When director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming was released in 2017, it was meant as a way to reset Peter Parker as just a high school kid who happened to have amazing powers. Gone was the often told Uncle Ben origin story, replaced by Tony Stark becoming Peter’s father figure and mentor. Though Spider-Man was finally part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was a more grounded movie that was compared, very often, to the movies of John Hughes.
Which creates a tricky situation for Spider-Man: Far From Home, since it takes places right after a bunch of really crazy stuff went down during Avengers: Endgame. Yes, Peter Parker is still just a high school kid who just wants to enjoy his summer class trip to Europe, but he’s also now been to space and, oh, was dead for five years and just came back to life, along with half the rest of the universe.
How do you go from a John Hughes type movie to explaining how this world – a world where half the population just reappeared, which has to cause a whole host of problems – even works now?
“Yeah, it was definitely tricky initially,” says Far From Home director Jon Watts.
Without giving too much away, yes, Spider-Man: Far From Home does address how life works now after the return of half of the population (now referred to as ”The Blip”), but it’s done in a really clever way that fits the tone of these more upbeat Spider-Man movies.
“I mean, it was a pretty daunting challenge initially,” says Watts. “You’ve gone out of your way to establish this unique sort of lighthearted tone in Homecoming – and then you find out what is going to happen in Infinity War and in Endgame! And so you’re like, okay, well, I have to balance that tone from the first movie. But I’m also dealing with the death of Tony Stark. Half of the population has disappeared and come back. The Avengers are no more. It was a definite creative challenge to figure out a way to tell both of those stories.”
Speaking of Tony Stark, despite his fate in Endgame, he still plays a large role in Far From Home as Peter has to reconcile the loss of his friend and mentor.
“Well, loss is such a big part of who Peter Parker is,” says Watts. “And because we didn’t do an origin story in Homecoming, because we’ve seen that a lot, I wanted to find a way to touch on some of those themes without doing an origin story. And Tony was an incredible mentor to Peter and such a big part of his life.”
So in this iteration of Spider-Man, does Tony Stark serve as the Uncle Ben character? A character whose loss forces Peter to grow as a person and as a hero? Watts explains.
“By telling the story about loss, I think we do get to touch on some of those iconic Spider-Man stories without explicitly making it be about Uncle Ben. But you do see Peter literally carrying baggage, he has Uncle Ben’s suitcase and he carries that baggage with him when he goes to Europe. It’s just a big part of who Spider-Man is. So I wanted to make sure that we can incorporate that into this larger arc that we’re telling.”
We will have much more with Jon Watts and also Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, as we lead up to the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
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