We all know the first part of Spider-Man’s story: witnessed Uncle Ben’s death, carried the baggage that motivated him to become the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and eventually became the web-slinging superhero we all love.
Ben Parker’s death is a very significant turning point in the life of Peter Parker. For two movie versions, both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield-starred films explicitly showed how Uncle Ben was murdered.
In Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, his story starts months after he and his unbelievably hot aunt endured that tragedy. Although he wasn’t specifically mentioned in the movie, it is implied when Peter asks Ned to keep his secret from the world for his Aunt May’s sake… “after all she has been through.”
Spider-Man first debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War (2016.) Tony Stark recruited him as an ally, and eventually became Peter’s mentor and father figure. During the events of Avengers: Endgame, Tony sacrifices himself in order to defeat Thanos, a tragic loss that has a huge impact on Peter’s life (as seen in this summer’s Spider-Man: Far From Home)
A bold new direction:
Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts says that Tony is basically MCU’s Uncle Ben. When asked about Tony filling in the shoes of Peter’s late uncle, Watts replied:
“What I would say is that loss is such as big part of who Peter Parker is in the comics, whether it be Uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy… In a way, I felt like this fit in very naturally and allowed me to tell the kind of Spider-Man stories that I think people want to see. So yeah, I think even if it’s not a direct comp for Uncle Ben, it definitely allows me to explore some of the similar themes.”Jon Watts
He also added that Tony’s death is not a direct imitation of Uncle Ben’s fate. He just wanted to make the story as natural as possible, allowing to delve into a similar yet distinct theme. When asked about his thoughts regarding Tony Stark and Uncle Ben’s role in Peter’s life, Tom Holland answered:
“I think he probably was, you know? I think he very, very much took on the mantle as father figure, and losing him is a huge blow to Peter Parker obviously.”Tom Holland
Marvel has a knack for mixing things up so it should not come as a shock. For example, Zendaya’s MJ character is pretty much inspired by Peter’s love interest, Mary Jane Watson, but still she’s her own character. It goes the same with Vulture and Mysterio. Despite a few changes, these characters tell the same story.
If Tony becomes Uncle Ben in the MCU, it doesn’t cancel out the fact that Peter became a superhero because of the loss of a father figure. Whether Marvel implies that analogy or not, it still establishes the fact that Iron Man’s tragic demise is reminiscent of past incarnations in the form of Uncle Ben.
Would you still like to see Uncle Ben’s death play out in the MCU? Maybe as a flashback?