Having introduced Tom Holland's Spider-Man to the world in Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark has been foundational to Peter Parker's Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnation. It's been clear ever since Spider-Man: Homecoming's first trailer that Stark, who serves as Peter's mentor in the film, will continue to influence his protégé. However, according to Jon Watts, the film's director, the billionaire has been influencing Peter long before he introduced the wall-crawler to the MCU.
In a recent interview with Den of Geek, Watts explained that he had always planned to have Iron Man be a central part of the MCU's first Spider-Man solo film.
"He was always a part of it," Watts said. "That was always a big part, the idea of him being this reluctant mentor – or the unintentional mentor – to Peter. Like, just sort of the grand ambition to be like that someday."
Peter has certainly had some time to mull over his superhero aspirations. The MCU celebrates its tenth year in 2018, and Homecoming brings the wall-crawler back to high school. In essence, Peter has grown up with the events of the MCU affecting his life at the same pace as young viewers who first saw Iron Man when the film debuted in 2008.
Because if you think about it, now that Spider-Man is in the Marvel universe, that means that Peter Parker was probably like eight years old when he saw Tony on TV telling the world he's Iron Man. And when you start thinking about it as a whole world like that, it gets really fascinating. You know?
And now the most famous person in the world has picked Peter Parker and taken him on this crazy adventure, and now dropped him back off and gone to deal with his own thing. And here's Peter, left in his bedroom, you know, having had the greatest experience of his life, and not being able to tell anyone about it. That would be crazy!
Watts' statements fit with Holland's recent reveal that the young boy in Iron Man 2 who attempted to face down a Hammer Drone was Peter Parker, a connection which further strengthened the long-term relationship between the two. However, whether or not that relationship will last forever remains to be seen. As the MCU moves forward, especially in light of potential casualties during the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, Peter may have to learn to live in a world without Stark, as actor Robert Downey Jr. has asserted that there's only so long he can keep playing the character.
Arriving in theaters July 7, director Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as Vulture, in addition to Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Tickets are on sale now.