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How The MCU Could Replace Spider-Man

Spider-Man isn't the most powerful superhero in the MCU and he hasn't sold the most tickets. Still, since coming home to Marvel Studios, Tom Holland's portrayal of Peter Parker and his web-swinging alter-ego have proven to be the heart and soul of the narrative, making it that much more heartbreaking that negotiation breakdowns between Marvel and Sony ended with Spidey leaving Marvel Studios' movies. 

Which leaves us to wonder who, if anyone, could replace Spider-Man in the MCU. The hero holds a unique spot in Marvel's pantheon. He's a science whiz, but one without the resources of the late Tony Stark. He's not a soldier, a god, king, or a former assassin. Peter Parker is a young, wisecracking, imperfect hero who refuses to back down. He loses lots of fights, he makes lots of mistakes, and in many ways he's the perfect Marvel everyman. 

Filling Spidey's webbed boots isn't going to be easy, but Marvel's got plenty of heroes waiting for their shot at the big screen and one of them just might be the answer to how the MCU could replace Spider-Man. 

Ms. Marvel could step up to fill the void

Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, has been "embiggening" herself all across the Marvel Universe ever since making her first cameo appearance in 2013's Captain Marvel #14. A Pakistani-American Muslim girl with incredibly versatile body-warping powers that allow her to stretch her arms for miles, or make fists the size the Buicks, Ms. Marvel has proven to be one of the most popular of Marvel's teenage heroes. 

Khan's already made a big name for herself outside of the comics. She's a playable character in both the mobile Contest of Champions game and one of the most oft-used avatars in LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes 2. She's currently a regular star in three Marvel comic book titles. There's her solo title Magnificent Ms. Marvel, she's the leader of the team in Champions, and Marvel recently started a new volume of Marvel Team-Up with Ms. Marvel as the lead. Fittingly, since we're talking about Spidey replacements, the first story arc of Marvel Team-Up includes Kamala and Peter having to deal with a Freaky Friday-like body switch. 

Whether she's there to replace Peter or not, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has confirmed Kamala Khan is on her way to the MCU. It's only a question of when.

Amadeus Cho has genius to surpass Peter Parker's

For over a decade the young, brilliant, and less-than-humble Amadeus Cho has grown from being a somewhat obscure figure in Marvel to one of its most recognizable heroes. First appearing in 2006's Amazing Fantasy #15, Cho is a genius whose mind works at the speed of a super computer, allowing him to achieve things that — from the outside — looks impossible. For example, when being pursued by a helicopter in his first appearance, Cho instantly calculates exactly how much to tilt the rearview mirror on his scooter to reflect a laser sight into the eye of the helicopter pilot — causing the pilot to swerve and the guy in the chopper firing a rocket at Cho to miss his target. 

In 2015, Cho upped his hero game and became the Totally Awesome Hulk after absorbing the gamma radiation from Bruce Banner. He joined the Champions, where he remains a regular member, though he lost most of his gamma power and has since renamed himself Brawn. 

Cho has the youth and the genius to replace Spider-Man, though he definitely doesn't suffer from an overabundance of humility. If he were around before Tony Stark died, he probably wouldn't be trying to just prove he could be an Avenger like Peter does for most of Spider-Man: Homecoming. More likely, he'd be trying to prove to Stark that he was smarter than the billionaire and that he should take over Stark's business.

Moon Knight could watch the streets

Moon Knight does not have the youthful optimism of Peter Parker. Nor, in many of his depictions, does he have a healthy degree of sanity.  The vigilante's "real" name depends on which of his multiple personalities is dominant — mercenary Marc Spector, the rich Steven Grant, or taxi driver Jake Lockley. While his violence doesn't reach the level of the more murderous vigilantes like Punisher, he certainly isn't as forgiving as Spider-Man. 

But Moon Knight and Spider-Man do have the setting of New York City's streets in common. Like Spidey, Moon Knight isn't usually the kind of hero who blasts off into the stars or to other dimensions. Moon Knight usually sticks to the streets, though his adventures can often have a much more supernatural flavor than Spidey's.

There are also some nice coincidences that would make Moon Knight's replacement of Spider-Man a wonderful example of synchronicity. First, when Marvel Comics had their 2018 Infinity Wars line-wide event which includes the creation of a universe where all the heroes are combinations of Marvel heroes — e.g. instead of Ghost Rider and Black Panther, the new universe has Ghost Panther — it was Moon Knight that Spider-Man fused with to create the Arachknight. More recently, there's the rumor that Marvel is looking to cast Andrew Garfield — who played Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel — to play Moon Knight. Given that there's a Moon Knight series on its way at Disney+, we should know more soon.

America Chavez could make the country proud

Originally known as Miss America, America Chavez first appeared in the 2011 miniseries Vengeance. She later joined the Young Avengers and perhaps gained the most notoriety during the 2015 line-wide event Secret Wars when she was part of the all-female A-Force. America got her own ongoing series after that, and joined the Ultimates. Among other things, she may be exactly what the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs right now. 

