How Tom Holland’s Peter Parker dramatically returned to the MCU, what this move will mean for all parties involved, and how Deadpool may be key.
One of the most public negotiations in studio history has seemingly taken its final turn with the news that a “third film in the Spider-Man: Homecoming series” will launch in July 2021 and will be produced again by Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, and Amy Pascal. In the most simple of terms, this means that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will still be a part of the MCU during his third and presumably final solo film. The third film will apparently be “Peter Parker centric” and will have to deal with the shocking cliff hanger to Far From Home where (spoiler alert) a dying Mysterio framed Peter for his death, and outed him as Spider-Man to the whole world, so it is key that the film will still be a part of the MCU to finish this story.
The new deal also means that Spider-Man will appear in one undisclosed future MCU movie, which will take Holland’s MCU appearances as Peter Parker to 7, which is more than double any other actor has played the role and it includes 3 solo films, which ties with the amount of solo films that Tobey Maguire had in 2002-2007.
As to what the future MCU film will be, there are multiple options that make sense. It is likely to be at least a large supporting role due to the nature of these negotiations, and with this also in mind, it is likely the appearance will take place soon, with 2022 being the absolute latest. Looking at the options ahead, 2020 has Black Widow (an already filmed prequel to Infinity War) and Eternals (a generation spanning film focusing on gods), and neither of these films have any reason to feature Spider-Man, and therefore can be ruled out. We move to 2021, which kicks off with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings; this is a character that does have history in the comics of teaming up with Spider-Man but the film is an important introduction to a character in the MCU that will likely be hugely overshadowed by the most popular superhero in history appearing in his film, and Marvel is too smart to allow this to happen. Then comes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May of 2021. This film will feature Doctor Strange and Scarlett Witch exploring the multiverse (which could’ve been used as a way to explain Holland’s exit if a new deal couldn’t be reached) and this therefore allows for plenty of opportunity for Spider-Man to feature. If you add into it that the characters have an established MCU relationship, it is the MCU film just before Spider-Man 3, and both are based in New York, then it makes it the most likely place for the character to appear in the films already set, as Thor: Love and Thunder has enough characters already and Spidey doesn’t really fit into that world.
However, I believe that it is most likely that this undisclosed appearance will take place in 2022, where Marvel has yet to specify what the films will be. The most likely two films that Spider-Man could appear in would be a theoretical Avengers 5/Young Avengers where he could again take centre stage in another billion dollar Marvel mash up, but there is a chance that we wont get another Avengers film until at least 2023, as we have been told the Avengers are taking a break post Endgame, and May (where Avengers films have always launched, with the exception of occasionally launching in the last week of April) has already been given to Black Panther 2.
With this in mind, my best guess and also the way I really hope they go with this, is to have Holland’s Parker be the one to co-star in Deadpool 3. This would be a great way to introduce Reynolds’ Wade Wilson to the MCU as the two characters have one of the biggest comic book backgrounds as a duo of any characters, and Holland and Reynolds would have perfect chemistry, as Holland’s awkward Parker would perfectly mash with Reynolds’ sarcastic Wilson. Deadpool is already an incredibly valuable character and will be the only one to survive the X-Men’s move to the MCU, and surely Feige and friends will recognise how perfect this would be for all involved.
However, this may not be the end of Holland as Parker, because there is always a chance another new deal will be struck, and due to the characters age and the amount of storylines and popularity, Spider-Man could continue as the centre of the MCU for many years to come in a deal that would benefit both Sony and Disney (In the 5 Holland has appeared in so far; 1 made over 800 million dollars, 2 have grossed over a billion, and 2 have grossed over 2 billion). This could see Peter Parker in multiple different MCU movies as well as continuing his own solo films every couple of years, but for now that is mere conjecture. For now, Tom Holland is back in the MCU (despite never leaving on screen) and we can’t wait to see what is ahead for the web slinger.
*In a post that will be uploaded in the upcoming days, I will look into the future of Sony’s own Spider-Verse, and due to Kevin Feige’s recent comments, how Spider-Man may feature in that universe as well.