Lilian Min
February 11, 2015 2:34 pm

Even if you aren’t a huge comic book fan, you know who Spider-Man is. The red-and-blue Spandex suit; the upside-down kiss with Mary Jane Watson; the five movies already made about the character.

Hold up: what? That’s right — even though most of our now-familiar supes have recently suited up for two or three films, Spider-Man has been on the big screen five times over the past thirteen years. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield both had star-making turns as the iconic character, but as they’ve grown up, the character has too.

Sony Pictures, which had the rights to the character and released all five of the aforementioned films, and Marvel Studios, which booted the superhero movie genre into high gear (from Iron Man to Guardians of the Galaxy), recently cut a deal to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and with it, to release a slew of new Spidey films. And the first movie is going to be tackling something scary that we can all relate to: high school.

And Spidey isn’t just going back to high school in the literal, that’s-the-actual-plot-of-the-movie sense. His transition to the Marvel world is actually a lot like going to high school IRL. Not seeing it? Let us break it down:

He’s going to a new school…figuratively speaking.

Despite being a Marvel comics character, the film rights for Spider-Man went on sale in 1985 and landed at Sony Pictures. Since then, the studio has basically been making the same films over and over again: origin story, hopeless crush-turned-romance, big bad villains. Now that he’s part of the MCU, Peter Parker has the entire world, nay, universe, to explore. What makes it a bigger deal is that he has the potential to link up with some of pop culture’s biggest names (more on that later).

Take out the supernatural elements, and that sounds a lot like high school. High school is a milestone — for many people, this is their introduction into the upper- and lowerclassmen dynamics, as well as a much bigger course catalog. It’s totally overwhelming and exciting at the same time, and totally changes the way you’ll feel about yourself and your place in the world.

He has to focus on keeping the drama down.

Previous movie versions of Spider-Man went to high school, but the bigger focus was on just about everything else (especially as the special effects budgets grew). No more of that: the new film will keep the focus on student Spidey and his goings-ons at Midtown High School as he struggles with house parties, homework, and fitting in on top of his web-slinging duties.

It’s tempting to let the myth of high school social life (or fighting bad guys) take precedent over its reality, but make sure you don’t lose sight of yourself in the process. We’re not saying you should keep your head permanently wedged in your textbooks; but definitely don’t get swept up with all the drama and bad vibes that will head your way.

He has to make a name for himself.

The word on the street is that neither Maguire nor Garfield are suiting up as Spider-Man again this time around. Since the movie will be casting younger, that’ll make those former Spidey vets de facto older brothers. On top of escaping their shadows, the new Spider-Man will have to carve a niche in both the MCU universe and in the hearts of movie-goers who are now on their third iteration of the superhero.

As any younger sibling knows, it’s tough to go to a school and have people already know “of” you (think of the Weasleys in the Harry Potter series). Regardless of your sibling status or overall reputation, high school is a place where you can choose to stand out or blend in as much as you want — as long as you aren’t trying to be anyone else but yourself.

He might want to change his identity completely.

While actors like Logan Lerman and Dylan O’Brien are being considered for high school Peter Parker, there’s the possibility that Marvel might want to adapt an entirely new Spider-Man for the movies — namely, Miles Morales. The half-black, half-Latino Spidey made his debut in 2011, and has been a fan favorite since then. While there’s still no definitive word on which Spider-Man Marvel will want to fold into the MCU, Morales is reportedly in the running, which would add some welcome color into their line-up (even as the studio pushes Black Panther back).

In that vein, high school is a time where you can experiment with your identity to the point of overhauling it. It won’t be anything as drastic as literally becoming a different person, but you will find yourself navigating the weird world of high school activities and archetypes, and find yourself accepting or rejecting them in bits and pieces. However you evolve, just stay true to the core of yourself, whether it means defending NYC or defending your taste in music.

He’ll be making a lot of new friends.

Say it with me now: Spider-Man in the Avengers! Comic Spidey has been an integral part of the Avengers team, but with Sony and Marvel coming together, Spider-Man can finally interact with all of the characters in the MCU universe. (This is particularly relevant for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film.)

High school is a similar untapped universe of friendships and acquaintances. While you’ll always have your childhood besties, you’ll be regularly interacting with people outside of your direct age group for the first time ever. Sure, it’s sad to see your senior friends go, but you won’t regret those friendships.

He’ll be facing pressure about his future.

Case in point: as soon as the Spider-Man Sony/Marvel deal went through, the Internet went crazy trying to figure out what that meant for future MCU releases, as well as who would pick up the Spider-Man mantle. Whoever takes on both the acting and directing leads for the first Spider-Man film will be thrust into the international spotlight; and the heat is on until the film comes out on July 28, 2017.

High school isn’t quite as intense as leading a new branch of a multi-billion dollar franchise, but it sure can feel that way sometimes. Between teachers, parents, and friends fretting about your college/not-college prospects, the post-high school timeline starts to sharpen into focus as soon as you start your first day of freshman year. Unlike the new Spider-Man cast and crew, you have to interact with your “helpful” critics, but in the end, you have to decide your fate for yourself — a sentiment every superhero would co-sign.

(Images via Sony, here, and here.)

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