Apparently, Spider-Man solo movies are a thing of the past.
This is a trend that’s been seen throughout Marvel’s wide library of films – once a character is established in an initial movie, they’re generally paired with a buddy in subsequent films to try and appeal to the widest possible audience.
Black Widow appears in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor got two solo movies but is joined by Hulk in Ragnarok, Ant Man and the Wasp is pretty on the nose about its hero pairing. Team ups are Marvel’s way of making movies more interesting and worthy of large chunks of box office cash.
This, clearly, is why Marvel and Sony have thrown Iron Man into Spider-Man: Homecoming so forcefully that the entire plot appears to revolve around Tony Stark and his own personal enemies (which he naturally accuses Peter Parker of misjudging, because Stark is at his core a bit of an irresponsible jerk).
Now, it seems that this will be the formula going forward, which makes sense – after all, we’ve already seen Spidey on his own in five previous movies, so throwing someone else in to make things interesting isn’t a bad idea.
But for Homecoming 2, Iron Man is not going to return in quite such a heavy role. Instead, an unnamed other MCU hero will appear, which naturally leads to speculation as to which Avenger will be joining Spider-Man.
From what we’ve seen thus far, Captain America appears (at least in anachronistic VHS form) at various points in Homecoming, presumably acting as some kind of conscience for Peter as he begins to learn that his idol, Tony Stark, might not be as perfect as his razor sharp facial hair might suggest.
The obvious choice for Homecoming 2, then, is to throw Steve Rogers into the mix, as Peter receives guidance from a hero whose motivations are more in line with Spidey’s comic book ethos of responsibility.
There’s just one problem – Chris Evans, who plays Cap, is pretty much done with the MCU. This isn’t to say he won’t return, but it’s possible that, in order to simplify a growing mythos, Marvel will kill off his character in the untitled Infinity War sequel.
So who else is left?
Black Widow might be a fun choice – she’s served wonderfully as a sidekick in two other superhero movies, and would be a great fit. It’d be fun to see Peter learning from this super spy, and based on her monologue about red ledgers in Avengers, Natasha Romanov is capable of delivering a lesson about responsibility that Peter sorely needs to hear for his arc to develop in a meaningful, satisfying direction after being tutored by the guy who built a murderous AI and then pinned the blame on Captain America.
Bruce Banner might be another fun choice – Peter would probably get along with the renowned scientist and unapologetic nerd, and scenes of the pair bonding over sciency stuff would contrast nicely with scenes of poor little Peter having to face off against a very angry green giant.
Alternatively, it might be fun to see someone from Marvel’s newest roster of characters, like Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel, fighting alongside Spidey while teaching him about heroism and stuff. Both characters have had a connection to Spider-Man in the comics, so it’s proven that they work together.
There are no real wrong answers for who to throw into the Homecoming sequel (except Hawkeye, of course), as long as the story makes sense and Peter Parker’s character arc develops in a meaningful way as a result of spending time with whoever might be tagging along.
Whoever Marvel picks, though, it’s important that they serve the story, and don’t distract from the hero of the film. Spidey may have appeared in an excessive number of modern blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean that he still doesn’t deserve center stage in his own movie.