to say she was not – after all, she was quite explicitly given the name Michelle rather than Mary Jane – but also, she clearly has the potential to fill the role of love interest in the future instalments. While she does have the nickname “MJ”, there’s so little shared with the character that it feels more like a wry nod to the speculation than an attempt to supplant the classic version.
Was Peter’s high school Principal one of the Howling Commandoes?
Yes! They were both played by Kenneth Choi. Although if you watch closely, you’ll see that “Principal Morita” has pictures of Jim Morita in his office, which is about as close as we can get to confirming that he’s actually Choi is playing his own’s character’s grandson. Along with Tripp from Agents of SHIELD, who was descended from Gabriel Jones, that makes at least two Howling Commandoes whose kids are running around the MCU.
Did I spot Gwen Stacy in the high school too?
No, you did not, at least according to cast lists. If you thought you saw her – a blonde girl with a black headband – that was actually the MCU version of Betty Brant. Betty was one of Peter’s original love interests in the comics and later a secretary/reporter at the Bugle. She appears, most memorably, on the school’s internal news channel, suggesting she’ll follow her counterpart’s footsteps into the news media.
Why did Toomes protect Peter in the post-credits scene?
Debatable. Maybe he feels like he owes Peter for saving his life – we’ve already seen, after all, that Toomes has his own version of honour that meant he offered Peter amnesty for saving his daughter’s life. Or maybe he just wants to keep that valuable information to himself in case it’s useful further down the line…
What year does this movie take place in!?
Erm, it may be time to revise the timeline of the MCU, since unless this film is set in 2020, there’s no way it can be set 8 years after Avengers, which is set in 2012. Finer minds that ours can puzzle this one out, although all we can say is maybe the movies are adopting the “sliding” timescale of the comics, where certain events aren’t ever quite fixed in time and instead take place a nebulous number of years previously. (In current comics continuity, Captain America would’ve probably been meeting George W. Bush when he was thawed out…)
Are Pepper and Tony getting married?
Well, Stark had the ring ready, so it all depends on whether he decided to pop the question during that press conference. Although let’s face it, Pepper’s smart enough to not give him an answer under those circumstances…
So does Peter have all his Stark-suit gadgets back?
Probably! If I had to put money on anything, it’d be that Stark returned the suit without some of the more advanced hardware in it, just to stop Peter running wild. Then again, if he thought he was ready to be an Avenger, maybe he didn’t. We’re just going to have to wait for Avengers to get an answer to this one!
What did Peter mean when he said “with all [Aunt May] has been through…”?
Well, we may not have seen it on screen, but it’s fair to say that this version of Peter Parker still lived through the death of his Uncle Ben. Although personally, while it may be an unpopular opinion, I was hoping we’d actually see a little more of the origin than we got here!
Is that all?
That is all. But do let us know your theories/any other questions you think needed answering in the comments!