First of all, to be clear: no one is saying that Marvel Studios and Sony should kill off Peter Parker right this second. Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man is great, and he's only just been introduced. Plus, between Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4 and the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, he’s got plenty to be getting on with over the next few years.
However, once Holland’s Peter has established himself as a household name superhero within the MCU, and become a role model for kids and a beacon of hope, a lot could be achieved – on a story level – by killing him off.
There’s a precedent for this in comics. Also, this being superhero storytelling, there are plenty of ways to bring him back if things don’t work out.
It would be a bold move from Marvel and Sony, to kill off one of the most iconic characters in the superhero landscape, but it could open all sorts of doors on many different levels.
It would also be the sort of massive shock that grabs headlines and increases interest, both of which are vital components in maintaining the longevity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So yes, although the idea might come as a shock initially, here they are the 15 Reasons The MCU Needs To Kill Off Peter Parker...
15 Miles Morales Deserves A Chance...
Fans around the globe let out a little "squee" when Donald Glover’s character Aaron Davis (aka The Prowler) mentioned his nephew in Spider-Man: Homecoming. That’s because, in the comics, Aaron is the uncle of Miles Morales. In the Ultimate comic book line, Peter Parker died and Miles Morales took over as Spider-Man.
Was Homecoming’s reference a fan-teasing Easter egg, or a genuine promise of things to come? It’s impossible to say, but there’s definitely potential in the Miles Morales story.
In the comics, a radioactive spider snuck into Aaron’s loot bag when he was out on a robbery. (The darned crook!) It nibbled on Miles a while later, imbuing the teen with the powers of his boyhood hero, Spider-Man.
The story of a young man trying to emulate Spider-Man after the original one is killed in a brutal battle (it was the Green Goblin that killed Peter in the comics), is a story many would like to see on the big screen.
The question is: does Marvel have the guts to do it?
14 … And So Does Spider-Gwen
Miles isn’t the only alternate Spider-hero on the market. The other incredibly popular one is the Gwen Stacy version of Spider-Woman (more commonly known as Spider-Gwen, here in the real world). In the comics, this alternative-reality version of Spidey exists in a world where Gwen was bitten instead of Peter.
For the movies, though, they could set up a situation where Peter dies and Gwen tries to follow in his footsteps. The costume and the general feel of the comics would stay the same, but the origin would be slightly twisted.
In the wake of Peter’s death, there’s no reason why there couldn’t be more than one franchise-friendly hero trying to plug the gap. The inherent coolness of Spider-Gwen-- with her hood and her drum-playing-- could surely shift some tickets.
13 Peter Could Have An Emotional, Tragic, And Heroic Farewell
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nothing properly ends. At the end of each adventure, there is always a tease of the next one. Sometimes you get as many as five stingers.
Of course, it’s easy to argue that this tradition of setting up the next chapter in the series is a holdover from the comics. It’s also easy to point out that lots of fans love waiting through the credits to get a glimpse of what’s coming next and/or get trolled by Chris Evans.
However, there’s value in a definitive, satisfying conclusion to an arc. There’s a reason that the traditional story structure has a beginning, a middle and an end.
No ending would suit Peter Parker better than him sacrificing his life to save his loved ones. In failing to act, he enabled the death of Uncle Ben. However, now, having learned that life lesson, he’d happily make the sacrifice play to save Aunt May and/or everyone else he cares about.
There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house, as Peter Parker breathed his last and – just like in the Ultimate comics – expressed happiness at saving his friends and family.
12 The MCU’s Stakes Need To Feel Real
As well providing a big emotional end to Peter’s story, killing off the original Spider-Man would help the MCU with one of its growing issues: that the stakes never feel very genuine. There’s always a way out, and almost always a happy ending.
The only Avenger to die has been the one-movie-wonder Quicksilver, who no one really cared about. Even Captain America: Civil War – the most brutal film in this franchise – stopped short of killing anyone important.
Offing one of the biggest names in comics would be one way to throw the common "no one ever dies" criticism out of the window and make it feel like no is safe anymore.
Killing Peter Parker could be the MCU’s "Ned Stark gets beheaded" moment, setting fans on edge with mix of nervous excitement and morbid dread. Once and for all, it would prove that there are stakes in this universe.
11 It Could Secure The Future Of The MCU
Surely, Kevin Feige and his chums want the MCU to last forever. Marvel movies dominating the box office until the end of days – that’s the dream. However, to achieve that, they have to settle on a way to replace characters when the iconic actor associated with them has to leave for whatever reason.
Recasting everyone seems impossible (would anyone really accept a different actor as Tony Stark or Peter Parker in the MCU?) and Marvel retiring these iconic brands altogether seems highly unlikely. That only leaves one real option: put a different character in the suit.
By killing Peter and replacing him with Miles and/or Gwen and/or anyone else, the brains behind the MCU could secure the future of their sprawling interconnected mega-franchise.
