Although it looked at one time like it might not make it, the first MCU-set Spider-Man trilogy has come to its conclusion in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film grossed $1B in just 12 days and Sony and Marvel Studios have already confirmed that they are developing another film in the franchise. As is always the case in the world of comic book movies, the events of the film neatly tied up the plot while setting the table for what comes next. In this case, what comes next is likely another MCU-set trilogy in addition to some opportunities for star Tom Holland to participate in other films both in the MCU and Sony’s universe of Marvel films.
With No Way Home having been in theaters for two weeks, it’s time to join the conversation about what we might expect from the next Spidey trilogy. Of course, the conclusion and the mid-credit scene of No Way Home did set the stage for a couple of storylines to unfold, so let’s start there and work our way out:
J. Jonah Jameson Out to Get Spidey
Spider-Man: No Way Home did end on a little more upbeat note with Spidey swinging through New York in his shiny, new suit during the Christmas season, but that was preceded by Peter Parker suffering through a great deal of personal loss. Present and looming large over Parker while he struggled with the loss of May was the huge, talking head of J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson, who had been dogging Parker throughout, made a final appearance in the film (following the spell that erased Peter Parker from peoples’ minds) with the promise that he’d get to the bottom of the menace that is Spider-Man.
It’s a familiar feeling for long time fans of the Spidey films, especially since J.K. Simmons is back in the role, but there’s reason to believe that unlike the Jameson we saw in the Raimi films, the Jameson might be more than a loud mouth who bullies Parker at the Daily Bugle. The comics lay out a path that could potentially put Parker in real danger due to Jameson’s determination to “bring Spider-Man to justice.” Over the course of a half dozen or so issues beginning in The Amazing Spider-Man #20, Jameson served as essentially an outright villain. He first hired Mac Gargan to investigate how Peter Parker was able to get so many great pictures of Spidey and then took a key role in Gargan being turned into the Scorpion. When that didn’t work, Jameson hired Spencer Smythe to build the first generation of Spider-Slayers.
Having Jameson working against Parker in Spider-Man 4 could really make things difficult for the young hero. An adaptation of the events described above could allow for Michael Mando, who played Gargan in Spider-Man: Homecoming, to return in a beefed up role and allow for the Spider-Slayers to finally make their way to the big screen, maybe even one with Jonah’s mug plastered on it.
The Black Suit
The mid-credit scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home caused as much excitement as any Marvel Studios’ stinger since Nick Fury showed up at Tony Stark’s home in Iron Man. Defying the whole premise of Doctor Strange’s spell to send visitors from other universes back where they belong, a portion of the symbiote worn by Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock in Sony’s Venom films was left behind in the MCU. This is one stinger that’s going to pay off in a big way, especially Marvel Studios’ favorite way: selling toys.
Obviously, that symbiote is going to find its way to Parker and some point and fans will see Spidey in the infamous black symbiote suit for the first time since Spider-Man 3. It’s highly likely that Parker will wear it for a while, certainly long enough to showcase it in the all-but-certain Secret Wars project. It’s also likely we’ll get a little more comic-accurate arc for the symbiote this time that sees the symbiote attempt to permanently bond with Parker because it truly, deeply cared for him. And, like in the comics, when the symbiote leaves Parker it’ll find a new host, only this time it might not be Eddie Brock. With Hardy’s Venom franchise having the success it’s had at the box office, there’s no need to complicate things by adding another Brock to the mix, especially not when Holland can face off against him in the Sony films. No, it might rather make more sense to have the symbiote find another one of its comic book hosts, one that would be happy to cause some problems for Parker.
Mac Gargan Becomes Venom
Should Gargan turn up in Spider-Man 4 and once again be defeated by Spidey, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him teed up for one more run at the Wall-Crawler, only this time on a level playing field. In the comics, after joining with Brock and becoming Venom, the symbiote developed an unsatiable bloodlust. That bloodlust grew larger when it bonded with Gargan and together, they became a much more monstrous version of Venom. For reasons that shouldn’t be too hard to understand, any MCU Venom should probably be VERY different from Sony’s and the Gargan version of the character would easily accomplish that. Should it work out, it would also allow for Gargan/Venom to join the Thunderbolts and/or Dark Avengers.
