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Published on July 10th, 2012 | by Dan Gvozden

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What’s Next for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?

After closing out the weekend with an incredible $140 million dollars, it has been confirmed that The Amazing Spider-man will be the start of a brand new Spider-man trilogy.  To those of you who have watched the film this should come as no great shock, as the film left many questions unanswered and introduced a number of concepts that could be explored much further.

In this article I will discuss with full SPOILERS where I think the story is headed, who will be the villain in the next film, the secret behind Peter’s parents, and what fates await our favorite characters.  So if you haven’t seen the film, go read my review and then go watch the movie.  If you want to know a bit more about where I think the new Spider-man universe is headed then read on at your own discretion.

WHO IS THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS?
The first question that just about everyone has when leaving the theater after seeing The Amazing Spider-man is exactly this.  The end of the film features an incredibly odd final scene between Curt Connors and a yet unnamed man in black.  The next inevitable question is, was this a dream or some kind of delusion on Curt’s part?  This question comes from the bizarre nature of how the man appears and disappears in the room.

The initial thought that I had is that this is the famous Norman Osborn, but that thought quickly left my head when I put together the clues that the film offers as to who this actually is (I clearly wanted it to be Norman Osborn and so I imprinted my wishes onto the film).  Instead, I strongly believe that this is a man named Max Dillon or more commonly Electro.

In the Marvel Universe, Max Dillon was an electrical engineer and lineman who while repairing a power line was struck by lightning.  This lightning strike triggered a mutagenic change in his body that transformed him into a living electrical capacitor.  He has the ability to generate massive quantities of electricity which he can employ as lightning arcs from his fingertips.  He also utilizes these abilities for thrust, flight, and control over electrically charged machinery.

In recent Spider-man comics Electro was powered up to become a living artificial thunderbolt, allowing him to travel through electrical appliances and as lightning.

The film offers up several clues to support this “Electro theory,” not just in the final scene but throughout the film.  The first, and most obvious, reason for me to believe this is the way that the character enters and leaves the room at the ending.  Both occur with a flash of lighting and no lingering trace of his presence.  This lightning is highly emphasized and the cuts occur right on the sound effect, implying causation.

The second big clue that can be seen a number of times throughout The Amazing Spider-man lies in Curt Connors office.  Hanging on a wall over the desk is a piece of art depicting a cabin in the woods getting struck by lightning.  It is a rather large piece of art and seemingly random, but why emphasize electricity to such an extreme if it wasn’t there intentionally?  The image is quite dramatic and is always presented clearly in the back of several shots in the film.  There was definitely some care paid towards featuring this item.  Miss it?  Go see the film again and I assure you that its going to be impossible not to see.

So what’s the big deal about Electro?  Well that depends on who you ask or who is writing him.  There are about as many different versions of Electro as there have been writers on Spider-man.  However, the one that I think they are going to go with is one out of the pages of the book “Ultimate Spider-man.”

In 1999, Marvel comics launched its Ultimate Comics line.  The Ultimate Comics were their attempt to essentially reimagine all of their classic characters in a modern and continuity free universe.  The first book to launch and find immediate success was Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s “Ultimate Spider-man.”  This update to the Spider-man story continues to be an incredible success and has gone on to influence the depictions of Spider-man everywhere.  The Amazing Spider-man is clearly influenced heavily by “Ultimate Spider-man,” the first book to use Oscorp as the center of the Spider-man universe.

In this book, Electro has been remained with powers as a product of bioengineering, in an attempt to replicate the Captain America super-serum.  His powers remain the same as his original counterpart but his image is starkly different.  He also doesn’t typically act as a stand-alone villain to Spider-man, but more as a hired hand.   All of these things are consistent with what we’ve seen so far of “Electro” in The Amazing Spider-man as he appears to be a hired hand of Oscorp and we also know that bioengineering is exactly what Oscorp is in the business of doing.

Does this mean that we won’t see Norman Osborn or the Green Goblin in the next film?  No I don’t think it means this at all.  What I imagine we will see is Norman, who is apparently dying for some unknown reason, seeking a way to cheat death as he develops the Goblin formula, most likely a result of his observations on the effects that Peter Parker received.  If anything Electro will probably be Norman’s errand boy as he slowly works towards his transformation, saving the Goblin for the third movie.

WHAT IS IN STORE FOR SPIDER-MAN AND GWEN STACY?

(Where is Mary Jane?)

One of the biggest omissions in The Amazing Spider-man is of the character of Mary Jane.  Popular culture would tell you that Mary Jane is Peter Parker’s one truelove, and you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect.  However, there were two other very important women in Peter’s life before Mary Jane even entered the picture with her famous, “Face it, tiger… you just hit the jackpot!”  Namely Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first truelove and a defining part of what makes him Spider-man.

You see, Gwen is famous for a number of reasons but mostly (BIG SPOILERS) for her death at the hands of the Green Goblin.  Gwen’s character is important because she is Spider-man first tragic lesson in the importance of his secret identity.  Back in 2002, Sam Raimi approached this moment in Spider-man where he featured Gwen’s famous death scene but instead replaced her with Mary Jane.  Remember the scene where the Green Goblin offered Spider-man a choice between saving Mary Jane and a car full of children?  Well that’s almost exactly how it played out in the comics with Gwen Stacy.  Except for a few important details.  There was no car of children and Gwen lay limp in the Goblin’s arms.  Dead?  We’ll never know.  Either way it is the following moment that went on to change comics and Spider-man forever.

