Why Spider-Man’s Return to the MCU Will Mold Phases 5 and 6

The news is out: the prodigal son has returned to his rightful home. Though all hope was — for a brief moment — lost, Sony and Disney have managed to strike an agreement once more. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will return to the MCU for a third standalone installment, as well as an appearance in another Marvel film, as the Hollywood Reporter noted. 

Tom Holland Spider-Man: Far From Home
Tom Holland attends the Premiere Of Sony Pictures’ ‘Spider-Man Far From Home’ at TCL Chinese Theatre | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While closing out Peter Parker’s narrative arc — in way that does not merely illustrate Disney and Sony’s brief scuffle — is of the utmost importance, this cannot and (all signs indicate) is not, the only reason Kevin Feige continued to fight for Spider-Man’s future inclusion in the MCU. 

Based on what we know about the future of the MCU, Spider-Man’s next standalone film, as well as whatever Marvel film Feige plans to throw him into, will likely shape the future of the MCU. A few options are at our disposal: one involves Peter Parker and Norman Osborn, while the other involves Parker and Doctor Doom. Let’s start with the former. 

Will Tom Holland’s return as Peter Parker bring Norman Osborn front and center…again?

A while back, prior to Disney and Sony’s falling out, it was believed that Norman Osborn would become the next big, bad earthbound threat. Various publications have reported that the MCU will present two successors to Thanos — a cosmic one and an earthly one — to differentiate from the previous formula, betraying the signature all-hands-on-deck team-ups in favor of smaller mash-ups occurring across the galaxies. When Disney and Sony were still all buddy-buddy, Norman Osborn was all but confirmed for the earthly villain role.

Remember when the world found out that Disney was looking to cast a mysterious benefactor between the ages of 40 and 60, who was preferably a caucasian male? While many heroes fit the description, Norman Osborn became the running presumption. Further, fans were all the more validated when Roger Wardell revealed that Osborn would be at the center of Phase 5 (in a since-deleted Tweet), as reported by Inverse.

Wardell became a trusted source after accurately predicting several Endgame plot-points way before its release. However, just as all signs began to point towards Normal Osborn, Disney and Sony severed Spidey ties, and with it, all the associated presumptions concerning the iconic Green Goblin slowly faded out of focus.  

With Spidey back in the MCU, for two more films, Marvel may look to use him to introduce Osborn as the Universe’s next big threat. With discussions concerning cross-talk between Sony and Marvel, and the prior’s ability to make references to Marvel when Spider-Man is involved, the Green Goblin may play a role in both the MCU and Sony’s Marvel Universe moving forward (depending on how well negotiations go). However, if the MCU continues to run with Doctor Doom instead, there is another comic book plot, involving the web-slinger, that could work. 

Spider-Man may be the first to confront Doctor Doom in the MCU

There was once a story — that came to bear in the 1960s — in which, Doctor Doom attempts to recruit Spider-Man. Given Doom’s powers of mind control, the possibility of seeing this story unfold on the silver screen is quite possible. 

In the story, Doctor Doom tries to recruit Spidey; however, he comes into conflict with the Avengers when Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver enter Latveria, looking for a long-lost relative. Doom also stole the Silver Surfer’s powers in the late 60s, yet lost them after breaching a barrier that Galactus had set for the Surfer on earth. 

From rumors that the Silver Surfer is returning to others concerning Galactus’ indisputable appearance, the above story — with a bit of finagling for timeline purposes — could come to fruition. Spider-Man would serve as an entryway for Doom, and then bow out…unless Disney and Sony strike another deal in the future. 

Whether via a Doom-inspired plotline or a Norman Osborn introduction, it’s likely that Spidey will prove integral to the future of the MCU, beyond merely closing out his individual narrative.  Spider-Man is the face of Marvel now that Iron Man and Captain America are gone. He’s not a perk; he’s a necessity.