Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts has opened up about Uncle Ben’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, teasing that the creatives at the studio are still trying to figure out exactly what to do with the pivotal character.
The death of Ben, who was previously played by Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen in Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man, is integral in the development of Peter Parker. However, since the debut of Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, the only member of Parker’s family we’ve been introduced to is Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May.
Eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted a reference to Uncle Ben, though, in Spider-Man: Far From Home, as Parker was seen using his old suitcase. This provoked Screen Crush to ask Watts whether Uncle Ben exists in the MCU, to which he emphatically responded, “Yes. Definitely. Did you notice his initials on Peter’s suitcase?”
Two years ago, though, when Screen Crush asked Watts that very same question he was much more reluctant about whether Uncle Ben would be part of this world. What changed?
“We knew we weren’t going to tell an origin story, so we just avoided talking about that in too much detail. I didn’t want to reveal too much.”
“It was a lot more sensitive of an issue to not be doing an origin story when we were talking about Homecoming … back then, people were saying ‘Why are you making another Spider-Man movie?’ The focus was on showing people things that they had never seen before, not retelling that origin.”
When it comes to Uncle Ben’s current place in the MCU Watts was much more ambiguous, adding, “We don’t know … We never specifically say anything about him. So whether or not he’s around or not … Everything’s on the table, is how I like to say it.”
But while Watts is keeping the presence of Uncle Ben very much under wraps, Tom Holland previously told Uproxx that he actually believes Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man actually played that role in the development of his Peter Parker.
“I think he probably was. I think he probably was, you know? I think he was very, very much took on the mantle as his father figure, and losing him is a huge blow to Peter Parker obviously.”
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now in cinemas.