A fresh Marvel Cinematic Universe theory links Michael Keaton’s Vulture back to the Avengers, long before he faced off against Spider-Man.
Posted to Reddit’s Fan Theories sub, user Babywalker66 detailed their theory that Vulture was actually involved in the creation of one of the Avenger’s suits. Long before he made the turn to villainy, Babywalker66 believes Keaton’s character, Adrian Toomes, was a military man. They outlined a surprisingly convincing argument that Toomes helped to develop Falcon’s propulsion wingsuit, a job that later aided in the creation of his own impressive exosuit.
Babywalker begins their theory by proposing that Toomes was a member of the Air Force years before the Battle of New York destroyed half the city. They believe he worked as “an engineer and pilot,” an idea they based on the “military-style bomber jacket” he dons as Vulture, along with the costume’s mask, which Babywalker links back to the oxygen masks worn by Air Force fighter jet pilots.
The masks do look remarkably similar, and Toomes’ recognizable bomber jacket has a lot in common with the “flight jackets” created in the early 1900s to keep WWI pilots warm in their open-air cockpits. Add to this some of Babywalker’s other points, and the theory really starts to carry weight.
The Redditor goes on to note some of Keaton’s lines throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming, in particular the moment in which he mentions people who “fight rich guy’s wars.” Babywalker believes he is referencing himself in this line, pointing back to his history in the military. They also point out the skill that would certainly be required to operate Toomes’ wingsuit and note that such skill would be second nature to a former Air Force fighter pilot.
Their final point is more of a stretch, as Babywalker themselves point out, but it’s not inconceivable. They think that, with everything above considered, it’s not entirely unbelievable to assume that Toomes had a hand in creating the Falcon wingsuit during his time in the military. In Marvel Comics canon, Toomes is an electronics engineer before he becomes a villain, so the thought that his MCU version has a background in engineering isn’t a huge reach.
It would also explain how he managed — likely with the help of his techy peon, the Tinkerer — to create his own version of the wingsuit. Babywalker isn’t wrong in noting that the two suits share a lot in common, though Falcon’s is crafted out of high-grade military materials and Vulture’s is crafted out of stolen Chitauri salvage.
The name Toomes ultimately chooses does also seem almost like a play on Falcon’s moniker, which could be a direct reference back to his former connection to the hero’s suit. It also pairs well with his status in Homecoming, salvaging and stealing dangerous materials for his own gain.
Commenters were enticed by the theory, in particular the bits about Tommes’ history in the military. Many people felt they hit the nail on the head with this idea and lauded Babywalker’s astute eye in the comment section. Numerous people noted Keaton’s “military dad” energy when interacting with both Peter and his daughter, Liz, and vowed to rewatch the film with the new theory in mind.
The point is a fair one. While the idea that he contributed to Falcon’s suit design is definitely a stretch, the idea that Keaton’s Toomes was a former military man honestly makes a lot of sense. His skill with the wingsuit definitely indicates a history in piloting, and his general tone — along with some of the aforementioned lines — really does seem to align with a military mindset.
Even if he doesn’t have any link back to Falcon’s suit, Babywalker’s post provided the opportunity for heaps of Marvel fans to rewatch Homecoming through fresh eyes. His character is also set to make his return in Sony’s upcoming Morbius, which could answer some fans’ questions about the character.
We’ll have to wait for Morbius to hit theaters on April 1 to find out for sure.