WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.
Spider-Man: Far From Home has only been out for a few days, but fans are already speculating about what comes next. The film ends with Mysterio framing Spider-Man for his murder -- oh, and J. Jonah Jameson outing Peter Parker as the Amazing Spider-Man across the internet. Seems like it isn't a stretch to say that Spider-Man has never been in a situation like this before... except he has... in the '90s.
While modern audiences might not remember it, there is a story in the comics where Spider-Man is framed for a murder he didn't commit and has to work to clear his name. This story is Identity Crisis, and it is possible that the Marvel might be on its way to establishing it as the next major story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Not to be confused with the more contentious DC story of the same name, which revolves around the murder of Sue Dibny, Spider-Man's Identity Crisis is a different murder mystery story -- and one that is a lot less dour.
The plot for Identity Crisis is pretty straightforward. During the late '90s, following the decline of the Clone Saga, Spider-Man is framed for the murder of a crook named Joey Z by Norman Osborn and the Trapster. Apparently, Joey is found with web fluid in his lungs. Osborn puts out a five million dollar bounty on Spidey's head, turning the whole city against him.
In an effort to clear his name and continue fighting crime, Parker dons several new identities: Hornet, Dusk, Ricochet and Prodigy. Dusk and Ricochet are "criminals," while Hornet and Prodigy are heroes. Using each identity, Parker uncovers elements of the grander plot, all in an effort to clear his name. However, despite his new identities being surprisingly popular (even Jameson praises Prodigy as a new hero), Peter returns to being Spider-Man once the Joey Z business is behind him.
The arc only lasted about eight issues, but its legacy remains strong with a core of Spidey fans. Perhaps surprisingly, it even has mainstream appeal, with the costumes appearing in a few games, most notably, Spider-Man: Edge of Time. However, other than a few callbacks in subsequent issues and one time where other adopted the identities, none have had a truly lasting impact on continuity and mostly faded into obscurity.
But doesn't the set-up to Identity Crisis sound a lot like where Far From Home leaves the web-slinger?
Where the Similarities Lie
The Daily Bugle has positioned itself in Osborn's place going forward, at least until he shows up properly in the MCU. It seems highly likely that Jameson will hire some criminals to take Spider-Man down (possibly Scorpion or the Spider-Slayers), leaving Peter to figure out a way to clear his name and potentially trick people into believing he isn't Spider-Man. Even better, perhaps another villain (Kraven the Hunter, perhaps?) sets out to take Spider-Man down for some Daily Bugle reward money.
To gain some sort of secrecy or autonomy, he may assume another identity. After all, given the newfound popularity of "Night Monkey" in Spider-Man: Far From Home, it isn't like Parker hasn't assumed an alternate identity in the films so far. Each MCU film has shown Spider-Man wearing different costumes. This story would offer Peter the opportunity to wear some wildly different outfits with serious potential for the right kind of fan service.
Maybe he can even ask someone like Talos to pretend to be Spider-Man in the same place as Peter -- potentially on camera.
But Will We See Prodigy?
It is uncertain if the same four identities will make an appearance. The idea of Peter pretending to be a villain sounds exciting and entertaining, especially if Peter has to pretend to be a new villain to gain, say, the Scorpion's trust. So perhaps we may see Dusk or Ricochet in the films -- especially considering Dusk already looks like Spider-Man's stealth suit.
However, this might also be a chance for audiences to see other iconic suits that are vastly un-Spider-Man like. Perhaps he will even don a symbiote-esque outfit.
If the sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home is gearing up for an Identity Crisis film, it has the potential to make the most of this somewhat lesser-known Spider-Man story. Whether or not we see the Prodigy identity in Spider-Man 3, Peter will need to think outside of the box on how to fix all his problems in the sequel.
Now in theaters, director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.