Spider-Man actor Tom Holland actually helped save Spider-Man 3 by pleading with Disney and Sony to come to terms and strike a new deal. As a result, we do have two more Spider-Man movies in store for the MCU, including Spider-Man 3 and what I believe could be the next Avengers sequel (Avengers 5), or at least the massive setup for it. We also heard that Marvel may be getting ready to write Spider-Man out of the MCU for good, and these two films should help Kevin Feige and Co. accomplish that goal so that Sony can use the superhero for its own cinematic universe. Separately, a story said that Marvel and Sony have discussed ways they could share the superhero without having to worry too much about addressing what happens on the other side. After all, Holland’s Spider-Man is a complex character who has been shaped by what happened in the MCU. Ignoring all of that would be a colossal mistake and a huge problem for Sony. But how will Marvel remove Spider-Man from the MCU in a way that it doesn’t hurt fans or Marvel’s own future too much?
When Sony and Disney confirmed the Spider-Man split a few months ago, it became clear that both Sony and Marvel have a huge problem to solve, and that’s the massive cliffhanger at the end of Spider-Man 2. Basically, the world knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man, something that has never been done before in Sony’s Spider-Man films.
That’s an exciting cliffhanger if you keep Spider-Man in the MCU. Not so much if Sony and Marvel have to concoct separate ways to deal with it, while simultaneously explaining Parker’s departure from the MCU. The new deal fixed all that, but moving forward, Marvel will have to protect its MCU from having to deal with an abrupt Spider-Man departure. In light of that, Spider-Man 3 and Avengers 5 might help deliver a smooth exit.
Looking at inspiration in the comics with the help of a comic book writer who asked to remain anonymous, ComicBook thinks it found the best answer. That’s One More Day, a controversial Spider-Man story that was quite controversial with fans.
The story happened in the comics after the events of Civil War, in a world that knew Peter’s identity. This had unwanted consequences that lead to Aunt May’s death. Peter, of course, had to try to fix everything and he ended up making a deal with Mephisto to save his aunt. In return, Mephisto took away Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage:
The rewrite of their history would spiral across reality, and also include removing knowledge of Peter’s secret from the rest of the Marvel Universe as an added bonus. One More Day would be followed by Brand New Day, and a lot of the early parts of the post-One More Day status quo seemed to be, essentially, aimed at making Spider-Man more like the Lee/Ditko version than he had been in years.
The MCU timeline differs from comics, as Marvel has adapted some of those stories in specific ways to meet its needs. But ComicBook argues that One More Day can be done in the MCU, with slight changes.
Peter would go to Dr. Strange to save aunt May, but Strange can’t really help. However, Peter meets Mephisto, who is the new threat that Strange is dealing with. And Spider-Man would obviously help Strange in this endeavor. This is where Mephisto agrees to help Peter, asking in return to erase the world’s memory of Peter, secret identity included. After all, Parker and MJ aren’t married in this universe:
Peter agrees, as part of a plan with Strange, with Strange planning on undoing things afterward. But Peter knows that won’t be possible, and it is a sacrifice he is willing to make to save both the world and his beloved Aunt May. Mephisto does what he does, and the MCU forgets Spider-Man existed. They forget that Peter Parker existed. Peter goes off, adopting a new name: Ben Reilly. He decides to help people in secret, knowing anything bigger would nullify his deal.
No matter how divisive, this would be a clever way to remove Spider-Man from the MCU without really removing him. He could always come back in future films, but he could also continue to help the world over in Sony’s new Spider-verse as a Spider-Man with a secret identity.
On the other hand, this storyline poses some serious problems for the past and future of the MCU. Erasing Peter would have a series of adverse effects on movies including Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame. Not to mention the fact that Tony Stark’s whole “I lost the kid” mantra that motivates him to create his time machine evaporates. We’d need a few clever fixes for all those Spider-Man moments for this One More Day scenario to work.
Also, let’s not forget that Holland has to appear in a second MCU movie after Spider-Man 3. If that’s an Avengers 5-kind of adventure, then you can’t have the world forget who Spider-Man and Peter Parker are in Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 3 launches on July 16th, 2021, which gives us more than enough time to find out what the film might be called. Spider-Man: One More Day does have a nice ring to it, though.