Everything you need to know about Spider-Man (and friends) before Avengers: Infinity War

Contributed by
Apr 16, 2018

SYFY WIRE's Infinity War Roundup is your go-to guide for everything you need to know about Marvel's massive superhero crossover, Avengers: Infinity War. In the weeks leading up to Infinity War’s April 27th premiere, SYFY WIRE will be rounding up every important character arc and plot detail you need to know from the past 10 years and 18 movies.

Today's entry will take a look at the main characters from the films that feature everyone's favorite wall-crawler — Spider-Man.

Let's take a look at the MCU lives of Peter Parker, Ned, and Vulture.

Peter Parker Still from Spider-Man: Homecoming
PETER PARKER/SPIDER-MAN (TOM HOLLAND)

Spider-Man's addition to the MCU in 2016 was a momentous event, not just for the cinematic universe, but for inter-studio cooperation. The fact that Sony was allowing Disney to use one of its most prosperous characters was a move nearly unseen since the pop culture clash of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. In the comics, Peter Parker has helped out the Avengers multiple times and has even been offered membership, though he has not joined them, preferring to swing solo amidst the skyscrapers of New York City.

Moreover, some may argue that Tom Holland's take on the character (he was the third actor to play the iconic hero in 14 years) is the most accurate, as Peter is meant to be an awkward high schooler, who's still coming to terms with his powers and gets starstruck anytime he meets big league players like Iron Man or Captain America.

The teenage web-slinger entered Disney's shared universe for the first time in Captain America: Civil War after Tony Stark (aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) disagreed over the Sokovia Accords. Stark was putting together a team to bring down Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who was framed by Zemo (Daniel Brühl) for bombing a UN summit that killed King T'Chacka (John Kani), Prince T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) father and the ruler of Wakanda.

Not long after this terror attack, we travel to Queens, New York where Peter walks in on Tony speaking with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Under the guise of awarding Peter with a science scholarship, Stark reveals that he knows of Parker's secret identity and recruits him to fight against Cap & Co. at Leipzig/Halle Airport, a battle that becomes the central set piece of Civil War. Tony gives Peter a new, high-tech suit and the playful nickname of "Underoos." Spidey easily becomes one of the best parts of the airport sequence as he steals Cap's shield, makes references to Star Wars while bringing down a giant Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and bonding with Cap over the fact that they're both from New York.

Peter gets knocked out and Cap and Bucky get away. He's sent home by Tony, despite wanting to be of more assistance. In the last post-credits sequence of Civil War, Peter reveals that he got to keep the high-end suit from Stark, which becomes a major source of contention in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Fresh off his chance to play with the big boys, Peter returns to what he feels is a humdrum life back in Manhattan. He's tired of being treated like a kid by Stark and overrides the Training Wheels Protocol on his new suit to unlock its full potential. However, when his intentions to defeat Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture (Michael Keaton) go awry on the Staten Island Ferry, Tony demands the suit back, saying that he expected more from his young protege. Dejected and humiliated, Peter still manages to ask his crush Liz (Laura Harrier) to the homecoming dance, but realizes at the last second that her father is Toomes, who plans on stealing a plane full of goodies belonging to the Avengers, including "Thor's magic belt," Megingjord.

Spider-Man thwarts Toomes' plan and brings the plane down on Coney Island beach, thus getting himself back into Tony's good books. Realizing that there are more important things than being a world-famous superhero, he rejects Tony's offer to join the Avengers.

Right before Infinity War: Peter has returned to his dual life of student and superhero in New York City. He is probably pursuing a romantic relationship with MJ (Zendaya), but more on her later. By watching the trailers, you see he's on a school bus when he sees Thanos's (Josh Brolin) rings in the sky before springing into action as Spider-Man. In addition, it looks like he'll be getting the suit of the Iron Spider and joining a fight at Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, as evidenced by the Infinity War LEGO sets.

Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony

NED (JACAOB BATALON)

Based on the Marvel character of Ned Leeds, Ned is Peter's best friend and fellow nerd. While he has no powers himself, Ned discovers that his buddy is Spider-Man in Homecoming and becomes a sidekick of sorts, after pestering Peter about what kinds of powers he has: "Can you summon an army of spiders?" "How far can you shoot your webs?" etc. To compare the two to another established duo, Peter and Ned are like Cap and Bucky. Ned is loyal, dedicated, and determined to keep his best friend's secret.

Right before Infinity War: Ned's life returned to normal after he helped Peter defeat Toomes and the two have returned to their nerdy lives in high school. That being said, Ned jumps at the chance to help Spider-Man whenever there's trouble afoot. In the clip below, Ned creates a distraction while Peter slips off the school bus to deal with those strange rings in the sky that signify Thanos' arrival on Earth.

ADRIAN TOOMES/THE VULTURE (MICHAEL KEATON)

Along with Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Adrian Toomes is one of the most relatable and well-developed MCU villains. In the aftermath of the Chitauri attack on New York, Toomes's salvaging company was basically put out of business when the clean-up of the city became the responsibility of the Department of Damage Control, a group created by Tony Stark and the U.S. government.

Angered that he'd no longer be able to provide for his family, Toomes took to a life of crime, stealing Chitauri alien technology, turning it into weapons, and then selling them on the black market to other criminals. He took upon the persona of the Vulture, who, in the comics, is one of Spider-Man's biggest adversaries. Spider-Man becomes an irksome fly on his radar when Peter attempts to put a stop to his illegal operation. Things only get worse when Toomes discovers the real identity of the wall-crawler and realizes that this kid is taking his daughter, Liz, to the homecoming dance.

The villain is able to put two and two together when he learns that Peter went missing on a school decathalon in Washington, D.C. at the same time that Spider-Man saved a bunch of students stuck at the top of the Washington Monument. He threatens to kill Peter and everyone he loves if there are any more attempts to stop his business. That very night, he plans to steal a bunch of valuable goods from a plane flying from Stark Tower to the new Avengers HQ in upstate New York. Spider-Man ends up stopping Vulture, but also saves his life. Grateful and aware that Peter is just a teenager, Toomes, now in jail, keeps his enemy's identity a secret when asked about it by Mac Gargan (Michael Mando), the Scorpion.

Right before Infinity War: Toomes is still in prison and probably won't be getting out anytime soon.