Spider-Man's Origin Is A Smart Secret
But there's another reason Marvel has chosen not to tell Spider-Man's origin story again; it's because they're well aware people will think they know it, and as a result the studio can take audiences by surprise if they switch things up. As Kevin Feige explained in an interview with Cinema Blend:
"The truth is, we want audiences to bring their own... let them fill in those blanks right now. They've seen the other films. They've read comics. They can fill that in. That was a very purposeful decision we made to not retread that ground. There are little things that are said here and there that people can read into. What the specific facts are in the past, we don't... we haven't revealed yet."
The significance of all this becomes clear when viewers stop to ask themselves a few key questions. Where did the radioactive spider come from? In the original comics, the spider happened to dangle in front of an experiment, and its body was suffused with mysterious energy. Dying, the spider fell towards the ground, and landed on Peter Parker's outstretched hand. Reflexively, it bit, injecting its venom into his bloodstream, and thus creating Spider-Man. That's the traditional origin, but it's actually been reworked a number of times in the comics. One story arc suggested the spider was destined to bite Peter, transforming him into a mystic "Spider Totem." It was always going to bite him, and the radiation was an accident that simply complicated things. In the Ultimate Comics version, a modernized retelling of the Marvel Universe, the spiders had been genetically engineered by Norman Osborn in order to create super-soldiers. One escaped, and bit Peter Parker when he was visiting OsCorp on a school trip. Between these three very different options, the comics allow Marvel Studios a lot of leeway. And they could even choose to do something completely fresh and new - should they ever wish to.
Another question: Did the spider bite only Peter, or did it go on to bite someone else as well before it died? During the "Original Sin" event in the comics, writer Dan Slott revealed that another of Peter's classmates was also bitten by the spider. Cindy Moon was quickly ferried away by Ezekiel, a man who understood the power of the Spider Totems and who feared she would draw the attention of an interdimensional race known as the Inheritors. When Peter learned of Cindy's existence, he broke her out, and she became the superhero Silk. Tiffany Espensen plays one of Peter's classmates, Cindy, in the MCU - and she's the spitting image of Silk. Cindy has yet to demonstrate any super-powers, but that could change in a future movie. Again, the fact Marvel hasn't shown the spider-bite means the spider could easily have survived long enough to create more superhumans.
And are there any other spiders? If the MCU's spider was an accident, then it's unlikely to be repeated. If it was created, as in the Ultimate Universe, then the odds are good that there are other radioactive spiders out there. In the Ultimate Comics, another spider escaped OsCorp, and it eventually found its way to a teenager called Miles Morales. Miles became the Ultimate Spider-Man, one of Marvel's most popular teen heroes, and the star of Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. He's already been confirmed to be part of the MCU, meaning the potential is there for him to be introduced as another superhero further down the line. It all depends on just what happened.
By concealing Spider-Man's origin, Marvel ensured they had the maximum room to maneuver. They could effortlessly write OsCorp, Norman Osborn, and the Green Goblin into Spider-Man's backstory, and nobody would bat an eye. They could set up superheroes like Silk and Miles Morales' Spider-Man, and it would all feel natural and organic. It really was a smart move on Marvel's part.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019