[SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Homecoming.]
In Spider-Man comics and movies, a character who has been a consistent source of inspiration for Peter Parker is Uncle Ben, who delivers the famous line: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Despite the character’s importance in Spider-Man’s life, Uncle Ben is noticeably absent in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Though Peter has already become Spider-Man prior to the film, some fans expected a flashback or even a reference to the character’s iconic death scene following Peter’s decision to selfishly allow a criminal to escape.
Co-producer Eric Carroll revealed in an interview with Screen Rant that Ben is referenced; however, there won’t be details on why he’s not around anymore. In the comic books, the death of Uncle Ben weighed heavily on Spider-Man and contributed to his character development. Carroll said that the intention of avoiding Ben’s death was to make sure the film maintained its light tone.
In an interview with Uproxx, director Jon Watts spoke more about the decision not to include Uncle Ben.
“I wanted to make sure that nothing like that was dwelled on, because I did want to focus on just the excitement of what it would be like to be 15 and to have those powers. So, you know, what happens in the movie is what has happened, but it’s still a jumping-off point to see where else we can go.”
Watts’ statement makes a lot of sense, as Marvel made it clear from the get-go that this iteration of Spider-Man wasn’t going to retread the familiar steps taken by the other two franchises, especially Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which tasked itself with retelling Peter’s origin and the untimely death of his uncle. With the decision to skip the fateful spider bite and the perhaps even more fateful realization of power and responsibility, Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds — on paper anyway — in setting itself apart from that which has come before. It’s a risk, as some fans will likely wonder why they don’t get to see Tom Holland go through the big steps of becoming Marvel’s preeminent superhero, but from what’s been said about the film so far, the risk pays off.
Watts also says that since the sequel hasn’t been written yet, meaning that Uncle Ben’s place in the MCU has yet to be determined. We won’t find out what happened to him in the upcoming movie, but his fate could still be explored in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2.
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