WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which opens Friday nationwide.
Fans demanded it, and now it's a reality: Spider-Man a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, true believers! Thanks to an unprecedented partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, Peter Parker is a full-blown resident of the MCU, meaning he'll interact with members of the Avengers in his solo films, just as he did in last year's Captain America: Civil War. And with the arrival of Homecoming in theaters, his MCU presence has helped lay at least one unanswered question to rest.
The Sony/Marvel partnership is why Tom Holland's first starring turn as the web-slinger prominently features Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, along with Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan. However, those aren't the only familiar faces set to show up in Homecoming. Chris Evans' Captain America has a brief cameo, and the film features visual references to Howard Stark and Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. It also includes Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts -- the longtime love interest and right-hand-woman to Stark.
It's been known for a while now that Paltrow would appear in the film in some capacity, but now we know that it's no mere cameo. Thanks to Sony's willingness to spend a little more on Homecoming's budget, the film had better access to big names, including Paltrow. And, in her first appearance since 2013's Iron Man 3, she makes a splash -- albeit, only for about a minute towards the end of the film.
In Captain America: Civil War, audiences were introduced to the notion that Tony and Pepper were on a break due to the fact that Tony couldn't commit enough time to the relationship. This was a throwaway line that didn't quite satisfy fans who had wondered why the character was strangely absent in Tony's first post-Iron Man 3 appearance, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Well, in Homecoming it's revealed that Tony and Pepper are back together, and in the scene they share, Happy jokes about carrying around an engagement ring in his pocket for years, just in case Tony ever decided to pop the question.
This moment paves the way for more Pepper Potts appearances down the MCU road, perhaps even as soon as the next Avengers flick, Infinity War. After all, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have indicated that there will be dozens (and dozens) of MCU characters in the film. Not only is it possible for Paltrow's Pepper Potts to make at least a cameo in the film, especially since it's established her and Tony are an item once again, who's to say it won't feature her suited up in her very own Rescue armor?
Arriving 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.