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With great power comes great responsibility. This lesson, passed to Peter Parker from his Uncle Ben, is the core belief at the heart of Marvel's Spider-Man character -- and it has been the cornerstone of previous Spider-Men brought to the big screen. But Tom Holland's Peter Parker, introduced to the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, hasn't been told this famous line yet, and by all accounts, we wont hear it in Spider-Man: Homecoming, either. I was lucky enough to visit the Atlanta set of Jon Watts' upcoming Spider-Man movie, and asked co-producer Eric Hauserman Carroll if the MCU version of Spider-Man will deal with the death of Peter's Uncle Ben. He told me no, and then told me why:
We thought that, to keep this fun, light tone, as soon as they have to have their, like, 'Let's remember our dearly departed father figure' -- it derails that a little. And again, what we're trying to tell is this sort of fun story of the kid who is doing all the wrong things for the right reasons. And once you do that, it stops becoming a fun movie about a kid trying to be a kid. He's mourning the loss of a parent.
They talk about [Ben], absolutely. It's not... it's not a huge thing that I want to go into too much, but there is an acknowledgment that there was a Ben. ... He's not around anymore, for sure. They talk about that. We don't go into any specifics. ... We're implying he's dead. We have not at all, again, gone into trying to change his origin story.
I completely understand that Spider-Man: Homecoming is finding its way into the MCU. Tom Holland benefitted by the fact that he made his debut in a non-Spider-Man movie, but no we're getting a solo Spidey film this summer, and we expect all of the beats of a Spider-Man film. Except his origin. We won't see the radioactive spider bite. And we won't see Uncle Ben's murder, because the general consensus is that audiences -- after two other big-screen Spidey franchises -- have seen it all done before, and there's no need to rehash it.
Agree? Disagree? The death of Uncle Ben, which Peter could have prevented, is a cornerstone of Peter Parker's origin story. And yet, I agree with Marvel and Sony that they don't need to go down that route again anytime soon. We know it. They need to acknowledge it. But dwelling on dead family members might have doomed Andrew Garfield's two Spider-Man movies, and the studios have learned from that mistake.