Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is often taunted by fans as Iron Man Jr. Even No Way Home had a reference to this title. But thankfully, he fully overcame the tag in the latest Spider-Man movie.
However, even though he might have shrugged off that title, Tom Holland’s Spidey has officially taken the place of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man as the most important hero in the MCU.
It all goes back to 2015, when Marvel Studios reached a deal with Sony Pictures that allowed them to reboot Spider-Man as a part of the MCU. Tom Holland was then cast as the newest Peter Parker.
From the beginning, Marvel made their Spider-Man unique by stressing his relationship with the wider MCU. A major part of this was based upon Spider-Man’s relationship with Tony Stark’s Iron Man.
Peter loved and worshiped Tony Stark. His career as Spider-Man with the Avengers began when Tony met him in Queens after figuring out who was beneath the spider mask.
This relationship came to define Spider-Man, but also Iron Man. Peter loved using Stark technology, and he still does to this day. For Tony, he was inspired to help the Avengers crack time travel in Endgame because he wanted Peter to come back.
It was understandable why Marvel wanted to tie Iron Man and Spider-Man together. After all, Spider-Man is Marvel’s most famous character, and Iron Man was the biggest MCU franchise.
After all, until 2018, every MCU movie to break $1 billion at the global box office included Robert Downey Jr. Not to mention the fact that Tony Stark started the MCU.
As such, it was always expected that the mentee would take the place of the mentor eventually. In fact, it is a common trope; the mentor trains the mentee, and after the mentor dies, the mentee takes their place.
And that has pretty much happened in the MCU. Spider-Man has now taken over Iron Man’s place as the biggest MCU franchise.
Both of the characters have starred in their own trilogies. While the 3 Iron Man movies grossed an amazing $2.42 billion worldwide, Spider-Man’s trilogy has grossed $3 billion till now.
It should be remembered that Spider-Man: No Way Home is still in cinemas after breaking $1 billion in this pandemic. So, it will keep on earning more. During a recent interview with GQ, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo said that:
“Tom [Holland] is stepping into the role that Robert Downey once occupied for Marvel, which is the favorite character, and in a lot of ways the soul of the Marvel universe.”
Just the box-office numbers suggest that Joe Russo is indeed right. The movie rights to Spider-Man are certainly complex and require an ongoing partnership between Sony and Marvel just to keep Spidey in the MCU.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has become Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time, but the amazing performance should also be chalked up as Marvel and Disney’s success.
Under Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man deal, Disney paid for about a quarter of the production costs in return for a quarter of the profits. On the other hand, Spider-Man’s popularity has also had a positive effect on future MCU movies since Marvel can use Tom Holland’s Spidey in some of their other movies too.
Thus, it’s clear why Marvel and Sony want to keep their partnership going for the foreseeable future. There’s already a new Sony/Marvel deal to make a new trilogy of Spider-Man movies in the MCU.
It will likely also include additional cameos for Spider-Man as well in the MCU. Also, it’s possible that Spider-Man will lead the next round of Avengers. As such, he will truly take Iron Man’s place as the MCU’s next Golden Goose.
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