Ahead of his solo franchise reboot, a shiny new Spider-Man is making his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Tom Holland plays Peter Parker in the third Cap film, and his brief appearance at the end of the second full trailer indicated that the webbed one would bring a little levity to this fight between friends. Parker is Team Iron Man in Civil War; it's Tony who beckons him to the fight in the clip. ("I've run out of patience. Underoos!") But does his presence the movie mean that he's officially joining up, and that Spider-Man is an Avenger now? (And if he is, what a time to do it.) As a character, Spidey has a complicated history with the Avengers, so it'll be interesting to see what happens next.
Spider-Man's presence in Civil War wasn't a sure thing from the idea's inception. The film's screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely worked on the script while preparing for two possible outcomes, according to Slash Film. Ideally, the business would be worked out, and they'd get the Marvel okay to write Peter Parker in. Alternatively, the deal could have fallen through for any number of reasons, including the strategic decision to "save" Holland's Spider-Man for Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017. Eventually, they started leaning in the direction of Civil War sans Peter Parker. When the good news arrived, it meant re-carving out a place for the hero in the movie. McFeely told Slash Film, "And we said, 'Great. That’s a lot more work for us. OK. Let’s figure it out.'"
Part of the appeal of bringing Spider-Man into the mix besides giving the audience the chance to get to know a new version of a classic character is that Peter Parker sits outside of the Avengers conflict. He's not a member of the team when he enters the action in Civil War, which makes him the perfect outsider to comment on the tussle. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, McFeely said that an outlier status is one that Parker shares with another new player, Black Panther. "We needed those different perspectives on the same conflict," McFeely explained. "People who didn't have the same angst about everything because they hadn't shared five movies with these people."
What can the plot of Homecoming tell us about Parker's possible future Avengers status? Not much, since no official synopsis or trailers have been released. But the big news there is that Robert Downey Jr. will be appearing in Homecoming as Tony, which suggests that Iron Man will continue to play superhero father figure to young Spidey. Is he planning on recruiting him too? It's a good bet that Spider-Man will show up in the next Avengers two-parter, Infinity War and maybe as a full-fledged Avenger. Marvel hasn't made an announcement on that front yet, but the rumor mill is working overtime. I hope that Peter will be out of high school and ready to commit to full-time world-saving by the time those films roll around.
Finally, Marvel comics don't provide much in the way of confirmation of Spidey-as-Avenger. That's because in his long, long tenure as a character, he's been in and out of that fraternity many times on the page and on a screen. The Marvel Cinematic Universe can rewrite the story of Spider-Man's association with the Avengers however they like. And Civil War might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Images: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (2)