Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Happy Friday, here's a depressing-ass theory about Spider-Man's parents

Fan theories can be extremely dumb. Many encourage a bad brand of viewership in which every unstated detail in every piece of narrative art is a mystery to be solved, and never merely appreciated as a piece of economical storytelling. This category tends to be very thinly sourced, putting far too much weight on non-load-bearing minor details. A whole swath of them are in the service of unnecessarily proving X property takes place in the same “universe” as Y property. Fan theories are, more often than not, bad. What separates this Spider-Man: Homecoming Reddit fan theory from the pack, however, is that it is also very depressing. That is because what this fan theory posits, as explained by Nerdist’s Dan Casey in the clip above, is that the current iteration of Spider-Man’s parents died in 9/11. Fun!


Yep, according to the theory, Spider-Man’s parents, Richard and Mary Parker, were killed not by, oh let’s say Red Skull, but instead by those most dastardly of MCU villains, uh, Osama Bin Laden and Mohamed Atta.

The evidence laid out by the Reddit poster is essentially A) by the timeline of the film Peter Parker, whose parents died when he was very young, should have been born in 2001 (convincing!), and B) that he has never been on a plane and has a pronounced fear of heights (less convincing!).

Of course, this theory also requires 9/11 to have explicitly happened within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because the MCU takes place in a world that is obviously to some extent based on our own, there are naturally some elements of the films that at least imply the existence of 9/11 (see: Tony Stark’s sketchy business dealings in Afghanistan, the lack of a World Trade Center in New York), but we also haven’t exactly seen Thor posting an ill-advised selfie at the 9/11 memorial either. There’s also the issue that the events of the first Avengers films would be in theory much worse than the events of 9/11 in terms of death toll, and the relationship your average MCU New Yorker might have with 9/11 would probably be much different from real life, which seems like a can of worms a writer might want to avoid explicitly opening.

All in all, it seems there’s not a lot of hard evidence to support the idea that the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place in the same timeline as the Al Qaeda extended universe, let alone the idea that Spider-Man’s parents were killed in 9/11. More to the point, this theory is just a big bummer and it’s a lot more fun to assume Spider-Man’s parents were killed by Magneto or whatever. Sorry Spidey! Why not check out this one where Wolverine fucked your mom instead?

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Contributor, The A.V. Club.