Spider-Man: Homecoming characters with more meaning than you realized

Now that Spider-Man has come home to the MCU, longtime Marvel fans can rest easy. The new Spider-Man is a hit, and we're sure to see more of Tom Holland in the red and blue suit in the years to come. But while everyone knows about the importance of Peter Parker, Aunt May, and Adrian Toomes, there are lots of other characters hanging out in this movie who may prove to be much more important than you might've suspected. Strap in, nerds, and let's chat about the characters from Spider-Man: Homecoming with more meaning than you realized.

Oh, and do you feel that tingling? That's your Spidey Sense warning you about the Spidey Spoilers about to fly at your eyeballs.


When Zendaya was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, speculation ran rampant that she'd be playing Peter Parker's longtime love interest, Mary Jane Watson. However, the movie's producers decided that Zendaya would play a new character, named Michelle, who was definitely not Mary Jane. Zendaya herself even denied it! Of course, at the end of the movie, we find out that Michelle's friends call her "MJ," and the circle is now complete. Zendaya is MJ … but not Mary Jane? Okay.

Anyway, the nonsense reveal of Michelle's true identity points to the coming importance for MJ in Peter Parker's life. As fans of both the comics and the movies know, Peter and MJ's stories have been intertwined for years. She's first mentioned way, way back in 1964's Amazing Spider-Man #15, and fans (and Peter) finally got a look at her face in Amazing Spider-Man #42 in 1966. As the years went on, MJ became Peter's on-again, off-again girlfriend. In the '80s, she took their relationship to the next level when she revealed that she'd figured out his secret identity in Amazing Spider-Man #257. There were more than a few hints in Homecoming that seemed to indicate MJ has feelings for Peter — and might even know his secret.

Eventually, Peter and Mary Jane married in 1987's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. Twenty years later, in the critically divisive One More Day storyline, Peter literally sold his marriage to Mary Jane to the devil to keep his old, decrepit Aunt May from croaking after she was shot by bad guys.

Needless to say, this new movie MJ has a lot of weird times to look forward to.


Ned Leeds in the comics doesn't much resemble the Ned we got in Homecoming. Leeds started out as a Daily Bugle reporter back in the 1960s and soon became a romantic rival for Peter. Both of the guys were interested in the same girl — Betty Brant — and eventually Peter backed off, while Ned and Betty wound up getting married. Alas! The union was not meant to last because the villain known as Hobgoblin straight up brainwashed Ned into becoming another Hobgoblin, all in an effort to have a fall guy who could take the blame if the good guys got too close. Eventually, Leeds would get murdered by some forgettable assassin named the Foreigner. Poor, dead Ned.

But that's not all! Many fans have pointed out that the Ned we get in the movie bears a strong resemblance to Ganke Lee, the best friend of Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales. It's not entirely clear why the movie's producers decided to smoosh these two characters together into one. But if he turns out to have more in common with his namesake than his lookalike, our friend Ned better watch out for brainwashing machines. Seriously.

Aaron Davis

On the subject of Ultimate versions of characters, Donald Glover plays Aaron Davis, who gets mixed up with Adrian Toomes and his gang of super-weapon salvagers. In the comics, that name belongs to the Prowler, who happens to also be the uncle of Miles Morales. In fact, it's because of the Prowler's extra-legal shenanigans that Miles gets his spidery powers. In Homecoming, Davis's interest is piqued when he hears about the climbing gear on offer from the Shocker, and also mentions later that he's got a nephew in the city he cares about. So don't be surprised to see Davis make a comeback in a future installment of the cinematic Spider-Man franchise — right along with the movie version of fan-favorite Miles Morales.

Mac Gargan

Spider-Man's had a lot of villains over the years, and few have been as persistent as Mac Gargan. Originally, Mac assumed the identity of the costumed bad guy Scorpion. Fun fact: the Scorpion was the result of mad science gone wrong, all bankrolled by Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Because Mac got stuck in the Scorpion suit, he's long held a grudge against Jameson as well as Spider-Man. Years later, he bonded with the alien symbiote that tried to eat Peter Parker back in the '80s to become the new Venom. The partnership didn't last too long, and eventually ol' Mac went back to being the Scorpion. Considering he has a scorpion tattoo and considering he appeared in the ferry scene (he's the guy on the left in the image above) and during the mid-credits scene in the prison, chances seem good that he'll be back with a much larger role to play in a Spider-sequel.

