The Gutter

Six changes Tom Holland's next Spider-Man trilogy needs to make

Surely, Peter Parker's not going anywhere.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The ending of No Way Home has me more excited than ever to see what’s next for our favorite wall-crawling hero. Following the sacrifice of Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) so that Spider-Man could learn his greatest lesson — “With greater power, there must also come great responsibility” — Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is given a clean slate. Of course, this clean slate comes with a cost.

Doctor Strange’s final spell makes the world not only forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man but Peter Parker altogether. That means his friendships with his classmates and relationships with the Avengers have been erased from the collective consciousness of this specific universe.

Going forward, Peter Parker will have to rebuild himself — and Spider-Man — without the assistance from Stark Tech or any other Avengers. No Way Home gets us back to the broke, lonely, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man we know and love. Should another trilogy manifest (which of course it will!) the films will likely take full advantage of that street-level NYC perspective while heading in a more mature direction, as Tom Holland hinted earlier this year.

With all of that in mind, I’ve got some ideas about where we might see Spider-Man’s cinematic journey go from here.

Welcome dear nerds, and nerdlings, to THE GUTTER, a weekly exploration of the concepts, criticisms, and curiosities that live between the panels of comic books and their adaptations.

6. Spider-Man needs a new director

No offense to Jon Watts, who’s great, but he’s already moving on from Spider-Man, though he won’t be straying very far as he’s confirmed for Fantastic Four. Meanwhile, screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, who wrote every entry of the Home trilogy, have expressed interest in making more Spider-Man movies.

Marvel and Sony tend to keep the same writers around, so it seems likely they’ll return to write the next Spider-Man installments. As for a director, my pick is Kelly Fremon Craig. Her directorial debut, The Edge of Seventeen (2016), navigated complicated young adult relationships, trauma, and academics in an empathetic and bittersweet way that feels like just the touch Spider-Man needs.

5. A new setting for Spider-Man

Spider-Man goes to college. (Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #185)Marvel Comics

When we last see Peter Parker in No Way Home, he’s rented a crummy apartment, sewn a new costume, and is in the process of getting his GED. When the next Spider-Man movie hits in — let’s say, three years — it would be nice to pick up as many years later with Parker in his early 20s.

I’d like to see Peter’s college life at Empire State University fully explored. What classes does he take outside of science? Is he able to get a school ID since no one remembers him, or does the post-Blip messiness of record-keeping give him an easy out? Does he have an internship? Is he a T.A.? Who are his new friends?

Beyond college, I’m curious how Spider-Man navigates life as a young adult in New York without his old support system. One of the crucial elements of Peter Parker is that he’s always busy. Juggling college, an internship, and continuing May’s volunteer work at F.E.A.S.T. will certainly keep him occupied — not the mention fighting crime.

4. A new Spider-Man cast

The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.Marvel comics

Parker’s friendships and relationships have always featured prominently in his stories, and a new trilogy is an opportunity to build new relationships. While I’m sure some audiences and fans will be disappointed, I think MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) should stay out of the picture. This doesn’t mean Peter will never see them again, but it’s important for the sacrifice he made at the end of No Way Home to carry through.

With Peter in college, there’s room to introduce new friends from the comics, chief among them Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacey. Holland has already suggested that his friend Timothée Chalamet would make a great Harry.

But of course, we don’t want to see this new trilogy repeat the same beats we saw in previous Spider-Man franchises. With the information the MCU’s Peter Parker learned from his variants (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield), he’d be on the lookout to not fall into the same tragedies they did.

Harry and Gwen are such a key part of Spider-Man lore that it’d be a shame not to see them at all. Maybe they both appear, but Parker avoids forging a friendship with them out of fear. This could be played for humor and allow the film to implement Harry and Gwen’s original perception of Parker in the comics, which is that he was standoffish.

Imagine a quick scene in the next Spider-Man movie: Chalamet is Harry and Elle Fanning plays Gwen. In science class, Peter tries his hardest to avoid being project partners with them. This would establish the characters exist in the MCU without making them central to the story.

The Amazing Spider-Man #68 (1968), by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney.The Amazing Spider-Man #68 (1968), by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney.

So who would make up Peter’s new friend group? One of Parker’s more recent romantic relationships turned platonic friendships in the comics was with Carlie Cooper, a brilliant crime scene investigator who could be made a criminal science major within the MCU’s continuity. Randy Robertson, son of Daily Bugle editor Robbie Robertson, is another close friend of Peter’s and a bit of a ladies’ man who in recent years was also his roommate. Randy would also be a perfect fit for this new trilogy.

I’m also keen on a couple key players from Peter’s high school days showing up in some capacity. Maybe Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) flunked out of MIT and has become just a bit humbler. Betty Brandt (Angourie Rice) would be a welcome presence to further foster the court of public opinion against Spider-Man, working alongside J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) to provide a young, female perspective to his show (the Tomi Lahren to his Alex Jones).

3. Spider-Man’s new romantic interest

Spider-Man with Black Cat, by Rachel Dodson.Marvel Comics

One of Peter Parker’s great romances of the comics that hasn’t been explored on film is his relationship with Felicia Hardy (aka, the Black Cat). What makes this relationship interesting, and different from what we’ve seen before is that Felicia is in love with Spider-Man and has no interest in Peter Parker.

