A new Captain America has arrived. With Steve Rogers gone (and possibly on the moon), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has found Steve’s successor in the form of Sam Wilson, stepping in as a new version of America’s symbol of hope for the 21st century.
With Sam as the new Cap, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a core Avenger back on the map. So naturally, eyes are on who might be next — such as Iron Man, another major hero lost in the Avengers: Endgame of it all.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, all eyes were on Peter Parker as the potential next Iron Man. This theory explains why Iron Man’s legacy weighed so heavily on Spidey’s shoulders — and why so much of it owes thanks to Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The Theory — Redditor u/VigilantesLight suggests that prior to the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker saw Sam Wilson become the new Captain America, and a huge public figure to boot. But that’s not Peter’s style; he just wants to go on a field trip with his classmates, so much so that he dodges Nick Fury’s calls.
This theory explores the weight of expectation on Peter’s shoulders. Sam was Steve Rogers’ protege of sorts, and went on to inherit his title after he left. Peter was Tony Stark’s protege, so it stands to reason the public might expect Peter to become the new Iron Man on top of his role as “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”
These expectations about Peter as the next Iron Man are shown in multiple trailers for the film (and in a deleted scene) where the hero encounters a bunch of New York police officers in a restaurant. One of them asks “Are you the next Iron Man now?” Peter replies: “I don’t have time, I’m too busy doing your job.” It’s dismissed as a joke, but demonstrates the public’s expectation for him in the months after a new Captain America was introduced on the same streets of New York.
Far From Home was already about Peter struggling to fill the shoes left by his father figure Tony Stark, but the addition of Sam taking on the Captain America mantle means the public would assume, seeing Peter in his Iron Spider suit, that he is now the new Iron Man. So where he once just needed to live up to Tony’s ideals, now Peter has to live up to the public’s expectation of Peter as “Tony 2.0,” thanks to Sam Wilson stepping into his own mentor’s star-spangled shoes.
The Inverse Analysis — The Falcon and Winter Soldier finale helps recontextualize the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Originally, Peter’s behavior in the movie could be excused as little more than teen angst. But the addition of the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reveal just how much he has on his mind.
Peter is just barely figuring out how to be Spider-Man and a public figure; just look at his awkward appearance at Aunt May’s fundraiser at the start of Far from Home. Teens have to deal with so much outside pressure already. Throw in the legacy of your dead mentor, the demands of being a pure hero no matter the sacrifice, and public pressure to be the next Iron Man? All the sudden, Peter is dealing with much more than the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler should have to contend with — and unfortunately, it’s only going to get more stressful in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+.