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What the Ending of Spider-Man: Far From Home Means for the Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

11 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Avengers: Endgame marked an end, if not necessarily a permanent one, to the Avengers storyline and the biggest movie franchise ever created. Spider-Man: Far From Home, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to drop after Endgame, hints at what comes next for Marvel movies. Far From Home introduces audiences to a post-Thanos universe. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is struggling to move past the death of his mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and the world is seeking out new heroes to fill the vacuum left by the Avengers, all of whom have died or retired.

Marvel Studios has remained tight-lipped about what movies will follow Far From Home. They have not yet officially announced any dates for their future films, though sequels for Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange are definitely in the works. Still, Far From Home, and particularly the movie’s two post-credit scenes, suggests that Spider-Man will take on a bigger role in the Avengers team — or whatever superhero conglomerate takes its place. The movie also suggests that the Marvel movies will become increasingly galactic.

Here’s everything that Spider-Man: Far From Home tells us about the future of the Spider-Man movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The world is still adjusting to “the blip”

Zendaya Spider-Man: Far From Home
Michelle (Zendaya) catches a ride from Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Far From HomeJoJo Whilden—Sony Pictures

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Infinity stones to snap his fingers and eliminate half of all life in the universe. Five years pass in Avengers: Endgame before the Avengers concoct a plan to travel through time, collect the Infinity Stones themselves and bring back the people who disappeared. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) uses the Infinity Stones to do just that. (They decide, however, not to rewind time, because that would eliminate children like Tony Stark’s daughter who were born in the intervening years.)

Peter Parker briefly confronts the awkward results of this move at the end of Avengers: Endgame when he returns to school and sees a sea of faces he does not recognize. In the past five years, the half of his classmates who did not disappear have graduated high school, and middle schoolers have aged up. Luckily for Peter, his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and crush MJ (Zendaya) disappeared, which means they can all complete high school together.

Spider-Man: Far From Home reckons with the consequences of what they call “the blip,” or the return of half the Earth’s population five years later. One kid observes that his younger brother is now older than him: “How weird is that?” We also see a shot of band members who have disappeared from a gym reappearing in the middle of a basketball game. And as Peter embarks on a Eurotrip with his classmates, he and Ned complain about a once-awkward middle schooler who has grown into a buff teenager while they were away, attracting all the girls’ attention.

Obviously the age jump is most dramatic for kids, but it will be interesting to see how the blip affects other aspects of life on Earth and in space, post-Thanos.

Spider-Man is taking over for Iron Man — sort of

Jon Favreau;Robert Downey Jr;Tom Holland
(l to r) Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: HomecomingChuck Zlotnick—Sony Pictures Entertainment

Far From Home confirms that the Avengers have disbanded: Iron Man and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have died, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has decamped to space and Captain America (Chris Evans) has traveled back in time to live out a tranquil life with his first love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).

The citizens of the world are in mourning, and Peter Parker is haunted by Tony’s sacrifice in particular. Every blank wall that Peter passes in New York, Venice, Prague and London seems to be covered with a gigantic mural of Iron Man. (Does anyone else find it a bit rude that nobody has painted any murals of Black Widow?) During a question-and-answer session with the press, a reporter asks Spider-Man whether he will be the new leader of the Avengers. Peter panics and swings away.

Though Uncle Ben is long gone, Peter is still struggling with the notion that with great power comes great responsibility: When the likes of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Ned and Happy (Jon Favreau) suggest that Spider-Man needs to step up to a leadership role now that the key Avengers are all gone, Peter complains that he just wants to enjoy his vacation and share his first kiss with MJ on top of the Eiffel Tower. (Nick Fury, or the person who turns out to be the shape-shifting alien Talos disguised as Nick Fury, gives a yada-yada speech about how there are certainly other superheroes who could protect Earth, including Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange, but they’re all indisposed.)

Peter suffers the consequences of his immaturity when he hands off dangerous technology he inherited from Tony to Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a supposed superhero who claims he’s from a parallel universe. The whole parallel universe thing turns out to be a ruse, and Mysterio is actually a man whose scientific developments were once spurned by Tony Stark. (Mysterio joins a long line of men who seek vengeance against the Avengers after the egotistical Tony ticked them off, including Whiplash in Iron Man 2, Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3 and Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.) Mysterio creates fake monsters called the Elementals in order to seemingly fight them and position himself as the next Iron Man. Spider-Man eventually discovers his plot and defeats him.

In the process, Peter dons Tony’s old glasses in order to use the computer program EDITH (which stands for “Even Dead I’m The Hero”). He builds a new Spider-Man suit to the tune of AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” which opened the very first Iron Man movie. The end of Spider-Man: Far From Home parallels the end of Iron Man: In Iron Man, Tony Stark reveals his secret identity to the world; in a post-credits scene for Far From Home, the Daily Bugle releases a video in which Mysterio reveals Peter Parker’s real identity to the world. In both cases, the revelation puts the heroes’ loved ones in danger.

The implication of all these visual and thematic parallels is that, to some extent, Spider-Man is taking over for Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Peter Parker is certainly still a kid, but (for better or worse) he’s not just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man anymore. He’s a globetrotting hero who, as Nick Fury points out, has even fought in space. If some second iteration of the Avengers comes together, he’s the most likely candidate to lead the Earth-bound group, especially since Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) is preoccupied in space, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) with his country of Wakanda and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) with mystical threats (more on those later).

