‘Spider-Man 3’: A Bigger Role for Flash Thompson Could Involve a Redemption Arc

Marvel’s Spider-Man is known for having a big rogues gallery of colorful and exciting villains lining up to fight him. Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, and Mysterio are just a few of the countless baddies Peter Parker finds himself up against on a regular basis. One unconventional Spider-Man antagonist is Flash Thompson.

While he’s not a supervillain per se, Thompson has nonetheless found himself at odds with Parker the teenager on numerous occasions. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has made a number of interesting tweaks to the Spider-Man mythos, and Thompson’s role has been one of them. Here’s why Flash Thompson may be one of a third MCU Spider-Man film’s most interesting characters with a redemption arc. 

The character of Flash Thompson 

Tony Revolori
Tony Revolori | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

There are multiple versions of Flash Thompson in the Spider-Man comics and across other media, but typically he’s portrayed as a jock and a bully.

According to the Marvel Database, his own alcoholic father’s abuse of him led him to take his pain out on others such as Parker. The two eventually become friends. Thompson has undergone a number of changes in the comics – becoming an Army veteran, assuming the mantle of Venom, and joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Flash Thompson’s MCU arc and how he’s been changed

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In the MCU, Thompson is portrayed a bit differently. Rather than being a jock, he’s depicted as being on a wealthy brat on Parker’s academic decathlon team. He still has the same arrogance and bullying attitude toward Parker. He also greatly reveres Spider-Man.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, he continually bullies Parker while showing a sense of awe when he meets Spider-Man. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, he begins to show some introspection until returning to his same arrogant self. 

One of the defining characteristics of the MCU’s Thompson? His undying respect for Spider-Man. Thompson takes multiple opportunities to express his admiration for the web-slinging hero. It’s a stark contrast between how he treats Parker. While Thompson speaks of Spider-Man with nothing but reverence, he looks at Parker as being someone beneath him, worthy of scorn. 

How Flash Thompson could change in the third MCU Spider-Man film

That’s why the third film could feature a very interesting turn for Thompson. At the end of the last Spider-Man film, Parker’s identity is revealed to the world. This is a first for Spider-Man on the big screen – his secret identity has never been revealed to a mass audience before within those film universes. In the MCU, everyone knows exactly who Spider-Man is. 

So where does that leave Thompson? Some fans on Reddit recently speculated on this very question. The juxtaposition of his treatment of Parker and his love for Spider-Man will surely be addressed in the next film.

But how? It’s hard to imagine him treating Parker with the same disdain he did before. He may express disbelief and struggle to accept the fact that his schoolboy foe is also the person he admires more than anyone. He’ll likely be in some sort of denial at one point or another. 

But Thompson’s disgust of Parker is sure to fade away. There’s a tremendous opportunity for Thompson to redeem himself by apologizing to Parker. By righting his wrongs, Thompson will show that he’s no longer willing to treat Parker as a doormat. He’ll have to acknowledge that he’s much more worthy of respect than he’d thought. 

One of the coolest aspects of the MCU is the journey we see many of the characters take. Thompson may not be the most important Spider-Man character, but his ability to grow, adapt, and change will be interesting to watch as he confronts who Spider-Man really is.