‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Writers ‘Had No Interest’ in Bringing Uncle Ben Into the Marvel Cinematic Universe
These days, Peter Parker looks up to Tony Stark, and maybe even Happy Hogan, as a mentor. However, long before Spider-Man joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, another man had that role: Uncle Ben. As longtime fans of the web-slinging hero may know, Ben Parker played a huge part in Spider-Man’s origin story. But if he was so crucial in shaping Peter’s journey, why is Uncle Ben absent from Spider-Man: Homecoming and its sequels? According to writer Jonathan Goldstein, there’s a good reason.
Uncle Ben dies as part of Spider-Man’s origin story in the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy and its reboot
Uncle Ben first appeared in the original Spider-Man film, played by Cliff Robertson, alongside Tobey Maguire’s Peter. The 2002 movie showcased Peter’s early days as Spider-Man, starting with the moment a radioactive spider bit him. As Peter started to change, he got in a fight with Flash Thompson (Joe Manganiello), prompting Ben to have a talk with his nephew about taking responsibility. Of course, this talk brought fans one of the most iconic Spider-Man lines: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Later that night, after an argument between Ben and Peter, Peter learned that a carjacker had killed Ben. He realized he could have stopped the murder when he encountered the criminal during a robbery earlier, but he let the man go. Thus, Peter’s guilt pushed him to become the vigilante fans know today.
The 2012 reboot with Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man, recreated Uncle Ben’s demise. This time, Martin Sheen stepped into the father-figure role. For a second time, fans watched the beloved character fall to his death, sending Peter into devastation.
The ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ writers didn’t feel the need to kill off Uncle Ben a third time
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans caught up with Peter (this time played by Tom Holland) supposedly well after his spider bite. That meant, of course, that Uncle Ben had long been gone. Some fans wondered if Ben existed in the MCU iteration at all. According to Goldstein, Aunt May’s husband did exist in this timeline, but the writers simply chose not to include him or his death.
During ComicBook.com’s “Quarantine Watch Party” for Spider-Man: Homecoming on Nov. 30, a fan wrote on Twitter that it felt “refreshing” to not see Ben die a third time. Goldstein agreed.
“We had no interest in rehashing Uncle Ben’s demise,” the writer responded.
On the other hand, a population of viewers felt disappointed that Ben was absent from the new trilogy, given his importance. Some fans even had a long list of people they’d like to play Uncle Ben alongside Holland.
“Ignoring him entirely isn’t better. You can acknowledge his impact on May and Peter without showing his death. His death shouldn’t be the only significant memory of him to them,” another fan wrote to Goldstein.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ had a deleted scene addressing the death
Excluding Ben’s death scene to avoid redundancy does make sense, but it also makes sense that Ben would at least receive some direct mention in the trilogy. Goldstein went on to reveal that a scene did almost talk about Uncle Ben; however, the filmmakers ultimately cut it.
“We wrote a scene where May takes Peter to the closet and they choose one of Ben’s old suits which she still hadn’t thrown away,” he wrote on Twitter.
With Spider-Man: No Way Home on its way, many fans are still holding out for an appearance from Uncle Ben, or even just a reference to the character. Anyting is possible when it comes to this epic multiverse story.
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on Dec. 17.