You can relax, Merry Marvelites – Spidey’s in Infinity War.
Now, you might be rolling your eyes at such a statement. Of course Spider-Man is going to be in the next Marvel team-up movie. He’s Spider-Man.
Why wouldn’t he be in the movie?
Well, while Tom Holland’s Web Head might have debuted in Captain America: Civil War, the character and the actor are both tied directly to Sony Pictures, meaning that, while solo movies are relatively easy to arrange, appearances in films distributed by Walt Disney are a little murkier from a property rights standpoint, with each movie being negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
There had been some speculation that Spider-Man might not appear in Infinity War, with even Tom Holland unsure about his role in future movies starring the Avengers.
But now, it’s all been confirmed. Sony didn’t see any need to stand in the way of what will amount to free advertising for their own Spider-Man movies, so Holland will be suiting up over the coming weeks to bring Peter Parker into the cosmic battle against Thanos.
There’s just one problem that remains: where is Spidey going to fit in all this?
The Russo Brothers have spoken out about the challenges that they face in deciding which of the many, many MCU characters are going to make the cut for the movie. Civil War was a complicated enough balancing act, without the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Hulk making things even more crowded.
With the Avengers going up against an outer space superhuman with cosmic abilities and (we would assume) access to the Infinity Gauntlet, it makes sense to feature Marvel’s more potent heroes front and center.
Captain Marvel will make her debut in the film, and heroes like Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Iron Man, Star Lord, and Thor will likely make up the core team of heavy hitters when things get magical and weird.
Also, Captain America will probably be on-hand to direct traffic from the sidelines, as there’s not much his shield can do against a villain with the power to wipe out half the population of the planet with a single wave of his hand.
So with Cap only barely being able to justify his position on an incredibly dense list of superheroes, what role is there for less potent characters to perform? Surely heroes like Black Widow and Hawkeye have got to finally be pushed to the sidelines while the big kids show off their more visually impressive powers?
And then, there’s Spider-Man. While Peter Parker is a quick thinker in the comics, he’s generally never been in the same league as Tony Stark, making it difficult to see a significant role for the character in a movie that appears to be dangerously bloated as it is.
The last thing that Marvel wants is for Infinity War to end up sidelining key characters, such as Spidey, because there’s simply no opportunity within the movie’s runtime to allow Peter Parker a moment to shine.
The Russo Brothers are no doubt still working out a plan to appropriately use all the characters at their disposal. It’s likely that, as in Civil War, Peter Parker will turn up for a few key scenes, but won’t make a huge impact on the plot.
With his own movie series already barreling towards its sequel, it’s likely that Spider-Man might occupy the role he held for years in the comics, as an erstwhile, street-level hero who spends a big crossover event saving individual citizens in New York, while watching from afar the Avengers take out the actual threat.
This role for Peter will seem very familiar to anyone who grew up reading comics before 2006, when Spidey first joined the Avengers himself. It would also fit with the narrative we’ve seen in trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming which suggest that Tony Stark is actively trying to keep Peter Parker away from trouble.
So while Spider-Man will appear in Infinity War, don’t expect him to occupy a particularly large role.
Don’t worry, though, there’ll be plenty of time for Peter to appear more prominently in later Avengers movies, once contract disputes cause Captain America and Thor to gracefully retire from active avenging.