MCU Fan Theory: Flash Thompson is the Son of a Familiar Spider-Man Character

Every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is riddled with subtle clues and hidden scenes. These clever hints are often the subject of great debates among Marvel fans. Spider-Man: Far From Home has fans speculating about the family history of Flash Thompson. Some have even made the leap to connect this arrogant bully to another famous family in Spider-Man canon–the Osborns. You might be quick to dismiss the claim, but they have some interesting evidence to back it up. After all, MCU Flash seems to have a really shady past as far as his parents are concerned…

(L-R) Jake Gyllenhaal , Numan Acar, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Jon Watts, Amy Pascal, Eric Carroll, Remy Hii, Kevin Feige, Tom Rothman, and Jon Favreau
(L-R) Jake Gyllenhaal , Numan Acar, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Jon Watts, Amy Pascal, Eric Carroll, Remy Hii, Kevin Feige, Tom Rothman, and Jon Favreau | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Who is Flash Thompson? 

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Well, that depends on if you’re talking about the comics or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Flash Thompson you’ll find in the comics is not the same guy you’ll see on the big screen. Originally, Eugene “Flash” Thompson was the typical high school bully, relentlessly picking on Peter for being a nerd. He earned his nickname because of his speed on the football field, and he certainly wasn’t a fan of the books. 

The MCU version of Thompson is quite different. He isn’t a jock–he’s actually on the Academic Decathlon team with Peter. He prides himself on being the most intelligent person in the room, mocking anyone that he feels is a threat. He’s cocky, arrogant, and jealous of Peter. In many ways, he’s even worse than the “traditional” bully. Rather than physically threatening Peter, he dishes out constant mental harassment. 

Perhaps the biggest difference between the comic and MCU version of this character is his backstory. Comic book Thompson became a bully because of the abusive treatment he receives at the hands of his father. Harrison Thompson is a police officer with a bad temper and a problem with alcoholism. In the MCU, we know very little about Thompson’s past, aside from the fact that his parents are wealthy. In fact, his parents seem to be absent from the story altogether-but we’ll get back to that later…

Flash Thompson’s role in ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Far From Home’

Spider-Man: Homecoming introduced us to the MCU version of Flash Thompson. We get a pretty solid understanding of Thompson’s character after just a few of his scenes. He drives his father’s flashy sports car to school, speeding up when Peter tries to cross the street.  His temper makes an appearance in class when he gets a question wrong and is upstaged by Peter’s distracted (but correct) answer. Humiliation really seems to press his buttons. That’s ironic, considering that he thrives on humiliating others. 

In Far From Home, Thompson is still annoying, obnoxious, and a major pain in Peter’s backside. His main purpose in life seems to have shifted slightly from humiliating Peter to an obsession with live-streaming everything. Those moments when he can humiliate Peter while live-streaming? Well, that’s just icing on the cake. 

In this film, we catch a glimpse of another side of Flash Thompson. In the scene when Peter uses the E.D.I.T.H. glasses that Tony left him, we can see a bunch of his classmates’ text messages. MCU fans with a sharp eye noticed that Thompson was asking his parents why he hadn’t heard from them in several days. Who sends their kid on a trip to Europe and doesn’t contact them for days, despite horrific, monstrous attacks all over the news?

At the end of the film, attention is drawn to Thompson’s situation once again. The students finally arrive back home, but the family chauffeur picks him up instead of his parents. When Thompson asks about them, the chauffeur just shakes his head. Some MCU fans have an interesting theory on the mysterious absence of his parents…

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Is MCU Flash Thompson really an Osborn?

People are definitely talking about these nods to Thompson’s parental situation. One Reddit user has an interesting theory that’s worth exploring–MCU Flash Thompson is really Norman Osborn’s son. 

The Reddit user in question begins by pointing out that Thompson and Harry Osborn share similar characteristics. They are both incredibly wealthy and arrogant. Enter the strained relationship between father and son, and Thompson is starting to look a lot like Harry Osborn.

His second point is that if the MCU wants to bring the Green Goblin into the story, they’re going to need a fresh twist. Harry and Norman have been done to death in previous films. Removing Harry from the picture completely is certainly the type of head-spinning move the MCU likes to throw at their fans. 

Lastly, this Reddit user points out that Thompson could be going by his mother’s maiden name. He obviously wants everyone to think he’s the smartest guy in school. He wouldn’t take kindly to anyone attributing his success to his father’s power or money. So is it such a leap to think that he went by a different name to avoid being seen as an entitled Osborn?

Fan theories are always interesting, even when they seem far-fetched. The subtle hints about Flash Thompson’s parents in Far From Home were definitely thrown in there for a reason. We’ll just have to wait for the third Spider-Man installment to find out which fan theories are right!