It could open doors to the Bucky Barnes version of Captain America, the Riri Williams version of Iron Man, the Kamala Khan take on Captain/Miss/Ms. Marvel, and so forth.
This precedent needs to be set by someone, and who better than Peter to usher the MCU into a new era?
10 It’s More Interesting Than A Corporate, Grown-Up Peter Parker…
The alternative, arguably, isn’t super interesting. Once they’ve finished exploring Peter’s high school, college, and "struggling to find his way in the world" years, where is there left to go?
Recently, comic book writer Dan Slott explored one option, by ageing Peter up into the CEO of a tech giant named Parker Industries. As well as being a globetrotting businessman, this grown up Peter continued being Spider-Man as well as having Miles Morales’ Spidey and the Hobie Brown version of Prowler on his payroll.
It was fine, but it doesn’t really have anything new to offer the MCU. Fans have seen Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark doing fairly similar stuff since 2008, and transitioning Tom Holland’s Peter into that kind of role wouldn’t feel particularly fresh.
Instead, in killing Peter off, Feige and co. would be able to explore new ground with exciting characters that haven’t had their shot on the big screen before.
9 … And More Fun Than Recasting/Rebooting Peter Again
Another classic move from the comics, when characters run out of steam, is to reboot the whole universe and be done with it.
With Infinity Stones and other magic McGuffins on the playing field, there would be nothing – on paper – stopping the MCU overlords from pressing some sort of cosmic reset button and starting again, a little ways down the road, when things are threatening to go stale.
This would mean recasting Peter Parker and going back to high school, yet again. No matter how long Tom Holland stays in the role, it’s hard to imagine fans ever wanting to see that.
Across the Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland iterations of the character, fans have seen plenty of early-in-the-journey Peter Parker stories.
In however many years time, then, when the time comes to give the Spider-Man franchise a new lease of life, killing Peter off and bringing in someone new would be the best option on the table. Rebooting again would probably be the worst.
8 It's An Opportunity For More Diversity In The MCU
Let it not be said that the MCU isn’t diverse. Black Panther’s incredible cast is the ultimate proof that this is a place where characters and actors of any ethnicity can flourish. However, there’s always more that can be done to push the boundaries and give more demographics a spotlight.
Miles Morales is half black and half Hispanic. Finding an actor to fit that bill and allowing them to lead a tentpole movie as a new version of Spider-Man would be real groundbreaking stuff.
Additionally, in terms of gender, giving Gwen Stacy a shot in the suit could be awesomely progressive as well. Marvel Studios – at the time of writing – hasn’t released a movie with a female protagonist. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel movie will buck that trend shortly, and Spider-Gwen could be one of the characters to follow her in footsteps.
Handing over a franchise as lucrative as Spider-Man to a person of colour and/or a woman would be a huge sign of Marvel’s open-mindedness.
So, as well as being rich in story potential, killing Peter Parker could also open some progressive doors. Why shouldn’t the most iconic franchises be shared by everyone?
7 It Would Create A Vacuum For Street Level Crooks To Exploit…
With Spider-Man: Homecoming, director Jon Watts and the five other credited writers made the neat decision to position Marvel’s wall-crawler as a street-level superhero, dealing with lowlife crooks that seek to fly under the radar of Tony Stark and the other penthouse-level heroes.
Michael Keaton’s Vulture, using the scrap left by Avengers battles, was able to build an arsenal of weapons that makes short work of robbing banks and disintegrating people.
The mid-credits scene with Michael Mando’s Mac "Scorpion" Gargan hinted that an alliance could be on the way between Vulture and other likeminded criminals. The implication there is that Spidey will have plentiful powerful foes on his plate in the years to come.
If they take Peter Parker out of that equation, by eventually killing him off, it’s easy to see the street-level villains of New York running absolutely rampant in a volatile power vacuum.
This should provide loads of opportunities for action and drama for whichever person attempts to follow in Peter’s footsteps.
6 … Which Would Make The Story Personal For Miles And/Or Gwen
Picture it: in the wake of Peter Parker’s death, the criminals of New York are going absolutely berserk – they’re blowing up banks, killing people, and stealing churros from old ladies. This would bring some serious personal stakes to the table for Miles Morales and/or Gwen Stacy.
Miles’ uncle Aaron is already way too close to the dangerous materials floating around the city. It’s easy to picture a young Miles, new to the superhero game, trying to keep his uncle out of harm’s way, without revealing his secret identity. They could even push Aaron into outright Prowler villain territory, and have him unknowingly beat up Miles.
Gwen’s dad, of course, is the NYPD’s Captain George Stacy. In a similar way, it’s not hard to imagine a movie where Spider-Gwen struggles to protect her father as the crooks in the city go mad with power. Just imagine Captain Stacy’s rage if he managed to unmask the latest unregistered vigilante... only to find his own daughter’s face.
Either of these stories could provide a big emotional hook to fill the gap left by Peter. Or Marvel could hedge their bets and do both – have Miles and Gwen in a two-hander movie.
