The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a tough set of choices to make. Foremost of those is what to do with Spider-Man going forward. Though they've secured a third film with Tom Holland, they have to work out the best way forward, knowing that they might not get a further deal allowing Spider-Man to stay in the connected MCU. Along with with a comic book writer who asked to remain nameless, we combed through a number of options -- and though there are less than 14,000,605, we still feel like we've gotten to the bottom of this and found the one outcome with the highest chance of success -- and it's "One More Day."
That's right, for the MCU to thrive, for them to both protect themselves against the loss of Spider-Man and allow for future deals to break either way, one of the smartest things the studio could do would be to embrace One More Day firmly and make it the third MCU Spider-Man film.
Possibly the most divisive Spider-Man storyline of all-time, "One More Day" happened after Civil War in the comics. Whereas in Captain America: Civil War, the conflict was exclusively about government oversight of superhero activities, in the comics, a lot of it centered on the idea of surrendering secret identities. That element was removed from the movie since almost no Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes actually have secret identities. At the time of "One More Day," Peter Parker had outed himself the world at large as part of the Civil War storyline, in order to show he was on Iron Man's side.
As a result of Peter's going public, an assassin who had it in for Peter accidentally shot Aunt May. This left May dying from a gunshot wound, and Peter desperate for a way to save her. Long story short: He ended up making a deal with Mephisto to save Aunt May, in exchange for Mephisto's taking Peter and Mary Jane's marriage, which then-editor Joe Quesada had long lamented being a part of the character's canon. The rewrite of their history would spiral across reality, and also include remove 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.
Comic book fans, who love continuity almost as much as they love the characters themselves, were split on the story, with those who really did not like the Peter/Mary Jane marriage more or less seeing "One More Day" as a means to a necessary end, while almost everyone else hated it.
So...why would it be a good solution for the movies, when it's so divisive in the comics?
First, the event would have to be changed in many details for the MCU adaptation. Peter's secret life as Spider-Man was not revealed by choice, and is unconnected to Civil War, for example. His history with MJ is also much less deep, as they are both still teens in the movies, rather than having been married for years. These are hardly insurmountable obstacles, since Marvel Studios adaptations -- even the ones that directly use the titles and basic plots of stories from the comics -- make significant changes to accommodate the format and the history of the MCU.
That said, adapting "One More Day" would let the MCU wipe the information of his identity again from the MCU at large -- a problem they may want to deal with in the third film somehow. It would also allow them to write Spider-Man out of the MCU entirely, should they need to down the line.
Here is, more or less, how we could see it working: Peter's life as Spider-Man is public. He's hunted and hated. Someone comes for Aunt May, and shoots her, much like in the comics. In desperation, Peter goes to Doctor Strange (a team-up between Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko's most famous characters, is a thing actor Tom Holland has said repeatedly he would love to happen in a movie), and asks for help to save May.
As in the comics, Strange can not help. However, in the middle of this, Strange is dealing with Mephisto (a character who has often been rumored for an MCU debut), and Peter decides to help Strange, because that's what he does. Along the way, Mephisto offers Peter what he desires: May's life back and his secret bottled. All he wants in return is the world's memory of Peter.
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.7comments
So the MCU can rest easy without a Spider-Man if they need to. And, of course, if they make a deal for further films, they can undo this deal and make that the plot of the next film.
Though many fans may resist the concept, "One More Day" can be the answer to the MCU's Spider-woes -- if they were to embrace it.