Warning: SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Peter Parker's life will never be the same, after Spider-Man: Far From Home's post credits scene revealed his secret superhero identity to the world. Which means that a time when the future of Marvel's movie universe has never been more of a mystery, fans will now be asking what role Spider-Man can even play in it.
But believe it or not, there's reason to suspect Marvel haven't backed themselves into as much of a corner as it may seem. Because Spider-Man had his identity revealed publicly in the comics--and was eventually able to undo that bombshell, and return to anonymity. The good news is that after Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU has put all the necessary pieces into place to repeat that same solution. The bad news? The story that followed Spider-Man's reveal in the comics was so bad... modern day Marvel writers even admit it's Spider-Man's biggest mistake. But could Marvel Studios try it one more time?
There's No Going Back For Spider-Man... Right?
When the final credits close after Far From Home, and Peter Parker's identity is revealed to the world, the first question fans will ask is whether this, too, happened in the comics - and how Spider-Man managed to make it work without a secret identity. But that question isn't as simple to answer as some will hope, since the Spider-Man movies have leaped over years, decades even, of his comic book career. In the comics, Peter chose to reveal his identity as part of the larger Civil War event, having taken the stance that super-powered people are obligated, in some way, to make themselves known. And so he did on live television, announcing that he had secretly been Spider-Man since his teen years.
The problem with using the fallout as a guide for what Marvel will do next is that Peter mainly had to deal with Civil War drama, soon regretting his decision completely, siding with Captain America against his former friend Iron Man, and being left with no real solution to "undo" his public unmasking. Things took a turn when Kingpin ordered a hit on Parker... and shot Aunt May, instead. That result seems the most obvious threat to be adapted to the MCU story, out of all other repercussions of Peter's exposure. And when Aunt May's life began to slip away, Peter began his quest to return things to the way they were.
How Spider-Man 'Undid' His Public Reveal
Those Marvel fans familiar with the famous (infamous?) solution to Peter's exposure will know what happens next. But to make a long story short, the "One More Day" arc saw Peter decide to make a deal with Mephisto, effectively The Devil of Marvel's universe. Willing to trade his own soul to keep Aunt May alive, the bargain actually seems like the kind of decision Peter Parker - any version of Parker - would make in a time of crisis. Mephisto agrees to give Spider-Man what he asks... but he isn't interested in a hero's soul, sacrificed for a noble purpose. Instead, Mephisto wants Peter Parker's greatest love. Well, his greatest love story, to be more precise.
As we mentioned above, Peter had become an adult by the time Civil War came around to unmask him (as opposed to the MCU, no matter how broken Spider-Man's MCU timeline may be). That life included a love story with Mary Jane Watson, including them becoming husband and wife. And THAT is what Mephisto demanded to close the deal. In return, Peter and MJ became ex-lovers, Aunt May was restored to life, and all memory of Peter Parker's public identity were erased.
So for those asking how Peter Parker made the world forget he was Spider-Man, that's the simple answer. But there's one serious problem to worry about...
'One More Day' is Spider-Man's Worst Story
There's a good chance that in reading the above explanation, fans were confused as to what Peter's superhero identity has to do with his marriage, and a deal with the Devil. In which case, they now know the agony endured by comic fans who watched the story play out in real time. While one could claim that Marvel dealt with Peter's secret identity by 'having it erased in a deal with the Devil,' that wasn't actually part of the deal. But since the rest of the story made just as little sense--requiring Spider-Man, the most pure-hearted of heroes, to make a pact with The Devil for selfish reasons--fans lumped it into the larger sentiment that "One More Day" was likely the single worst Spider-Man story ever told. To this day, it's used as a shorthand for editorial forcing a story, shocking fans with a new twist whether it's true to the character or not.
It's possible that no excuse or explanation would have been happily accepted, since it was always going to undercut any significance of Peter's unmasking. Sadly, the final scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home takes the very first step for the MCU's version of Peter to walk the same path. Now that Mysterio's gang has let Peter's identity be known to the world, villains looking to get some payback don't just know where to find Spider-Man, but also know to hurt Aunt May, or his closest friends, too. That's the perfect opportunity to unite an MCU version of the Sinister Six to strike where Peter is most vulnerable, posing a threat like none he faced before. Heck, it's a whole lot easier for Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom to find Spider-Man if his identity makes headlines, too.
In the current series, Peter only has Aunt May for living family, making her as big a target as ever. And now that Peter and MJ have shared their secrets (and their feelings), losing their potential love story is the one thing that would break his heart. There are plenty of ways for Peter to turn back the clock to restore his secret, from time travel, altering reality, or even magic with a potential Spider-Man/Doctor Strange crossover. And of which could accidentally erase his and MJ's connection along with his secret.
But if Marvel is truly walking Spider-Man towards a movie twist on "One More Day" to solve the problem, fans had better prepare for the worst.