Back in June 2015, Marvel made the announcement that Tom Holland would take over as the MCU’s new Spider-Man in an unprecedented multi-studio collaboration deal with Sony. While many fans feared a retread of the well-worn material that was depicted in both the previous Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, as well as the newer Amazing Spider-Man series, Marvel reassured us that they would take the character in a fresh direction, and they delivered. In his debut appearance in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland stole the show in nearly every scene he was in, bringing us a younger, more lighthearted take on the beloved character. This version of the Webhead successfully drew inspiration from the classic comics, while still bringing new and fresh elements to the character. Now, judging from the first trailer for his first solo outing in next summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel looks to continue that trend– one that takes the Wall Crawler back to his roots in the original comics. Again, we only have the first trailers to go on, but that alone has been enough to confirm that there are several elements from the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics that director Jon Watts has brought back to the Spider-Man franchise, and we’ve been kind enough to list them out for you (you can thank us later).
1.. Bringing Peter Back to High School
One of the defining characteristics that made Spider-Man so unique in the comics was the fact that he was a high school student. With the exception of Johnny Storm, any teenage superhero at the time would largely be considered a sidekick (think classic Bucky Barnes). However, Stan thought it would be an interesting approach to give a teenage superhero his own title in order to create a character that would resonate with the target audience, which were kids. In the films, however, this high school-centric element hasn’t been touched on as much. In the previous two film franchises, Peter Parker spent very little time in high school. In the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Peter graduated just after the first act. Similarly, in the Amazing Spider-Man movies, Peter only spent the first film as a high school student before he graduated in the first few minutes of the Amazing Spider-Man 2. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, moving the clock forward that quickly forced Peter to grow up rather quickly, and gave him little time to just be a kid.
Right off the bat, Marvel wanted to make it clear that this version of Spider-Man would return to high school in the MCU. Director Jon Watts has repeatedly stated that his vision for Spider-Man: Homecoming is to be a John Hughes style film about a kid facing everyday problems, just set in the world of the MCU. This is a return to one of the best elements of the source material, in my opinion, as it makes more room for Spider-Man to grow and develop as a character over a longer period of time.
2. The Return of Liz Allan
Another element from the original comics that is being brought back is the inclusion of Liz Allan, played by Laura Harrier. In the earliest Spidey comics, Liz was one of Peter’s first crushes, but the two never quite got the timing right. Liz’s on-again-off-again relationship with Midtown High’s star quarterback dampened any hope Peter had of dating her, and the two never really kicked it off on the right foot. She dated Foggy Nelson for a short time, but eventually ended up marrying Peter’s longtime best friend Harry Osborn. Let’s hope things go better for Peter in this time around! Another interesting note about Liz is that she was originally a blonde in the books, but the film version of the character seems to be a spin-off of the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series’ version of the character, pictured above.
3. Spider-Man’s Threads
One of the most blatant references to the source material would definitely be this version of the Websligner’s costume. While it’s been previously noted that the web wings seen in the trailer look like they’ve been pulled straight off of the comic pages, we went a little more in-depth in our analysis of the suit. For starters, the eyes on this version of the suit look almost identical to the original costume drawn by Steve Ditko, especially when they squint. Another interesting thing to note is the spider emblems on the front and back of the suit. In previous versions of the costume, the spider symbols have been very pronounced on both the front and back of the previous suits. However, the MCU version sports a distinctly smaller chest symbol, much like the original Ditko art. Similarly, the back spider infamously referred to as the “tick,” looks identical to the original version of the costume seen in the comics. While we understand these are minor details on the suit, it’s just another subtle nod to the original material.
4. Classic Villains
Finally, the choice of villains in the film are also a nice throwback to the first true supervillains the Webslinger ever faced. While many have been skeptical with the idea of having the Vulture (played by Michael Keaton) carry the film as the leading baddie, it makes sense when you consider where Spidey started in the comics. The Vulture first appeared in the Amazing Spider-Man #2 back in 1962, the same issue that Phineas Mason, AKA the Tinkerer (played by Michael Chernus in the film), also debuted in. In the first several issues of Spider-Man’s solo title, the comics were broken up into two mini stories, with both of the aforementioned villains appearing in their own separate arcs in the second issue. Now, both are set to debut together again in the upcoming film, giving Spidey double the trouble.
What is your favorite callback to the original comics? Did you catch something we missed? Let us know in the comments below!