How did Tom Holland’s Spider-Man get his superpowers?

Spider-man Spider Man
by Keane Eacobellis

A genetically “engineered” spider bit Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man got the bite from a genetically “modified” spider. And Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was maybe bitten? Probably?

Aside from a brief conversation between Peter Parker and his best friend Ned Leeds in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey’s, by now, very familiar origin story hasn’t featured prominently or at all inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper. The MCU version of the character was a fully, or at least mostly fledged superhero when he was first introduced to audiences in Captain America: Civil War. After two solo movies of his own and multiple cross-franchise appearances, audiences have yet to see a trace of any spider bite, radioactive or otherwise.

Perhaps even more importantly, MCU audiences have yet to see anything of Peter’s Uncle Ben. Ben Parker’s violent death, which he could have easily prevented had Peter acted responsibly, is at the heart of nearly every iteration of Spidey’s origin story. The painful lesson that “with great power comes great responsibility” proves to be the character’s greatest inspiration.

So why no MCU origin version with all the familiar tropes? There are two ways of looking at the answer. The first one is obvious. Audiences have been there and done that, so to speak. However, with Spider-Man’s origin as familiar as Batman and Superman’s, audiences didn’t have much invested in seeing the story played out for the third time in fifteen years. So instead, Marvel chose to portray a Spider-Man a bit further along in his learning curve. It was almost immediately necessary to do so given the fact that the first time he swings into action, it’s against nearly half of the mighty Avengers themselves.

The second reason may seem a bit more abstract, but it is, simply put, that the current trilogy of Spider-Man films IS his origin, at least within the MCU. Spider-Man: Homecoming, Far from Home, and the upcoming No Way Home director, Jon Watts and Marvel decided to avoid mentioning spider bites, radioactive or otherwise, or even Uncle Ben. According to Watts, “The focus was on showing people things that they had never seen before, not retelling that origin.” Instead, the newest trilogy is about a young man becoming a superhero learning from his mistakes in every movie, and growing into his new responsibilities as one of the leading heroes of the Marvel Cinematic universe. Simply put, we watch Peter Parker become a better, stronger Spider-Man with each new installment.

The latest installment of the first MCU Spider-Man franchise and the capstone to the current trilogy, Spider-Man: No Way Home, will be released this Thursday.