Flash Thompson

It wouldn't be a Spider-Man movie without Flash Thompson, longtime foil for Peter Parker and longtime fan of Spider-Man. Interestingly, a lot's changed for Flash in the comics since he made his way to the big screen back in Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man flick. Flash has since become a war hero, lost his legs in combat, and become Agent Venom, fueled by the same alien symbiote that once possessed both Peter Parker and Mac Gargan, not to mention his usual host of Eddie Brock. That symbiote really gets around.

Anyway, with Sony's Venom movie in production with Tom Hardy in the lead role, as well as a new Flash Thompson in the mix, it's possible we'll see more of Flash in the not-too-distant future.


One of the interesting aspects of Spider-Man's villains is that a lot of folks have gone by the same bad guy name. There have been all kinds of goblins, both Green and Hob, as well as a bunch of different Venoms, Kravens, and even Kangaroos. Homecoming seems to have embraced this philosophy, giving us not one but two dudes filling the role of Shocker.

What's interesting, though, is the fact that one of them — the first one, named Jackson Brice — is actually yet another longtime Spider-Man character, who goes by the name Montana and is a member of the Kingpin's group of goons known as the Enforcers. What's less interesting, however, is Montana himself, who, like, has a lasso and wears a cowboy hat. And he's from Montana. That's it. Montana sucks. And that's why he bites the big one in the movie.

Meanwhile, Herman Schultz takes on the vibro-knuckles as the second Shocker, and he just so happens to have the same name of the Shocker character from the comics. Sadly for him, while he's a mainstay of Spider-Man's rogues gallery, Shocker's never really been an A-list villain. That's just kinda what happens when your costume consists of a brown V-neck that goes down to your crotch and a yellow quilt on your face. Unsurprisingly, Herman Schultz ends up getting taken down by nerdy Ned and is promptly webbed to a school bus and forgotten about for the rest of the film. That's a pretty perfect representation of the Shocker right there.

Betty Brant

She didn't have much of a role in the film, but Peter's Daily Bugle pal Betty Brant makes a few memorable appearances in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The blonde school news anchor is easy to spot, despite looking nothing like her brunette comics counterpart. Brant's been a longtime presence in the comics, first appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #4 as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary. She was also an occasional love interest for Peter, married poor Ned Leeds, and has even had a few tries at a relationship with Flash Thompson. But while she's maintained a somewhat steady presence in Spidey's life, she's been more or less on the sidelines in recent years.

The Tinkerer

Adrian Toomes' mechanically inclined hench-guy (on the left in the image above) is Phineas Mason — better known in the comics by his villainous alter ego, the Tinkerer. So yeah, as far as intimidating super-villain names go, the Tinkerer isn't that good. But it's still better than Paste-Pot Pete, right? And Stilt-Man. Everyone's better than Stilt-Man.

On the subject of Stilt Man, the guy responsible for upgrading his suit in the comics just happens to be our friend the Tinkerer. He first appeared all the way back in 1963's Amazing Spider-Man #2 and was hired by Mysterio to help fake an alien invasion. Since then, he's hung around in the background of the Marvel Universe, inventing gadgets and upgrading devices for plenty of bad guys. That includes dudes like the Scorpion, the Grizzly, and the aforementioned Stilt-Man. Because, seriously, you can never have too much Stilt-Man.

Anne Marie Hoag

So you're probably thinking, "Anne Marie Hoag? Who's that? There was a woman with that name in this movie?" While she might not have had a very big role compared with, say, Tony Stark or Happy Hogan, IMDb definitely lists a character named Anne Marie Hoag. So who is she? She was that mean lady who headed up Damage Control, the government task force that scooped the Battle of New York cleanup out from Adrian Toomes and his crew. Damage Control is a real part of Marvel Comics, making its first appearance in 1989's Marvel Comics Presents #19. Hoag is the director and owner of the company — which, in the comics, isn't quite the same kind of official government entity as it appears to be in Homecoming. Regardless, both Damage Controls clean up after superhero smackdowns in the Marvel Universe — and the fact that such a formerly obscure element from the comics has made its way to the silver screen is undeniably amazing.