America is one of the most powerful heroes in Marvel. She can fly, she has super-strength, but her most interesting power is the ability to travel between dimensions — something that would be useful in stories with a stronger focus on Marvel's multiverse. She's a funny, resolute and unyielding hero and on the outside she's exactly the opposite of what we're used to. America is a lesbian raised by a gay couple; when her ongoing series America launched in 2017, she became the first queer person of color to lead her own ongoing solo title in Marvel. 

Nova could bring the Parker spirit to the stars

Nova is a character MCU watchers have speculated about ever since 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. More recently the name's sprung up after Joe Russo joked about the hero secretly appearing in the final battle of Avengers: Endgame. The cosmic hero is a member of the Nova Corps which, in the comics, originates on Xandar — the planet the Guardians save from Ronan in their first film. In the comics the Corps is kind of an intergalactic police force, somewhat similar to the Green Lantern Corps of DC Comics. 

There are a couple of comic book candidates who could appear on the big screen. There's Marvel's earliest Nova, Richard Rider, and the younger Sam Alexander who took up the mantle in the 2013 Nova series. 

While Alexander is younger, both heroes share a strong "Peter Parker in space" vibe. While either offers a very different and more cosmic setting than what we're used to in Spider-Man films, they're similar to Parker in their youth, the responsibility they shoulder, and how often they're forced to push themselves beyond their limits to do what they know needs to be done. 

X-23 would be more violent than Peter, and just as uncompromising

If you saw 2017's Logan, then you may remember his daughter Laura or, as she's better known in the comics, X-23. The young hero is just as fierce in the comics as she is in the film, though usually at least a little bit more talkative. 

X-23 doesn't have a ton in common with Spider-Man, but there are similarities in at least some of the right places. She's young, she knows what it's like to feel the pressure to live up to an older and more accomplished hero, and even though you wouldn't think it to look at her, a lot of her more recent stories were laced with lovable humor. 

In her most recent solo title which recently concluded after 12 issues, X-23 shared most of her adventures with her sister/clone Gabby, a.k.a. Scout. Along with being much bubblier than her older sister, Gabby actually boasts a sidekick who is literally a wolverine named Jonathan. 

Ironheart could be the next Iron Man

In Spider-Man: Far from Home, there's a lot of talk about whether Peter Parker can be the new Iron Man. Well, in the comics Tony Stark already has a successor — and she's pretty awesome. 

Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, first appeared in 2016's Invincible Iron Man #7, and circumstances led her to fill the void Tony Stark left when he fell into a coma during the Marvel line-wide event Civil War II. Certified a genius at a young age, Riri uses her genius to build her own Iron-Man-type suit after her best friend and stepfather are killed by drive-by shooters. 

But Ironheart didn't disappear when Tony Stark returned. She's a member of the Champions and has her own solo title where she isn't within a mile of Iron Man's shadow. Like Parker, Riri Williams has genius, youth, and a tragic past that helps push her to be the most she can be. As a woman of color, her addition to the MCU would go a long way to proving Marvel Studios' commitment to diverse representation. 

She-Hulk could wrestle some of the same demons as Peter

It's a stretch, but hear us out. 

In April 2019, a rumor made the rounds that She-Hulk and her more well-known cousin the Incredible Hulk would be getting a team-up miniseries on the Disney+ streaming service — one that was confirmed when Disney announcedShe-Hulk series at D23 in August.

On the surface, these two don't have a lot in common. Spider-Man's a street-level hero who jumps around and sticks to walls, while She-Hulk is a powerhouse who knocks down walls. Spider-Man's a high school student while Jennifer Walters is an accomplished lawyer. One thing both characters tend to have in common in the comics, however, is they're both hilarious. In fact, in the comics both have enjoyed fan-favorite runs by the same writer — Dan Slott. They both wrestle with how to juggle their normal lives with their more "super lives" (showing up in court on time can be challenging when you occasionally turn into a giant green woman and tear apart half of Manhattan fighting villains). And of course they both potentially will need to deal with living in the shadow of an older, more seasoned hero — both of whom are world-class geniuses. 

Gravity has Peter's drive

If you need to replace Spider-Man, why not someone who was based on Spider-Man?

Greg Willis first appears in his own 2005 miniseries. After he gains the power to manipulate gravity, Greg moves from Wisconsin to prove himself as a superhero. Like his inspiration Spider-Man, Gravity doesn't do too well his first couple of times at bat. In his first fight, for example, he mistakenly fights the hero Rage and lets the villain — Black Death — escape. 

Gravity never made a particularly big splash in Marvel and he's remained a D-lister for a while, last seen in the most recent volume of Young Avengers. Still, the fact that the MCU made the Guardians of the Galaxy household names tells us popularity in the comics and on the big screen are two very different animals. His biggest weakness as far as replacing Spider-Man is concerned is that, thematically, he may be a little bit too much like Spidey. But then again, the fact that he's a small-town boy in the big, bad city might make enough of a difference to sell him as the new Marvel everyman.