That Was Never Meant To (And Couldn't) Be Be Spider-Man
As cool as the Spider-Man/Iron Man 2 cameo is, it could only ever be retconned years after the fact. When Marvel Studios was working on Iron Man 2, they did not have any access to Spider-Man. Sony purchased the film rights to the web-slinger and his full array of characters decades ago, and when Iron Man 2 was released in 2010, Sony was figuring out what would come next for Spider-Man on the big screen after Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 fell apart. The decision was made to reboot Spider-Man, and just a few months after Iron Man 2 was released, Sony announced Andrew Garfield had been cast as the next Spidey. Although reports followed that Sony and Marvel were discussing a way to bring The Amazing Spider-Man into the MCU, no such deal transpired.
Due to Sony still holding control of Spider-Man's film rights, Marvel could not legally use Spider-Man in any way at this time. That changed in 2015 with an unprecedented deal in 2015 that allowed Spider-Man to be shared by both studios; the Garfield series was ended and Holland entered as the MCU Peter Parker. It was only at this point he could be integrated into Captain America: Civil War and have a backstory worked into the previous movies. Bottom line, Kevin Feige and his team of producers may plan films, storylines, and character introductions years in advance, but this is not one of those instances.
Why Marvel Made The Spider-Man/Iron Man 2 Retcon
But legal logistics only explain the how, not the why: why exactly would Marvel Studios go out of the way to approve of a fan theory about a 2010 movie? It may simply just be because it is such an easy one to do. Plainly, it worked effortlessly. There's no exact age given to the child at Stark Expo, and even with the MCU's sometimes confusing timeline, it is easy to believe that the kid under the mask is a younger Peter Parker. Plus, this theory is one that may have been just too good for Marvel to take advantage of, especially as Marvel began to lean heavily on Spider-Man and Iron Man's relationship.
Tony was there for Peter's first scene in Captain America: Civil War and has taken the young hero under his wing. The bond they share only grew in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter tried to prove to Tony that he's every bit of a hero as his longtime idol. And of course, them going on their intergalactic journey in Avengers: Infinity War further showed that this relationship has become much more than just a mentor and mentee. There is a father-son dynamic at play, felt when Tony's trying to keep Peter out of harm's way by trying to send him back to Earth, and in the heartbreaking goodbye they share as Peter is turned to dust. Iron Man was already part of Peter's life long before he gained superpowers of his own, but now there's just an extra layer of meaning thanks to this retcon.
Even though Marvel never planned on Iron Man 2 featuring Peter Parker's introduction, it was a brilliant choice to make.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019