Look closely and you’ll see a “SNAP” sound effect near Gwen’s neck when Spider-man catches her.  It is this moment that sealed Gwen’s fate.  Whether alive or dead before the fall it was Spider-man’s saving web that caused her neck to break.

So will they kill Gwen Stacy in these films or just cop out in a similar way as the original trilogy?  I can’t say for certain either way but there are a number of things which point very strongly towards her death becoming a huge moment in the upcoming films.  Namely her father’s dying wish for Peter to “leave her out of this” and Peter’s direct shattering of his promise.  If Spider-man is about anything, its a story about imperfect humanity and how we learn from our actions.  To make such a big moment out of Peter’s broken promise only serves to hint towards the inevitably tragic conclusion for Emma Stone’s character.

I can’t be the only person to find the irony behind the moment that Spider-man tosses Gwen Stacy out of the window only to catch her perfectly below him.  It is a small moment in the film, but one that foretells future opportunities for him to not catch her so perfectly.

It seems fairly certain that we will get to meet Mary Jane and Harry Osborn in the next film when Peter and Gwen go to college (they were seniors after all).  Stan Lee couldn’t resist writing a love-triangle into the comic books and I’m sure we’ll see the same thing in the film.  It will be Gwen’s death that sobers the party girl Mary Jane and brings her and Peter together, just as it did in the comics.


At least that would be incredibly smart if it did.  Again this is all speculation, but its obvious that Marc Webb knows his Spider-man history and is interested in telling an incredibly personal tale of Peter Parker and his relationships.

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH PETER’S PARENTS?

I think its safe to say that we won’t be seeing Richard and Mary Parker as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they were originally presented in the Spider-man comics.  The Amazing Spider-man has yet again gone to “Ultimate Spider-man”‘s reinvention of the characters as scientists who met their end in a plane crash (it happens so fast in the movie I expect most people to miss it).

In that book their deaths were a result of Richard Parker’s work on creating the Venom symbiote suit.  The suit was a biological creation, based off of Richard’s own blood, that would cover a cancer patient and boost their body so that it could fight off whatever ailed it.  However, like most of Spider-man’s villains the suit backfired and didn’t just boost the biological capabilities of the wearer but also their anger.  This transformed the person wearing the costume into the raging monster we all know as Venom.

Richard Parker wasn’t happy with what he created but the company he worked for seized his work and removed him from the project.  This caused Richard to flee with his wife and work only to meet his untimely death, presumably at the hands of his former employer in an attempt to keep his work a secret.  Rajit Ratha hints that something similar happened to Peter’s parents in The Amazing Spider-man, even threatening Curt Connors that the same fate might befall him.

I think its pretty safe to assume that Oscorp had a hand in the Parkers’s premature death, but what was it that Richard was hiding.  I assume it must revolve around the creation of the Goblin serum and his work with spiders.  Richard Parker’s obsession with spiders is evident in the first scene of The Amazing Spider-man and it seems clear that he was interested in the creatures far beyond their abilities to create powerful webbing.

My assumption is that Richard had begun secretly testing a serum of some sort on young Peter, whether intentionally or by accident.  This is what allowed Peter to survive his spider-bite and not transform into a horrible man-spider.  When Norman Osborn discovered this was what he was up to it was time for Richard to go.  He sent someone to break into his house to attempt to steal his formulas, an attempt that we see to be unsuccessful, and just like in “Ultimate Spider-man” Richard and Mary head out of town only to meet their untimely deaths.

If you are going to make Norman the big bad of the whole series, why not make him the sole reason that Peter is an orphan as well?  At least, that’s what I’d do.

We know that a number of scenes that would serve to further illuminate the Parker’s story were cut from the film: see the above marketing image featuring Curt Connor’s Lizard confronting Ratha.  However since they are not in the film we cannot consider them as canon.  Will we see these scenes inserted in future films?  I doubt it, but it does make for good speculation.

Either way, The Amazing Spider-man has a rich history of comics to support its story and how it might move forward.

Do you agree with any of my theories?  What would you want to see?  Do you have any theories of your own?

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About the Author

Do you remember that dorky kid from elementary school who loved movies and comic books? Dan's him, but an adult... well in most senses of the word. All that matters is that he's an aficionado of all things pop culture and wants to share his interests with the world.



  • Just got back from the movie and your analysis sounds pretty spot on to me.

    Any thoughts on how/if Venom will enter the next two movies? Actress suggestions for MJ?

  • If they bring in Venom, which I hope they don’t, it’ll probably be through his parents or Oscorp in some way. Word has it that they are in the early stages of planning a Venom movie that will tie into this universe. I’m hoping that it never happens and if it does that it is tangential to Spider-man. It’ll be interesting to see if they go through with it how they portray Venom. Currently Flash Thompson is in the Venom suit in the comics after losing his legs in Afghanistan. They’ve introduced Flash, but he’s certainly in no place to become Venom.

    As for MJ I have absolutely no idea. I hope that they go with the conventional party girl MJ that can eventually grow, as I detailed earlier. Whoever she should be she should be able to give Emma Stone a run for her money in terms of onscreen like ability, a near impossible task!

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