What would it be like for Parker to only have a romantic relationship as Spider-Man? Would it be freeing, or would it just become another burden? And then there’s the fact that Black Cat is also a burglar, capable of pulling off master-class heists. Oh, and she has bad luck powers — as if Peter needs any more of that.

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 1 #87 (1983), by Al Milgrom and Bill Mantlo.Marvel Comics

I’m intrigued by the idea that Peter has feelings for Felicia, who perhaps volunteers at F.E.A.S.T., but the only way he can get close to her is as Spider-Man. While she may not be the only romantic interest in this next trilogy, I do like the idea of her being a major supporting player throughout the series as Peter tries to figure out what he wants from his life as Spider-Man and what he wants from his life as Peter Parker.

2. Spider-Man’s next team-up

Spider-Man with Daredevil. Art by Marco Checchetto.Marvel Comics

While his days with the Avengers are over, there are still numerous heroes to help Spider-Man out in New York City, even if most of his battles are ultimately fought alone. For the first installment of the new trilogy, I’d love to see Marvel make good on Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) cameo in No Way Home by having Spidey and Daredevil face off and then come together. Perhaps Parker interns at Nelson, Murdock, and Page, allowing him to forge one relationship with Murdock as Peter Parker, and another with Daredevil as Spider-Man.

For the second installment of the new trilogy, I’d love to see Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) return (if she doesn’t before then) and help Spider-Man with a mystery. There’s a buddy dynamic of the lighthearted costumed superhero and the superpowered grouchy detective who doesn’t wear a costume that could be fun to play around with, even if just for a few scenes.

Spider-Men II (2017), by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.Marvel Comics

And for the third installment, I think it’ll be time to introduce Miles Morales as Spider-Man. It’d be cool to see Miles set up in the first installment of the new trilogy as a high school kid volunteering at F.E.A.S.T. who Peter takes under his wing as a younger brother, similar to the PlayStation Spider-Man games.

The third movie in this trilogy would finally see Miles fully powered, suited up, and ready to join Spider-Man. In the end, Peter could go off to find MJ and pass the torch to Miles for the next saga of Spider-Man films.

1. New MCU Villains

Ultimate Spider-Man, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley.Marvel Comics

If we’re going to have Spider-Man team-up with Daredevil, then, of course, we need to see the Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in the mix, given that he’s been a nemesis to both Spider-Man and Daredevil over the years.

The way I see it going down is Spider-Man’s new love interest, Black Cat, steals a priceless artifact from Wilson, the Lifeline Tablet, which grants the user immortality. Of course, Fisk, wouldn’t be the only criminal on the hunt for it, and we could see classic Spider-Man villains like Silvermane and Tombstone come out of the woodwork to start a three-way gang conflict, one made all the more deadly by their hiring of several assassins: Hammerhead, The Beetle, and Bullseye.

The only way Spider-Man is able to save the city — and the lives of Black Cat and Daredevil — is by relying on a mysterious Black suit he discovers during the second act, one that Matt Murdock can’t see the differences in, but senses something amiss.

Venom #28 (2018), by Donny Cates, Juan Gedeon.Marvel Comics

The second installment would find NYC’s criminal empire decimated, but the power vacuum has allowed a newcomer to rise, one who isn’t interested in business deals and power, only pain and mayhem: Mac Gargan (Michael Mando).

Gargan was introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming and sent to prison at the end, but he’s a villain I’ve longed to see since the Raimi series. In the comics, Gargan is best known as the Scorpion, before getting Brock’s symbiote and becoming the new Venom. Given the symbiote’s appearance in the mid-credits of No Way Home, it seems reasonable to expect the MCU will soon have its own version of Venom. But so as not to step on Tom Hardy’s toes and Sony’s Venom franchises, there’s a unique opportunity to go with another Venom who still have a long comics history. Perhaps Gargan’s Scorpion costume from the comics can inspire his Venom look, which would make for a very threatening villain.

Meanwhile, just as Peter loses the Black Suit, another figure shows up dressed as Spider-Man and starts committing crimes. Peter turns to Jessica Jones to discover who this imposter is, which leads them to the Chamaeleon, the real mastermind behind Gargan’s rise.

“The Return of the Sinister Six.” Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #337, by Erik Larsen.Marvel Comics

The third film in the new trilogy, and the sixth and final installment of Peter Parker’s MCU saga, would finally introduce the Sinister Six, who were teased in No Way Home before the movie proved to be telling a very different story. Spider-Man and Miles Morales will have to face off against the Sinister Six, organized and led by the Chameleon, who wants to destroy Spider-Man once and for all and infiltrate every area of America’s most powerful city. The remaining five members would be...

  • Mac Gargan (Venom)
  • Adrian Toomes (the Vulture)
  • Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio (he lives!)

And newcomers...

  • Fritz von Meyer, aka Swarm,
  • Janice Lincoln, the newest iteration of The Beetle and the daughter of Tombstone.

That, my friends, would be a battle for the ages.

So that’s my pitch! If you have ideas for where you’d like to see the next Spider-Man Trilogy go, please shoot us an email at thegutter@inverse.com.

THANKS FOR READING, AND AS ALWAYS, KEEP YOUR MIND IN THE GUTTER!