We’ll soon be entering Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We just saw the first teaser trailer for Captain America: Civil War and have seen a call for the heroes to become accountable for their actions and to play by the rules established by the government. There may have been a big comic book story arc with the same name, but there’s one thing that’s drastically different about the Cinematic Universe and the comic universe—no one really has a secret identity.
With just a handful of heroes, protecting their private lives doesn’t seem to be a big concern. Tony Stark couldn't wait to tell the world he was Iron Man. Scott Lang immediately revealed his identity in his first encounter with Sam Wilson in Ant-Man. Hawkeye sort of has a secret identity but more so has a secret family. The government and public may know that Clint Barton is shooting arrows with the Avengers but they don’t know he has a wife and kids. With Spider-Man being young and wanting to protect his aunt, he’ll definitely want to keep his identity secret.
Tom Holland commented on Spider-Man's secret identity in a recent interview.
“I think one of the most interesting things about Peter Parker for us is that he’s the only person in the MCU now that has a secret identity, so we all know who everyone else is. I think it’s quite interesting to go back to that hiding behind a mask.”
If we include the TV shows, we know this isn't exactly the case. Of the ones we’ve seen, Daredevil is pretty much the only hero with a secret identity. Matt Murdock wears a mask but almost seems like he’d easily jump into the action without his costume if necessary.
With Civil War, the concept of a secret identity could become a bigger idea. Daredevil seems to be concerned with sticking to Hell’s Kitchen. This way he might be able to avoid making the six o’clock news. Spider-Man’s always been in the public, especially with the Daily Bugle running pictures that Peter Parker takes and the slamming editorials by J. Jonah Jameson. Peter Parker will have more to lose. Matt Murdock may have Foggy and Karen to worry about but they had no problem sticking their necks out on the line in order to help bring down the Kingpin. Peter’s Aunt May won’t necessarily be in that same situation.
Spider-Man would clearly side with Captain America in not going by the government’s rules in registering to be a hero. This could lead to more costumed heroes popping up. Maybe Daredevil will make sure his identity doesn’t become public like it did in the comics. Perhaps Carol Danvers will want to make sure no one knows who she is when she becomes Captain Marvel (not too likely if she's military). Could we see more younger heroes emerge? Will the Terrigen Mists in the fish oil pills from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. give us Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel?
There’s still the question of how much of a connection will the movie universe have with the TV universe. Spider-Man may be in a shared part of the Cinematic Universe but he could be setting the groundwork for younger heroes. It's just a matter of will he cave into the pressure of signing on with the government if Tony Stark comes knocking on his door? It's always felt a little weird seeing all the heroes on the big screen have no concern over protecting their private lives when it's always been such a huge aspect of their comic book counterparts. Spider-Man joining the Cinematic Universe could bring about the idea of younger heroes and heroes actually keeping their masks on.
Do you think Spider-Man will be able to keep his identity a secret in the Cinematic Universe? Whose side do you think he'll go on?