Spider-Man: No Way Home is finally here, and it’s a global success the likes of which we haven’t seen since “the Before Times.” So chances are, you’ve seen the movie and know about all the big returning characters from the franchise’s nearly 20 year history. But if you haven’t, we must drop this little spoiler warning here for your own good. Because there are some big spoilers here in these waters, folks.
Yes, as long speculated, both the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions of Spider-Man made welcome returns in No Way Home. And they’re not just quick cameos either. They play vital roles in the third act. And luckily, they’re both still alive at the end, and sent back to their own universes. Given the brilliant response to their comeback, and the establishment of their existence in their own separate universes, fans are wondering what’s next for them.
Some are hoping we get a Spider-Man 4, or The Amazing Spider-Man 3. But that seems reductive, given that Tom Holland is likely continuing as the MCU’s Spidey for the foreseeable future. If Maguire and Garfield come back again, it has to be for something that totally differentiates them from Holland’s films. Which means not titling these movies with “Spider-Man.” But we have ideas on the best ways to utilize them in the future—ideas rooted firmly in the comics lore.
Spider-Girl, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst
One highlight of Tobey Maguire’s performance in No Way Home is how much wholesome dad energy he brought to the part. Even Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker made a crack about it, saying he looked just like a youth pastor. (One of our favorite jokes). And in his ultimate moment in the film, he prevents Tom Holland’s Peter from making a grave mistake that he would have once made. Just like a wonderful father figure would.
But what if next time we see Tobey as Peter, he is an actual dad? He did mention that he and Mary Jane ultimately made it work. Despite their relationship being “complicated.” Well, in Marvel Comics, Peter and MJ (or a future version of them) not only work it out, but they also marry and have a child. That child grows up to be teenage athlete May “Mayday” Parker. She inherits her father’s arachnid abilities and becomes the Amazing Spider-Girl. She had her own comic series, which ran for 100 issues. And then she appeared in several follow-up series over the years.
We could totally see Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst reuniting as the parents of May Parker for a big-screen iteration of Spider-Girl. Recently, when asked about a potential return to the Spider-Man universe, Dunst was enthusiastic about the idea. Hey, why not get Sam Raimi back to direct as well? With Tom Holland’s Peter now out of high school and moving on to adulthood, a Spider-Girl franchise could fill the “high school hero” niche. Making it a legacy sequel to the original Spider-Man trilogy would only make it that much more interesting. No Way Home proved Tobey Maguire has the right stuff to play the world’s best super-powered dad.
Kraven the Hunter starring Andrew Garfield
As much as Tobey was our favorite Spider-Dad, we think that Andrew Garfield stole the show. He really was amazing after all. But a straight-up Amazing Spider-Man 3 doesn’t seem like a wise move. It’s one thing to have multiple Peter Parkers on the big screen. But it’s quite another to have concurrent franchises named Spider-Man. But we can imagine a perfect place to showcase Andrew as Spidey right now. And it’s a movie that would become a hell of a lot more interesting than it’s currently perceived to be. We’re talking about Kraven the Hunter.
Last year, Sony cast former Quicksilver actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the classic Spidey villain, with J. C. Chandor directing. In the comics, Sergei Kravinoff is a world-famous international big-game hunter, who tries to gain fame by catching the biggest prize of them all: Spider-Man. He eventually gets an herbal potion, granting him enhanced speed and senses that match those of a jungle cat. Here’s the thing though. Unlike Venom or even Morbius, Kraven has no comic book life outside being a Spidey villain. There’s not a ton of solo stories about him. Or maybe even any at all. He’s totally defined by his relationship with Spider-Man.
Fearful Symmetry: Kraven’s Last Hunt
So why not just have Spider-Man in the movie? While Tom Holland is carrying the solo Spider-Man franchise, as we expect him to do, Kraven could be hunting down the Andrew Garfield version. And there’s even a line in No Way Home that could explain why. Andrew’s Peter tells his brothers that after Gwen died, he “stopped pulling his punches” and grew bitter. It’s possible he got so angry he gravely injured someone. Or even killed them. If that’s the case, we could see how someone would hire Kraven to do what law enforcement can’t—hunt down and take out Spidey.
In fact, one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever is Fearful Symmetry: Kraven’s Last Hunt. It finds the longtime villain hunting down Spider-Man, this time successfully defeating him, finally shooting him. Kraven then buries his body, and wears a copy of his costume to prove himself superior. Spidey is of course not dead, and we get one of the most iconic Marvel images ever, which is Spider-Man crawling out of his own grave. The ending of the story shows Kraven killing himself, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that faithful to the comics.
The first Amazing Spider-Man was a little darker and grittier, so this story feels perfect for that universe. Plus it would give Andrew Garfield a really meaty role as opposed to his last solo movie. And let’s be honest here. Everyone’s interest in a Kraven movie would triple if we knew Spider-Man was in it. At least right now, a Kraven the Hunter movie with no Spidey in it seems pointless. Not to mention a bit of a harder sell to the general audience. Here’s hoping that after the massive success of No Way Home, and the newfound appreciation for Garfield’s version of Spidey, he gets a bigger showcase going forward. And against a classic villain no less. The future might be bright for both original Spider-Mans, if Sony handles it right.