Spider-Man’s Return Shakes Up Marvel’s Universe


Several months ago, Kevin Feige announced the third phase of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) including the slate of films and new characters. After the announcement earlier this week that Spider-Man will return to Marvel in the upcoming film, Captain America: Civil War, there may a shakeup in the ranks.

The one character may take a hit in the upcoming film may be Black Panther. In a story already featuring Captain America, Iron Man and now Spider-Man’s return, where will the Black Panther fit in? While Black Panther’s role was initially described as “a big part” of the film, it appears unlikely that this will change but alterations are possible now that the web slinger has returned home and his addition will come at the expense of Black Panther.

Much of this is speculation based on the limited details we know about the future of Marvel’s movies, but it’s still enough to paint a worrisome picture. Last year when Marvel’s Phase 3 schedule was announced, we saw Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman brought on stage to pose with Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. to tease their involvement in Civil War. This was a pleasant surprise seeing how Black Panther does not have a significant role in the Civil War comic; it showed that Marvel was eager to elevate the character to another level in their cinematic universe. But now with Spider-Man in the mix, it’s hard to imagine they aren’t going to change their plans to put him in the spotlight instead.

In the Civil War comic (spoiler warning for Spidey’s big twist!), Spider-Man was the heart and soul of the story. Spider-Man started out on Iron Man’s Pro-Registration side, which sought to have all heroes reveal their secret identities and register with the government. The most shocking moment of the entire story came when Spider-Man unmasked himself on live TV in a show of support to Iron Man’s agenda. Soon after, Spider-Man realized he was on the wrong side, so he joined Captain America’s underground Anti-Registration resistance force. The story might have been promoted as Iron Man vs. Captain America, but it was Spidey who acted as the everyman (everyhero?) that the audience could most relate to.


Before the news that Spider-Man was going to join the MCU, it was assumed by many that Black Panther would be playing the role of Spider-Man. Obviously the story would have been much different for a number of reasons — there’s no secret identities in the MCU, Black Panther is Wakandan King T’Challa and not everyman Peter Parker, etc. — but ultimately it would have endeared the audience to Black Panther, and that’s on top of making them hold the character in high regard for being in league with Iron Man and Captain America.

It’s easy to assume that establishing Spider-Man is the new top priority for Marvel Studios, and to do that, it looks like the only option will be to downplay Black Panther in order to put a bigger spotlight on Spider-Man. That’s a bit of guesswork on my part, but it’s not too far-fetched. There’s billions of dollars to be made from the Sony/Marvel deal, so they’ve got every reason to make Spider-Man’s debut the best it can be.

This is bad for Black Panther, a character many comic readers thought would never get a movie in the first place. Spider-Man is arguably Marvel’s most popular character, whereas Black Panther is generally only known to fans of the comics. Sure he’s been in a few cartoons and video games, but he’s nowhere near the popularity of Spider-Man. Civil War could give him the boost he needs to be more mainstream, but now it’s hard to imagine he will get it. He could still have a role to play in the movie, but will it be as prominent as it was before the Spidey deal?

(information for this report came from Julian Roman, courtesy of Screen Rant)