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Tom Holland Says Iron Man Is Peter Parker's New Uncle Ben Figure

Poor Peter Parker just doesn't have good luck with father figures.

In a recent interview, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home star Tom Holland opened up about Peter Parker's relationship with the late Tony Stark, whom he had come to look up to after the (presumed) death of his Uncle Ben. (via Uproxx)

The demise of dear ol' Ben after Peter failed to stop the crook who would be responsible for the crime is a well-known part of Spider-Man lore, having first been depicted in the character's debut appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. Previous film incarnations of Spidey have always prominently featured the narrative beat; Tobey Maguire's Peter sobbed over the body of Cliff Robertson's Uncle Ben, while Andrew Garfield's version of the wall-crawler mourned the loss of an uncle who happened to look a whole lot like Martin Sheen.

Marvel Studios, however, famously adopted a novel strategy when introducing Spider-Man to the MCU. Head honcho Kevin Feige and company figured (rightly) that movie audiences were more than familiar with Parker's origin story, in particular the devastating death of the man who counseled him that with great power... see? We didn't even have to finish that sentence, because you and everyone else knows the rest. 

As such, web-head was introduced fully formed in Captain America: Civil War, at a time when he'd already been operating as a costumed hero for six months. That flick saw Parker give a beautifully written, sort of-reverse version of Ben's old adage to Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), who had come to solicit his assistance with a certain Cap-related problem. "When you can do the things that I can, but you don't," the youngster said, "and then the bad things happen... they happen because of you."

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Parker made a very brief reference to "everything [Aunt May had] been through," but that is the only time the tragic Uncle Ben incident has even been vaguely alluded to in the MCU so far, and the character wasn't even mentioned by name. According to Holland, Stark's heroic sacrifice will serve as the same kind of impetus for self-examination that Ben's death served for previous film Spider-Men.

"I think he probably was [Peter's new Uncle Ben figure]," the actor said. "I think he probably was, you know? I think [Stark] very, very much took on the mantle as his father figure, and losing him is a huge blow to Peter Parker, obviously. And that's what's so nice about Mysterio kind of flying in, is that he can fill those shoes a little bit and be Peter Parker's mentor and his big brother at the same time."

Ah, yes. The trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home have hinted that Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), the interdimensional traveler who shows up to help fight the elemental monsters that (allegedly) destroyed his world, will at least initially function as a kind of Stark surrogate. Of course, those of us who are familiar with Mysterio's characterization in the comics know that his main "superpowers" are misdirection and deception, and we are therefore of the opinion that the MCU's version of the character may be similarly, well, full of it. If this is the case, though, Holland has so far managed to keep from spoiling it.

Holland went on to relate that his onscreen chemistry with Downey was so potent for a simple reason: he looks up to the actor in much the same way that Parker looked up to Stark. 

"It's a lovely dynamic and the dynamic is also the same off screen," he said. "I mean, we've become really close. We've become great friends and I ask him for advice and vice versa sometimes. And it's just become a really lovely relationship for me to have in the industry. Because, you know, as a young actor coming up in this world it can be very scary and it can be daunting. You can get bullied around. And it's nice to have someone who's got my back and who will give me some sound advice."

We don't know about you, but we find it incredibly sweet that Spidey and ol' Shellhead are just as close in real life as they are on the big screen. We're beginning to think that Marvel actors' contracts must have some kind of stipulation requiring them to fully embody the essence of their characters at all times, and if you're doubtful, you've never seen Holland execute a perfect flip and land in a splash panel-worthy Spider-Man pose. 

It stands to reason that Ben's killing might receive just a bit more than a passing reference at some point in the future, perhaps even in Far From Home — but we know for sure that the passing of Tony Stark will loom large over that film's proceedings, as Parker struggles with the prospect of filling the boots of the MCU's greatest hero. It's a heavy responsibility for a teenager with great power, but one line from the flick's trailer has us thinking that Parker will find a way to rise to it. As they're commiserating over the loss of their friend, Happy Hogan tells Parker, "I don't think Tony would've done what he did, if he didn't know that you were gonna be here after he's gone."

We're not crying, you're crying. Okay, we're crying.