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Feature Article

Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer Has Hints About The Post-Avengers: Endgame MCU

Mr. Stark, I don't want to be a superhero anymore.

Things are in a precarious state in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Technically, we're waiting on the resolution of the events of Avengers: Infinity War, which get wrapped up in Avengers: Endgame on April 26. But anybody could have guessed that Thanos's victory in Infinity War, which resulted in half the life of the universe ceasing to exist, wouldn't last forever, and beloved characters would come back from the brink to appear in more movies. With the release of the first teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, that assumption is essentially confirmed: Peter Parker will return, despite the snap.

The cool thing about the MCU, however, is that events have always left indelible marks on its characters. The heroes might have stopped the Chitauri invasion of New York in The Avengers back in 2012, but the experience left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) afflicted with PTSD, which has affected every decision he's made since then--often with disastrous results. The Battle of New York in The Avengers led Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) to steal alien weapons in Spider-Man: Homecoming, kicking off the events of that movie. And everything that happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron in the MCU nation of Sokovia altered global politics so completely that it led to Captain America: Civil War, which broke up the Avengers and brought Black Panther and Wakanda onto the world stage. The MCU often leans into exploring the large and small consequences of actions, even heroic ones.

The characters of the MCU successfully stop world-ending catastrophes and defeat villains, but they're always the worse for wear. In the cases of people like Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, War Machine, and Iron Man, the effects of everything they've seen and done are adding up. So yes, the events of Infinity War are going to get undone--but everything we've seen of the MCU so far suggests the impacts of those events are going to remain to inform the MCU's characters. The snap might not last, but it definitely will matter.

So now we come to Far From Home, which brings Spider-Man (Tom Holland) back to Earth after his stint in space in Infinity War and his disintegration after Thanos (Josh Brolin) made his wish. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has confirmed Far From Home takes place after Endgame. And that means the trailer might include some hints as to what effect Infinity War has had on its characters.

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The biggest change in the Far From Home trailer is Peter Parker's distance from being Spider-Man. The setup for the movie is a school summer trip to Europe for Peter, Ned (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya), and the rest of their school friends. Early on, Peter chooses to leave his Spider-Man suit behind in New York rather than bring it with him. Dialogue from Peter gives us his state of mind: He just wants to go and enjoy the trip as a regular kid. Later remarks from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) suggest that Spidey needs to be coaxed into using his abilities as a hero again.

That's a far cry from where we saw Spider-Man in both Homecoming and Infinity War. In Homecoming, Peter was desperate for the opportunity to become an Avenger, and while he later decided to stick to being a small-scale neighborhood Spider-Man, he still was excited for the chance to be that hero; he even fights his way back aboard the Maw's spaceship in Infinity War after Stark tries to leave him behind. It's a big shift for Spidey to be finding opportunities to put the suit aside.

In the wake of Infinity War, though, Peter's state of mind makes sense. After all, literally ceasing to exist after losing a fight for the universe is likely to have a sobering effect, just like nearly dying messed with Tony for years. Far From Home looks like it'll be dealing with a Peter who's thinking about his life without Spider-Man. While the story of Spider-Man is often about the push and pull between his civilian life and his great power and great responsibility, the post-Infinity War Spidey is a character we've never seen on film before. It seems Spider-Man is grappling with being a superhero who might be having second thoughts, and it seems very unlikely that a pep talk from Nick Fury is going to be the end of Peter's misgivings after his traumatic experience on Titan.

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That brings us to Nick Fury. The former leader of SHIELD has been more or less out of the picture since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when he was nearly killed by HYDRA agents who had infiltrated the organization. SHIELD was disbanded and Fury went into hiding. He's showed up once or twice to help the Avengers, but for the most part, Fury hasn't been much of a player in the MCU for years.

We know Fury has still been keeping tabs on things, and in the world after Thanos, it looks like he's returned to a much more active role. Fury started the Avengers Initiative specifically to deal with threats like Thanos, so in the wake of nearly losing half the universe to a nearly invincible alien, one would expect him to redouble his efforts to protect Earth. That probably means recruiting people like Spidey once again, consolidating power, and preparing for the next threat. It could even mean that Fury is looking to rebuild something like SHIELD.

Seeing Fury running around, talking to superheroes again, raises some questions about what his role will be going forward and why. There's some speculation that Tony Stark and/or Captain America (Chris Evans) will die in Endgame (both actors' contracts only extends to Avengers 4, and Evans has already talked about moving on from his role), which could leave Fury as the de facto leader of Earth's mightiest in the MCU. But like Spider-Man, we can bet that Fury's experiences, like the infiltration of SHIELD by its greatest enemies, are going to have a profound effect on what he does in the future.

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It's tough to make many more guesses without more information about the story of Far From Home, but there are things in the trailer that could be providing more hints. Take Mysterio for example: Some of the most plausible-seeming theories about the character, who is a longtime Spider-Man villain in the comics but appears in a heroic role in the trailer, is that he's using his illusory powers to create the threats he's then defeating. If Mysterio's goal really is to paint himself as a superhero, one might guess that's a response to Infinity War as well. Maybe Mysterio is some kind of superhero profiteer, using the trauma of Infinity War to make himself famous, rich, or both. Or maybe he's just some guy searching for some measure of control in a world where genocidal aliens can kill half of everyone you know with a snap, and your only hope is that a variety of super-powered randos will manage to stop it. Maybe Mysterio is the first of a new trend of people trying to brute-force themselves into being superheroes, lest they find themselves vanishing into oblivion when the next Thanos shows up.

It does seem like Spider-Man: Far From Home will give us a sense of how the MCU is coping with the aftermath of Infinity War, on both the large and small scale, though. While it's tough to know exactly what that'll look like, the MCU's history of fully exploring the consequences of its events should mean that, even though the Avengers might eventually save the universe from Thanos, not everything will go back to the way it was before the Mad Titan arrived.

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philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

Avengers: Endgame

Complete coverage of Marvel's latest big movie release, which caps off the Infinity Saga and sends the MCU into Phase 4.
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