Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming was always going to have a major character in the movie that would tie the Sony-owned character back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it wasn’t always going to be Iron Man. Director Jon Watts has recently revealed that he was originally planning on having S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury serve as a mentor to Spider-Man.
Watts briefly noted to io9 that during the brainstorming stage of the project, he visualized Samuel L. Jackson’s take on Fury as having a role in the second reboot of the standalone Spider-Man film series. He briefly noted the following when recalling the early development of the film:
“I don’t know what the situation would be, but [Fury] would be a person [that Peter would] want to get in trouble with.”
However, the powers that be suggested that Iron Man appear as the primary influence from the Marvel side instead, and Watts completely agreed, meaning that Fury was written out of the movie. While there seems to be a bit of a backlash against Tony Stark’s Golden Avenger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following Iron Man 3 – with some fans feeling he’s taking the spotlight away from more deserving characters, and others going so far as to state that Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming aren’t respectively Captain America or Spider-Man movies just because he’s in them – the decision to use the character is completely understandable.
First off, Captain America: Civil War already set up a major character dynamic between Iron Man and Spider-Man, something that Avengers: Infinity War is going to follow up on. Then, there’s the fact that Iron Man is more synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Samuel L. Jackson is, and this movie being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all is a pretty big deal. After that, there’s the simple fact that Iron Man is a very lucrative character at the box office, with the past four movies the character has been in (The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War) all grossing more than a billion dollars worldwide – which, if the trend continues through Spider-Man: Homecoming, would be of great relief to the struggling Sony Pictures, who have had several disappointing years at the box office recently. Finally, the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man already heavily pushed the Nick Fury/Spider-Man dynamic, and as such it would probably be for the better that Marvel took their character in a new direction as opposed to retreading old ground.
In any case, fans who are disappointed that Fury didn’t get to show up in Spider-Man: Homecoming should rest easy. There’s certainly room for Fury to show up in the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, as Jackson’s contract will not expire after the character appears in the next two Avengers movies, and it’s been confirmed that at least one other Marvel Studios character will appear in the movie instead of Iron Man (who apparently won’t be in the movie at all).
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017. The film features a cast that includes Tom Holland as Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Zendaya Coleman as Michelle, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Tony Revolori as “Flash” Thompson, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan, Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz (Shocker), and Michael Chernus as Phineas Mason (Tinkerer).