Despite Uncle Ben’s significance to Spidey’s origin, Spider-Man: Homecoming barely even addressed the hero’s mentor – but that wasn’t always the case. Homecoming may be facing a lot of competition in theaters, but it’s still managing to help Sony offset their financial woes. The film has surpassed both Amazing Spider-Man films at the domestic box office, and just this week broke past $600 million worldwide. With openings in Japan and China still to come, Homecoming should end up one of the most successful Spidey films ever.
On top of its financial success, the film has been praised by both fans and critics thanks to its humorous and youth-focused tone. That said, a number of changes to the source material have led to debates amongst fans. From the objectification of Aunt May to the confusion around Zendaya’s character, not everything about the film was positively received. One of the biggest issues, however, is the absence of Uncle Ben. With Tony Stark essentially taking the mentor’s role in the film, we only get a few allusions to the death of Peter’s uncle and May’s husband in the film. But at one point, the movie more explicitly addressed Ben’s death.
EW spoke with Spider-Man: Homecoming co-writer John Francis Daley about the decision to exclude Ben, and he had this to say:
“We did talk about there being a scene where [May] references him directly. It was when [Peter] was getting ready for homecoming and the wardrobe she was giving Peter was all Uncle Ben’s clothes. It was a nice moment, but we also knew that it veered away from his arc. If you’re going to talk about someone’s death, you don’t want it to be a throwaway.”
In the end, Daley and co-writer Jonathan Goldstein made the right choice. If Ben wasn’t going to factor into the film, merely having a single line where his impactful death was mentioned wouldn’t have done him justice. Still, the movie could have made more of an effort to have May encourage Peter in Ben’s absence, rather than use Tony in that role. Hopefully, May will have a long future in the MCU to make up for it.
Of course, the decision not to mention Uncle Ben wasn’t the only change made to the movie. We’ve already seen earlier designs for both Spider-Man and the Vulture. There were also originally going to be more Avengers in the film. And at one point, Peter was actually supposed to reveal his identity to the world. Of course, the final costumes worked well in the world of the MCU, keeping just Iron Man helped to streamline things, and Peter’s alter-ego remaining a secret allowed the film to end with a bang.
As Spider-Man: Homecoming continues its run, we’ll likely learn a lot more about the making of the movie — so stay tuned!
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