Anyone who has read or watched a Spider-Man story knows Uncle Ben. Because his death catalyzes Spider-Man, he's an integral part of the character's origins and a galvanizing force behind everything the superhero does. But surprisingly, the latest batch of live-action Spidey stories haven't mentioned Ben at all. Director Jon Watts's Spider-Man Homecoming almost addressed Ben's death, but ended up scrapping the idea and only hinted to Ben. While the MCU is largely uninterested in Uncle Ben, its latest entry, Spider-Man: Far From Home, very subtly inserts Ben into its continuity.
To remove Uncle Ben from the Spider-Man mythos would be to rip Peter Parker away from the biggest reason he's Spider-Man at all. Peter's wise, gentle father figure instilled in him a responsibility that would define Peter's superheroics. He was, is, and continues to be a powerful influence for Peter.
When Matt Singer of ScreenCrush asked Jon Watts whether or not Ben even existed in the MCU, the director answered:
Yes. Definitely. Did you notice his initials on Peter’s suitcase?
BFP. Ben ... Franklin? ... Parker. But then he might've backtracked a bit. When Jon Watts was asked if he was now willing to say "Yes, Uncle Ben did exist in the MCU," Watts seemed to hedge -- on the "did":
Yeah. I mean, we don’t know. [Pause] We never specifically say anything about him. So whether or not he’s around or not.
Jon Watts was then asked if Uncle Ben was still alive, to which the director responded:
Yeah. Everything’s on the table, is how I like to say it.
Boom. Bombshell #2. Looks like Marvel may have some Uncle Ben stuff planned. Maybe Peter will find out his uncle is alive, realize he has no real sense of duty now that his reason is standing right in front of him, and ditch the mask and spandex for a more peaceful life. Or, you know, he could see Ben's return as even more of a reason to continue being Spider-Man.
One of the Spider-Man: Homecoming writers previously mentioned almost including a scene in that movie where Aunt May referenced Uncle Ben directly. It was when Peter was getting ready for homecoming and the wardrobe she gave him to wear was all Uncle Ben's clothes. But the writers scrapped the idea because it veered from Peter's arc and they figured if you're going to talk about someone's death, don't make it so casual.
So we're basically back to square one now, with Uncle Ben potentially not even being dead in the MCU. And, with a third installment definitely on the way, Jon Watts's tenure as a Spider-Man director isn't over and neither is the possibility that Ben will get a full shout-out in the MCU.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now playing in theaters everywhere. And it's great. Check it out!