Apparently Spider-Man's Classic Origin, Particularly The Spider Bite, Wasn't Even Discussed By Captain America: Civil War's Screenwriters

Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Much like Batman’s parents being killed by a mugger in Crime Alley and Superman being launched off of Krypton before it exploded, the moviegoing public is quite familiar with Spider-Man’s origins, i.e. him gaining his special abilities after being bitten by a radioactive/genetically-altered spider. And yet, in sharp contrast with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s respective Spider-Man film series, we never saw the origin of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, this wasn’t even discussed by the screenwriters of Captain America: Civil War, which brought Holland’s Peter into the MCU fold.

CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell has a new book out called With Great Power: How Spider-Man Conquered Hollywood During The Golden Age Of Comic Book Blockbusters. Among the people who’ve been involved with the various Spider-Man movies who Sean spoke to for the book was Christopher Markus, who co-wrote Captain America: Civil War with Stephen McFeely. On the subject of Civil War not even referencing the spider bite, Markus acknowledged that he and McFeely never came up with the exact circumstances for how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker became a superhero, saying:

I mean, God knows there would have to be something not unlike that, probably. But no, I wouldn’t say . . . I mean, I think he was bitten by a radioactive spider on a field trip. We never talked about that either, but I think that’s what happened.

Given everything that Captain America: Civil War already had on its plate, from the passing of the Sokovia Accords to also introducing Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, it makes sense why we didn’t see Spider-Man’s origin, particularly since by that point, Peter had been web-slinging for roughly a year. Still, it’s interesting that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely didn’t even hash out a specific origin story scenario as background information. Sure, it’s confirmed in Spider-Man: Homecoming that Peter was indeed bitten by a spider, but to this day, we still haven’t seen or heard exactly how this happened.

Speaking of Spider-Man: Homecoming, which followed a year after Captain America: Civil War, Sean O’Connell also spoke with Homecoming’s director Jon Watts, who said that while he has “a couple sort of vague ideas” about how the spider bite happened for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, he only ever thought about it with regard to how he’d need it to hold his “story logic” together. In Watts’ words:

It was just so nice to skip past it and just deal more with the repercussions, and just explore it from the perspective of someone else finding out about it, and having a lot of questions.

The spider bite wasn’t the only aspect of Spider-Man’s origin story that hasn’t been explored in the MCU. None of the Spider-Man movies in the film series have directly mentioned Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, including the circumstances concerning how he died. Shortly before Spider-Man: Homecoming came out, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told CinemaBlend that this aspect of Peter’s past wasn’t touched on because they wanted to let audience “fill in those blanks right now.” Since then, Ben was mentioned in the What If… ? episode "What If... Zombies?!”, but his famous “With great power comes great responsibility” line was given to Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May in Spider-Man: No Way Home

Although No Way Home’s ending closed out the chapter of Peter Parker’s life that began in Captain America: Civil War, we haven’t necessarily seen the last of him in the MCU. Another Tom Holland-led Spider-Man trilogy is in development, and while there’s no timetable on when that will begin, perhaps they could be when light is finally shed on how this Peter’s superhero journey began. On the other hand, with so much time having passed and general audiences not needing a refresher on the spider bite nor Uncle Ben’s death, perhaps we should make peace with that ship having sailed, and instead just look forward to seeing Peter navigate a world where no one remembers who he is.

You can learn more about the history of Spider-Man on film by picking up With Great Power on Amazon (opens in new tab) and other places where books are sold, and as soon as official information is revealed about the next Spider-Man movie, we’ll pass it along. In the meantime, there are plenty of other upcoming Marvel movies to keep track of when you’re not watching the Marvel movies in order with your Disney+ subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.