Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Spider-Man: Far From Home
Poor Peter Parker just wanted a break after the events of Avengers: Endgame, but at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home his life gets even more messed up - as his secret identity is revealed to the world! It's an event that will be familiar to those who follow Spider-Man in Marvel Comics, since the web-slinger voluntarily revealed his real name to the world during the Civil War comic event. That decision set off a chain of events that ruined Peter's life and led to a controversial retcon that erased his marriage to Mary Jane.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter feels that he isn't worthy to take up Iron Man's mantle, and hands over Tony's last gift to him - a powerful computer program called EDITH that can access every device on the planet and control an army of drones - to a new superhero called Mysterio (a.k.a. Quentin Beck). Unfortunately, Mysterio isn't as noble as he appears; he's actually just an embittered ex-employee of Stark Industries who was furious when Tony dubbed his holographic technology BARF and used it only for his own therapy. Determined to be loved and respected by the world, Beck used BARF to manufacture fake enemies called Elementals, and used motion capture to create a hologram of himself to fight them, creating the illusion of superpowers.
Spider-Man ultimately defeats Mysterio, who accidentally kills himself with bullets from one of his own drones. In Far From Home's first post-credits scene, however, it's revealed that Mysterio got the last laugh. He recorded a message before he died, revealing Spider-Man's true identity and claiming that Spider-Man ordered the drones to attack London. The video of Mysterio's last message is released by a site called TheDailyBugle.net - which is run by none other than J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson. It's a fantastic cliffhanger - but what could it mean for Spider-Man's future in the MCU? Well, here's what happened when Spider-Man's secret identity was revealed in the comics.
Spider-Man Revealed His Identity As Part Of The Civil War Comics
Written by Mark Millar with art by Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines, Civil War was a major Marvel Comics event published from 2006-2007, affecting all corners of the Marvel Universe. After a showdown between a pack of irresponsible young superheroes and some supervillains with lethal powers results in hundreds of civilian casualties, there's a push to enact the Superhero Registration Act. This requires all superheroes to be unmasked, operate under government control, and be paid for their superhero activities like any other government employee. Captain America: Civil War was loosely based on this comic event and, as in the movie, Spider-Man is on Iron Man's side of the fight in the comics.
Tony pressures Peter to set an example by voluntarily unmasking and revealing his real name on live TV, since he's one of the superheroes who has most closely protected his real identity. Peter agonizes over the decision, knowing it will put Aunt May and Mary Jane at risk, but ultimately agrees to do it because of his loyalty to Tony. Afterwards, however, Peter soon grows uncomfortable with the way Iron Man is handling his side of the war - including building a cyborg clone of Thor that kills Goliath in battle, and imprisoning all captured superheroes in the Negative Zone without trial. Spider-Man switches sides, joining Captain America's team, and when Captain America decides to surrender in order to prevent further destruction and bloodshed, Peter is forced to go on the run with Aunt May and Mary Jane.
Unfortunately, Spider-Man revealing his identity proves to be a costly mistake - and not just because a livid J. Jonah Jameson sues him for $5 million, claiming breach of contract. Kingpin, watching events play out from prison, is delighted to finally have the true name of his old nemesis, and puts out a hit on Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May. In the resulting attack, Aunt May is shot and left with just a few days left to live. Riddled with guilt for indirectly causing her imminent death, Peter goes to desperate lengths in order to save her... with dire consequences.
Spider-Man Makes A Deal With The Devil That Restores His Secret
The story continues in the now-infamous story Spider-Man: One More Day. Determined to find a way to save Aunt May's life, Peter pays a visit to Doctor Strange, who cannot heal May but lets Peter use magical means to search for a way to help her. These fail to produce a solution, and Doctor Strange advises Peter to accept May's death, and simply go and be with her in her final hours. However, Peter is intercepted by the demon Mephisto, who first takes the form of a little girl and then the form of two possible alternate versions of Peter before finally revealing his true face. Mephisto offers Peter a Faustian bargain: he will save Aunt May's life, but in exchange Peter must give up his marriage to Mary Jane. Peter and MJ's love is so rare and pure that eradicating it from existence will be a major win for Mephisto.
Peter and Mary Jane have (you guessed it) one more day together to make their decision, which must be unanimous, and ultimately they decide to make the bargain to save Aunt May's life. The deal sealed, a gleeful Mephisto reveals that the little girl whose form he originally took was actually Peter and MJ's future daughter, who will now never be born. The demon changes the course of history so that Peter and Mary Jane never got married, creating a butterfly effect that changes several important details of the universe. Among them, Spider-Man's secret identity is restored and no one knows his real name - not even other superheroes.
That was the real aim of One More Day, of course: to partially reset Spider-Man's long and complex history and reestablish him as a young, single superhero who still has his anonymity. The events of Civil War still happened, and Spider-Man is technically a fugitive from the law since he's operating as a superhero illegally. However, although some people vaguely remember him unmasking, no one remembers his name or what he looks like under his mask.
What Will Happen in The MCU With Spider-Man?
It's safe to say that, unless Marvel Studios wants to start a riot, we're not going to get an announcement that Spider-Man: Far From Home's sequel will be called Spider-Man: One More Day. The comics' resolution of Spider-Man's secret identity reveal wouldn't make sense in the movie universe anyway, since Peter and MJ aren't married and only kiss for the first time at the very end of Far From Home. Moreover, the MCU Peter Parker's situation is already drastically different, since he didn't voluntarily choose to reveal his name, but was forcibly outed by Mysterio, and now has to deal with the entire world thinking he's a supervillain.
The fact that Spider-Man didn't actually unmask on camera gives the movies a lot more leeway when it comes to potentially getting Peter back in the superhero closet. So far the only thing people have to go on is Mysterio's claim that Peter is Spider-Man, so if Mysterio can be exposed as the real villain, then this claim could be dismissed along with all his other lies. Spider-Man could even seal the deal by finding someone else to wear his costume and be seen in public at the same time as Peter Parker, thereby "proving" that they're not the same person. Another possibility is that Spider-Man doesn't go back in the closet, and his identity is simply left as public knowledge in the MCU - which would certainly be a bold choice.
In terms of the short-term impact of Spider-Man: Far From Home's mid-credits scene, Peter and his loved ones are now exposed to a considerable number of criminals who have been apprehended by Spider-Man, and are probably keen for some revenge. Among them is Mac Gargan a.k.a. Scorpion, who was last seen in prison, pressuring Vulture to reveal Spider-Man's real name. He's not exactly an A-list villain, but there's a good chance that Gargan will return in the sequel to Far From Home looking to exact his revenge. Whatever happens next, things definitely just got very interesting.