Everyone who stuck around to catch the mid-credit scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home was treated to something interesting that will change the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. But does this new status quo for Spider-Man and Peter Parker signal an end to one of the staples of superheroes?
SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
After defeating Mysterio and retrieving EDITH from the bad guys, Quentin Beck’s final revenge against the wall-crawler was enacted with the help of his henchman. A revenge that saw Peter Parker outed publicly as Spider-Man as well as labeled a murderer. With all of the work Peter puts into keeping his identity a secret, outing him to the public will have lasting repercussions for not only Peter, but everyone in his life.
What’s more interesting is that the secret identity, in the MCU at least, doesn’t seem to hold the weight that it used to. Is the outing of Peter Parker as Spider-Man a signal that the secret identity is over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
From the first MCU film, Tony Stark was given a cover story to follow and chucked it to state “I am Iron Man”, the need for a secret identity has become less and less necessary on film. Everyone knows who Steve Rogers is. Everyone knows about Thor. Everyone knows T’Challa is the Black Panther. Black Widow came into the light after the fall of SHIELD in Captain America Winter Soldier. The Sokovia Accords in Captain America Civil War ended up with everyone involved including Hawkeye and Ant-Man having their secrets known to the government.
So do secret identities really matter going forward?
For Spider-Man, especially this iteration, having a secret identity allows for him to be the hero the world needs him to be while he continues to grow into the man he will become. Separating those personas is important because his supporting cast of characters are featured more prominently in his stories. Aunt May, MJ, Ned, all of these characters have something to lose from this revelation. All of the rest of the public Avengers and heroes don’t have that personal baggage with the exception of Hawkeye and Ant-Man.
The future MCU films seem to feature characters who don’t need secret identities at all so Spider-Man stands alone in his need to remain hidden. Of all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man uniquely needs the duality of his identities in order to function.
Outing Peter Parker as Spider-Man has huge stakes for the hero. Ending his secret identity in the MCU will be huge going forward and I can’t wait to see how it’s handled.