Peter's Parents Are A Mystery In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'

by Allie Gemmill

Spider-Man: Homecoming ushers in the third official era of solo Spider-Man films and things are different in some very fundamental ways in this reboot. Sure, there's a new actor playing Queens teen Peter Parker — Marvel newcomer Tom Holland — but there's also a couple folks related to Peter who won't be showing up: his parents. For some reason, the Parkers' whereabouts are a mystery in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it's a major shift in how this new reboot builds the world of Spider-Man.

Peter Parker's parents have been in and out of the picture since the first Spider-Man films of the early '00s came out. When Tobey Maguire starred as Spider-Man, his parents were mentioned in passing by Uncle Ben and Aunt May, but we never got a true sense of who they were. The Parkers were actual characters by the time the second era of Spider-Man arrived (with Andrew Garfield taking up the Peter Parker mantle), and there was more of a connection made between Richard Parker's work and Peter's own superhero powers.

Now, it would seem that in an attempt to not only narrow the focus of this new era of Spider-Man as well as keep Peter's current story as simple as possible, his parents are back to being elusive figures. There's no mention of Peter's parents in any of the trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it would seem that the film isn't interested in dwelling to much in Peter's distant past; the furthest back in time the story goes is references to the events of Captain America: Civil War.

Instead, Spider-Man: Homecoming creates for Peter a father figure in the form of Tony Stark and a new mother figure in Aunt May. Tony figures prominently in the maturation of petulant Peter, who is still very much a teenager in this film. The film also takes the opportunity to show how Tony is pushed into this paternal, mentor-like role; in one instance we see him admonishing Peter after the ferry rescue and taking away the Stark-created Spider suit as punishment. Very paternal indeed.

Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming is considered more of a "big sister," as Marvel's Director of Development Eric Carroll put it to Screencrush, due in part to the effort to age down Aunt May to make for a more realistic aunt-nephew age gap between May and a younger Peter. That doesn't at all detract from the fact that she is regularly seen caring for and talking to Peter with the concern and tone of a parent.

So, while Richard and Mary Parker are distant memories in the mind of the youngest Peter Parker to ever hit the big screen, he's certainly not lacking for good old parental guidance; it's just coming from a different place this time around.