Vulture, Scorpion, The Prowler, the Sinister Six and Miles Morales could all still show up

Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton as Vulture in Spider-Man: HomecomingChuck Zlotnick—Sony Pictures Entertainment

Remember during the post-credits scene to Spider-Man: Homecoming when Vulture (Michael Keaton) encounters a criminal named Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) in prison? Mac asks Vulture whether he knows Spider-Man’s identity, and Vulture lies and says he does not. The movie never explains why Vulture would conceal Peter’s identity — whether it was because he wanted to kill the boy himself or had some good left in him and wanted to protect the teen.

Either way, Peter’s identity is now public information, and it’s likely that both Vulture and Mac will return to fight him. In the comics, Mac becomes a villain named the Scorpion, and he and Vulture both become a part of a super-villain team called the Sinister Six. Spider-Man: Homecoming set up another potential member of that team: Prowler. Donald Glover plays thief Aaron Davis in that film. Fans of the Miles Morales Spider-Man comics and the recent animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse will know that Aaron Davis operates as a thief called Prowler. He’s also the uncle to the eventual Spider-Man Miles Morales.

It’s possible that if the MCU is setting up Peter Parker to graduate to a role as the next Iron Man (or Iron Spider), then Miles Morales could get bitten by a radioactive Spider and take Peter’s place as protector of New York City.

Marvel is headed to space, and Captain Marvel has a big role to play

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)Marvel Studios

Captain Marvel appeared only sparingly in Avengers: Endgame, in part because it’s pretty clear she is so powerful, she could take on Thanos one-on-one. (Why she didn’t snap her fingers while wearing the Infinity Stones instead of Tony is somewhat unclear.) But she’s also MIA because she’s busy saving space: When the Avengers complain that she doesn’t spend enough time on Earth, she fires back that while Earth has the Avengers, the rest of the universe needs her to protect them.

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has hinted multiple times that the MCU saga is going to become increasingly galactic. A third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is in the works, and the last Guardians seemed to set up a spinoff starring Michelle Yeoh and Sylvester Stallone. Plus, Marvel has announced a movie about a celestial set of beings called the Eternals starring Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani.

The second post-credits scene for Spider-Man: Far From Home confirms that even our earthling characters are headed into space. In the scene, we find out that shape-shifting Skrull alien Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) from the Captain Marvel movie has been impersonating Nick Fury. Talos calls the real Fury to inform him of events on Earth, and we see that Fury is in fact working on a space station with hundreds of other Skrulls.

It seems that Fury has aligned himself with the Skrulls, and after the death of Thanos he has refocused the American government’s attention on threats coming from space. The inclusion of the Skrulls in the scene, plus Nick Fury’s migration from earth to a space station, suggests that Captain Marvel will be the central figure in whatever story comes next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Here are all of the movies Marvel has announced after Spider-Man: Far From Home

None of these movies have dates yet, but these are the films confirmed or heavily rumored to be on Marvel’s future slate:

Doctor Strange 2

Doctor Strange
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Doctor Strange 2 is almost certainly in the works. At the end of the first Doctor Strange movie, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo, once an ally of Strange, decided that there were too many wizards in the world and was taking back magical powers from those who possessed them. He’s likely the villain in the next film.

Black Panther 2

Walt Disney Co.

Black Panther’s blockbuster success guaranteed a sequel, and both writer-director Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman have signed on to return for a second installment. Rumor has it that Marvel is eager to find a way to bring back Michael B. Jordan’s villainous Killmonger in some capacity.

Captain Marvel 2

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in 'Captain Marvel.'Walt Disney Co.

If the Avengers turn their attention toward space (and rebrand with a different name), Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is likely to lead that team. Captain Marvel — who technically has not even received her name yet in the movies — will get another solo outing as well, probably either set between the events of the 90s-set Captain Marvel and Endgame or after Endgame.

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Far From HomeSony Pictures

When Marvel and Sony negotiated to share the rights to the webslinger, they agreed to produce three solo Spider-Man outings together with Tom Holland as the star. The two studios will either need to renegotiate their contract to make more Spidey movies or else Sony will take Spider-Man and all his foes back to their studio. That means that Spider-Man would no longer appear in team-up movies like the Avengers. Given the build-up of Spider-Man’s role after Iron Man’s death in Far From Home, it’s likely that the two will reach an agreement.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, from left: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, 2014. ph: Jay Maidment/©Walt Disney
Walt Disney Co.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is back on Marvel’s schedule after the firing and re-hiring of director James Gunn. This movie won’t hit theaters anytime soon: Gunn has to film Suicide Squad 2 before he turns to the next Guardians film. But when it does premiere, the movie will likely include Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who set out into space with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians team in search of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) at the end of Endgame.

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'
Scarlett Johansson in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'Jay Maidment—Marvel/Walt Disney/Shutterstock

Marvel has officially announced a Black Widow prequel film starring Scarlett Johansson, to be directed by Cate Shortland. The character was a Russian spy before she became an Avenger, and the movie will likely focus on her pre-SHIELD years.

The Eternals

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Speaks At Annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira De Mello Foundation
Harold Cunningham—Getty Images

Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani and Bodyguard star Richard Madden have all signed on to star in The Eternals. In the comics, god-like beings called the Celestials create the Eternals by imbuing early humans with immense powers.


Destin Daniel Cretton
Destin Daniel Cretton attends "The Glass Castle" New York Screening at SVA Theatre on August 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)Jared Siskin—Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Director Destin Daniel Cretton will helm Marvel Studios’ first Asian superhero film based on the comics about a superhero who is a master of martial arts.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com