5 It Would Help To Distance The MCU From The Previous Spider-Man Franchises
Whether they go with the Miles Morales story, the Gwen Stacy story, a combination of the two, or something else entirely, one thing’s for sure: killing off Peter Parker and replacing him with a different Spider-Man-Or-Woman would ensure that the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels distinct from the previous Spider-Man franchises.
Killing off a fan favourite character and dealing with the aftermath is something that is easy to do – and quite common – in the comics. However, in the movies, with the budgets as high as they are and box office draw so vital, it would be a major, ballsy, unprecedented move. It would be totally different to the previous Spidey films.
People would talk about it, outside of the usual fan circles. They would rush to see the new Spider-Man in action, unsure of what to expect now that the familiarity of Peter Parker has gone. What would a Spidey franchise look like without Peter? Without Aunt May? Genuinely, it’s hard to say, and that’s an exciting place to start.
4 It Could Help Build A Spider-Verse Crossover Event
Arguably, an adaptation of the Spider-Verse comics is the Holy Grail of cinematic Spidey stories. It’s no secret that Sony wants spinoffs, solo movies and more: a cinematic universe built around the web-slinging brand. This epic event would be the ultimate realisation of those goals.
If you’re unfamiliar, Spider-Verse is a dimension-spanning crossover story in which the Spider-heroes from countless parallel realities team up to take down a legion of villains that wants them dead. Undoubtedly, if Sony could pull off a film version and sell audiences on the idea of alternate Spideys, they would be smashing open an enormous piggybank of possibilities.
Killing Peter in the MCU reality could be an important stepping-stone in working towards Spider-Verse. It would help seed the idea that not every version of this story is the same. Not every universe has Peter Parker in the suit. Sometimes, there’s no happily ever after for Peter, and someone else has to take over.
(Idle fan boy thought: if they ever do make a Spider-Verse film, how cool it would be if Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield swung by for cameos?)
3 Grief And Regret For Tony Stark (If He’s Still Around)
A lot of this article has been about the far-flung future – the things that Marvel and Sony could achieve if they killed Peter Parker off. The movies they could make next. The characters they could bring in to replace him. But let’s not forget the immediate impact that the death of Spidey would have.
Obviously, Aunt May and Ned would be in bits, as would anyone else that Peter gets close to over the next few films. Within the superhero community, there’s one person that would definitely drink a heavy cocktail of grief, guilt and regret if Peter died in the line of duty: Tony Stark.
If Tony is still an active player in the MCU if/when Peter bites the bullet, the death of his protégée would surely send him into one of his classic self-destructive spirals. Possibly his worst one yet.
Again, this is another way to keep things fresh. Characters will eventually stagnate if nothing major ever really shakes their world. For Tony, who seemed to be filling the gap left by his dead parents by taking Peter under his wing in Homecoming, nothing could push him into a dark place quite like Peter dying on his watch.
2 They Could Bring Peter Back Later, With New Powers And A Dark Streak
So, it’s pretty clear - between Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Verse – that Sony and Marvel could open the door to all sorts of stories by pulling the trigger and offing Peter Parker. There are a good few years of attention-grabbing movies that could follow on from the original Spidey’s tragic demise.
But then what? Well, there’s one obvious thing: once the post-Peter timeline has been explored to its fullest potential, they could execute The Other storyline from the comics and bring Peter Parker back to life.
Therein, Peter died and a cocoon grew around his corpse. He saw visions, telling him to embrace ‘the Other’, to let his spider side grow. He eventually emerged, alive and purged of illness, having evolved physically and gained new powers.
Post-transformation, Peter had organic webs, night vision, healing powers, paralyzing venom and razor sharp retractable stingers. Sending this beefed up and slightly darker version of Peter back into the MCU, after a few years away, could open up even more exciting story options.
1 It Would Force Peter To Confront His Legacy
Tom Holland’s Peter comes back to MCU, a bit darker and a bit wiser, having spent a lot of time trapped in his own mind and a corpse cocoon. What does he find? A young kid, and/or his ex-girlfriend trying to emulate the antics that got him killed.
It’s easy to see Peter going into full on stubborn worrywart mode here, trying to force his Spider-replacements to give up the fight and be with their families. Peter tried to save the world, and it didn’t end well for him.
This story arc would put Peter in a similar position to Tony in Homecoming, allowing things to come full circle a bit. The student is now the master, and Peter suddenly understands why Tony tried to keep him at the friendly neighbourhood level – for his own good.
This has all been speculation, of course, but it does feel like there’s a lot of story potential in killing off Peter in a few years time. New heroes would get a chance, villains could have a field day, Tony would go mad with grief, and it could help build to cool stories like Spider-Verse and The Other.
It certainly feels like a fresher, riper route than pushing Peter into more and more personal dramas, rehashing what fans have already seen until the box office well runs dry...
What do you want to see in Spider-Man's MCU future? Should Peter Parker be laid off? Leave your thoughts in the comments!