A New Romance
Fans across the globe felt the pain of Peter Parker walking away from MJ at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home. While it’s hard to believe she’ll be out of the picture forever, her being temporarily out of the picture does allow for Parker to meet one of his many other romantic interests from the comics. And while fans might be feeling the urge to cheer for Gwen Stacy to appear, it’s time for Felicia Hardy to get her time in the spotlight. Felicia showed up for a beat in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but the character, who has been a staple in Spidey comics since 1979, has yet to be fully realized.
The two met at a time when they were both young and vulnerable and despite being on different sides of the law as their alter egos, Spider-Man and Black Cat fell in love with one another. Peter revealed his secret identity to Hardy who, for a time, became his partner. Their relationship lines up nicely with Secret Wars and they both have a history with one particular NYC crime boss.
A Daredevil Team-Up
Spider-Man has always been a staple in Marvel Team-Up comics and no partner makes more sense for him to team-up with in an upcoming Spider-Man film than Daredevil. With Charlie Cox’s return an Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the stage is set for the two high flying crime fighters to run into one another on the rooftops of NYC. And with the Kingpin running NYC’s organized crime, the opportunity is there for the perfect team-up. Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays the Kingpin, recently reiterated his wish to take on Spidey. Tom Holland has indicated interest in taking on the big guy. What more is there to discuss?
Peter and Johnny Storm’s Friendship
While it wasn’t always the case, over the years Peter has developed one of his closest friendships with Johnny Storm. It was a rocky start for the two in Spidey’s early days, but by the late 1970s, Spidey and the Human Torch were the cover boys for Marvel Team-Up #1. To honor his friend, Parker replaced Johnny on the Fantastic Four following his death; when Johnny came back, the two were roommates for a time. Johnny even helped Peter build the Spider-Mobile. With the rights to the Fantastic Four now residing at Marvel Studios, a Fantastic Four film in development and set to be directed by Jon Watts, who directed all 3 MCU-set Spidey films, it seems like an absolute sure thing that we’ll get to see these two hang out at the Statue of Liberty at some point in the next decade.
Over the last several years, Sony has begun development on a lot of Marvel films. One can learn as much, if not more, from the films they aren’t developing as the ones they are, however. And one property that Sony has yet to develop into a live-action property is Miles Morales. Arguably one of the most important comic book characters of the last 20 years, Morales already exists in the MCU and, hopefully, Sony and Marvel Studios will work to bring him into play during the next trilogy.
Miles was referenced by Donald Glover’s character in Spider-Man: Homecoming and the crazy events within the Sacred Timeline of the MCU can work to Marvel and Sony’s advantage in bringing the character along at the right time. Homecoming was set in 2017 and then, a year later, Thanos Snapped away half the population of the planet. This gives Marvel Studios the opportunity to work around any age issues and introduce Miles as a 15-or-so-year old at some point in the next trilogy, which will all be set in 2025-ish or later. While it’ll be great to see the two Spider-Men share the screen for a time, allowing Miles to grow into the role of Spider-Man for a while clears the path for Marvel Studios and Sony to do something truly major at the end of the next trilogy.
The Death of Spider-Man
Even though he is beloved in the role, Holland isn’t wrong when he says that by playing Spider-Man forever, he’s taking an opportunity away from someone else. And even though he’s going to be paid a pretty penny for this next trilogy, one has to imagine Holland won’t want to keep putting on the spandex every other year for the rest of his life. To that end, Spider-Man 6 should feature the death of Spider-Man and the true passing of the torch to Miles Morales. To date, Marvel Studios has had no problem killing off their heroes and Spider-Man should be no different. A Miles Morales-led Spider-Man trilogy will not only be a box office boss, it’ll also be a major cultural event. Sony and Marvel Studios must know that. Also…in comics nobody is ever really dead, so if Holland gets bored he can come plan an adult Peter when he’s in his 40s. It worked for Tobey Maguire.