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He may not have been the first superhero introduced into their fictional comic book universe, but Spider-Man is Marvel's flagship character. He's The House of Ideas' most recognizable hero, star of everything from video games to animated series, and for a long time his masked face was even the company's logo, printed on every single one of their comics. He's a big deal, which explains why he's had one of the longest cinematic presences of any Marvel hero to date.
Spider-Man movies have been around long enough now that we don't expect the character to leave the big-screen anytime soon, but this week we got confirmation that a very particular version of the character will be sticking around for quite a while longer. Producer Amy Pascal, who's helped engineer Spidey's presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last six years, confirmed that she's already at work on a potential new trilogy of Spider-Man films that will star Tom Holland as Peter Parker, following up on the trilogy that will conclude this year with Spider-Man: No Way Home. That means many more adventures for the MCU's resident webslinger, which means the writers of each film will be turning back to comic book source material for even more inspiration. While we have no idea what stories might spur the next phase of Spider-Man's cinematic life, we do have some suggestions. Here are three Spider-Man stories worth checking out as potential source material for the next Spidey trilogy.
Brand New Day (2008)
Trailers for Spider-Man: No Way Home have revealed a plot catalyst that includes Peter Parker going to Doctor Strange and asking him to perform a spell that will make people forget that he's Spider-Man, not knowing that the spell will also reverse MJ's knowledge of his identity in the process. In the film, this seems primed to set in motion all kinds of multiversal mayhem, but in the comics Peter's similar supernatural wishing created the infamous storyline "One More Day," in which Peter and Mary-Jane Watson sacrifice their marriage to save Peter's Aunt May. Though the film doesn't seem to be adapting "One More Day" directly, the idea of a status quo-altering supernatural intervention does handily set up a version of what came next in Marvel continuity.
Less a single story than it is a new era of stories, Brand New Day marked the arrival of a new status quo in Spider-Man continuity, one that removed most people's memories of his public unmasking, returned Harry Osborn to life, and set Peter on a new path that featured a new love interest (crime scene tech Carlie Cooper), new villains, and new challenges. While we certainly don't expect a straight-up adaptation of this story, either, the new status quo setup, even with several tweaks, could be fun to watch. Imagine Holland's Parker working for J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson, when Jameson doesn't know he's Spider-Man.
In 2011, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man, who would go on to become one of the single most popular comic book characters of the 21st century thus far. The next year, they decided to mash up his adventures with those of the 616 Universe's Peter Parker, and the result is a breezy, fun, stakes-raising crossover that paved the way for Miles to eventually take his current place in main Marvel continuity.
After investigating a strange flash of light and encountering some of Mysterio's equipment, Peter Parker is sucked through a rift that puts him in the Ultimate Universe, where he finds out not only that he died, but that another Spider-Man has already taken his place. As Peter and MIles get to know each other battling Mysterio, they formed a shared bond that will eventually have major implications for future Marvel stories. In a world in which fans have been clamoring for a live-action Miles story for years at this point, Spider-Men could be the perfect launch point for the character while still giving Holland a role to play in introducing him. And hey, you could even cast an even weirder alternate universe Mysterio along the way.
Superior Spider-Man (2013-2014)
Dan Slott's 100-plus issue run as the writer of Amazing Spider-Man is marked by a number of big creative swings, but the biggest may have been when he opted to have Peter Parker and Doctor Otto Octavius swap consciousnesses, leaving Peter to die in Otto's decaying body while Otto took over Peter's fit, super-powered Spider-Man form. One of the most controversial decisions in Spider-Man history ultimately turned out to be one of the character's most compelling eras, as Slott and artists Ryan Stegman, Humberto Ramos, and Giuseppe Camuncoli showed us what happened when Doc Ock decided to not only become Spider-Man, but to become the best Spider-Man there ever was.
Adapting this to the screen would be tricky, especially with Octavius making a presumably temporary return in No Way Home, but if Marvel and Sony could pull it off, it would both give Holland a great acting challenge and set the stage for some really interesting new character dynamics as "Peter Parker" tried to become a new version of Spider-Man.