A clear follow-on from Avengers: Endgame based on its second trailer, a sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming AND the final movie in Marvel’s Phase Three, upcoming release Spider-Man: Far From Home is full of links to what’s come before – but what about what comes next?
And even from the beginning, it’s dealing with a lot of changes.
A changed world
Thanos (Josh Brolin)
In Avengers: Infinity War Thanos (Josh Brolin) destroyed half of all human life with a snap of his fingers, and it wasn’t until five years later (in Avengers: Endgame) that his massacre was reversed.
Obviously, billions of people disappearing then reappearing once the world has adjusted from their absence would put a huge strain on resources, infrastructure and relationships, and it’s hard to imagine that future Marvel movies won’t reference this in some way (how did Wakanda manage without their King, for example?) – but it’s Spider-Man: Far From Home that will be our first introduction to that brave new world.
Look, it’s not like we’re expecting the film to dwell endlessly on the time jump – if nothing else, it would threaten to overwhelm the movie’s main story – but even by showing us how MUCH the plot ignores the change we’ll get a sense of how future MCU movies will handle it.
But given Norman got his start as Spider-Man’s arch-foe, it makes sense that Far From Home would be the first hint at the character’s arrival (at least in this movie universe – he was played by Willem Dafoe and Chris Cooper in the last two Spider-Man adaptations).
And while we’re not sure whether Norman the CHARACTER will show up just yet (he’s apparently not been cast, although David Morrissey is in the frame) it seems more than likely that his business Oscorp could be lurking somewhere in the New York skyline during Far From Home, giving us a hint of the MCU’s new Big Bad.
And he might not be the only extra Spider-Man villain to be seeded in Far From Home. Who’s to say that, as with the surprise appearance of classic foe the Scorpion (just a normal gangster so far, but hey) in Homecoming, we won’t have even more of Spidey’s Rogues’ Gallery coming together in the new movie?
With Scorpion, Vulture, Green Goblin and Mysterio already on the books, we definitely have the makings of a particularly Sinister Six…
Apparently, the events of the double Infinity-snap have allowed Far From Home’s Elemental monsters to burst through from other universes, pursued by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio/Quentin Beck, and if this means that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is introducing a “multiverse” (a word specifically used in the second trailer) then all bets are off, storytelling-wise.
The Marvel comics introduced the idea of a multiverse decades ago, and over the years it’s fuelled storylines including the return of dead characters (or at least alternate versions of themselves), brilliant What-If stories exploring paths untaken by our heroes, terrifying twists on the formula (like the popular Marvel Zombies strand) and even a universe-hopping adventure series or two (like X-Men spin-off Exiles).
Spider-Man in particular has had some interesting adventures in other worlds, and if last year’s Oscar-winning animation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (itself based on some of those comic-book storylines) proves anything, it’s just what compelling storytelling the idea of a multiverse can bring.
The future of heroes
More generally, Spider-Man: Far From Home gives us a glimpse of what Marvel’s superhero sandbox can look like now that heroes like Captain America and Iron Man are no longer a going concern.
In Far From Home’s trailers, it appears that there’s already a pressure to find a “new Iron Man,” i.e. a hero who can fill his shoes, and with the likes of Thor also off-world it’s increasingly looking like new heroes will have the chance to fill the slots of Marvel’s original top table.
Whether that means Spider-Man will be officially joining the Avengers, Black Panther will take a more central leadership role or whether Captain Marvel might decide to spend a bit more time on Earth is all up in the air for now.
But Far From Home will give us some idea, at least, of how one particular hero can fit into this new world order.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is released on the 2nd July