While Spider-Ham is going to be a father, Spider-Man's beloved father figure is finally confirmed to exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the first time since Captain America: Civil War rebooted the character's movie continuity, (a version of) Spider-Man said the words "Uncle Ben" in today's episode of What If...?. Obviously, this isn't the Tom Holland Spider-Man -- the character was actually voiced by Mad Men and The Secret Life of the American Teenager actor Hudson Thames -- but this exists explicitly within the shared multiverse of the Marvel movies, and features a version of Peter Parker who has the same lived experiences, and relationship with the other Marvel heroes, as Peter.
The episode also sees this version of Peter turning down an offer to join The Avengers. That's something that tracks more with the Peter of the comics (who wasn't a regular member of the team for the first fifty or so years of his existence) than the movies.
After the Sam Raimi film franchise, the Amazing Spider-Man movies, and a number of animated iterations, it seemed as though Marvel and Sony had decided that it was better to introduce Spider-Man as a fully-realized superhero in Captain America: Civil War than to rehash his origin again. Unfortunately, that meant that the death of Uncle Ben had to go...and as a result, so did the character almost completely, being alluded to in the movies, but never mentioned by name until now.
Tom Holland's Spider-Man has already appeared in Captain America: Civil War, two Avengers movies, and two Spider-Man movies (with a third on the way), and since the beginning, fans have been wondering when this key piece of his backstory would be addressed.
Needless to say, fans -- some of whom have been pretty critical of the Marvel movies for writing out Uncle Ben in favor of building up Peter's relationship with Tony Stark -- were excited to hear it. You can see some of our favorite responses below.
That sounds an awful lot like Spider-Man
Hearing that What If’s Spider-Man mentioned Uncle Ben & turned down being an Avenger. Is this real?????— younis (@younityyy) September 8, 2021
What you'd expect
A passive Uncle Ben name drop in the midst of everyone asking Spider-Man, of all characters, how he stays so upbeat and joyful during dark times in a non-canon TV show is exactly how I expected the MCU to integrate Uncle Ben for the first time. lol— GJK (@gjkcentral) September 8, 2021
Uncle Ben is an integral part of Spider-Man’s character... a name drop will not do it for me pic.twitter.com/K4zLJS9gSI— Omar 🍇 (@OmarOVO24) September 8, 2021
"Peter mentioning Ben isn't even canon to the MCU who cares" it's the exact same Peter it's just circumstances have changed which is their was a zombie apocalypse instead of the snap. So y'all have your uncle ben confirmation now so shut up :) pic.twitter.com/XZDykCqClr— Damo (@Fantastic4Shill) September 8, 2021
Since #WhatIf is technically part of the MCU, Spider-Man haters can stop saying Peter has never “mentioned” uncle Ben finally. LOL— malachi (@MCUMarvels) September 8, 2021
A perfect thematic joke
Marvel fr just said “What If Uncle Ben was in the MCU” 💀💀— Hassan Hamid | TASM Era (@HassanHamid266) September 8, 2021
Meme of the week
Spider-Man Twitter after Uncle Ben gets mentioned pic.twitter.com/Kkx7AHaRh0— Foxy 🇮🇹 (@foxyITA_) September 8, 2021
My own snark
Uncle who, now? I only ever heard of Iron Man.— Russ Burlingame, the #JosieBook Guy (@russburlingame) September 8, 2021