MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Nick Fury was originally going to be Peter Parker’s mentor in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
One of the things that I think that long longtime readers of Movie Legends Revealed must know by now is the power of the “game of telephone” effect, which is when someone says one thing, but as it gets repeated, the original message gets tangled up and/or misinterpreted or misunderstood and suddenly you have something that is so far removed from the original truth that it is, in effect, a movie legend. A good example would be how David Goyer once made a comment about a third Batman movie and how it would involve the Joker, so that led people to believe that the Joker had a role in the Dark Knight Rises that was cut when Heath Ledger passed away. That was not the case, but Goyer’s misunderstood comment (he was speaking before they settled on the plot for The Dark Knight and they ultimately changed plans dramatically) was repeatedly quoted for proof as this “fact.”
A similar situation has gone on the last few weeks, based on a quote from Spider-Man: Homecoming director, Jon Watts. Reader Ken B. wrote in to ask about a popular story that made the round a while back about how Nick Fury was originally going to be Peter’s mentor in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This is based on a quote from Jon Watts to io9 when he said that when he was pitching to get the job, he created “mood reels” (short bits to show what kind of mood you’re shooting for with the film) that featured Nick Fury and Peter Parker. As Watts noted, “I don’t know what the situation would be, but that would be a person he’d want to get in trouble with.”
Nick Fury was, in fact, a key part of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series as a mentor/boss to Peter Parker (who was of a similar age to Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming)…
So that’s natural that Watts would come at it from that angle.
However, Fury was never actually considered for a mentor role in the film. When Kevin Feige cut the famous deal with Columbia/Sony where Marvel Studios would produce the Spider-Man film for them (with Sony having final creative control, of course) in exchange for them being allowed to integrate the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Peter Parker/Tony Stark mentor angle was specifically what he pitched to Sony’s Amy Pascal (you know, “We’ll get you Iron Man in your movie – it will do well). Pascal notes in that same io9 article, “Basically [Peter figuring out his relationship with Tony] is what the whole entire movie is about. Like all of us, it’s about wanting to be someone that you’re not and then getting stuck with yourself.”
So no, Nick Fury was never going to be the mentor to Peter Parker in the movie. It was just Watts tossing the idea out after things had already been decided (which he could not have known that it had already been decided, since he had not been hired yet) so the legend is…
Thanks to Ken B. for the question! And thanks to Germain Lussier for the great info from the io9 article!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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