Breakups are hardest on the kids, and with the recent news that Sony and Disney have yet to reach a deal to keep Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans are worrying about their favorite characters.
Some are concerned about Tom Holland’s future in the “Spider-Man” films, while others think this means Uncle Ben could be brought back just to be killed off again. But even with all the hoopla about the Sony/Disney situation, there’s one character who seems to be getting lost in the mix.
What about the kid from “A Christmas Story”? First, he had to deal with crummy Ovaltine commercials, and now this? Ralphie is the real victim here.
OK, sure, a lot of people may not know actor Peter Billingsley, formerly the cherubic, bespectacled Ralphie from “A Christmas Story,” was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all, but, quietly, he’s been there from the start.
Billingsley served as a producer on 2008’s “Iron Man,” the movie that kicked off the MCU, and made a cameo as a character named William, a Stark employee who gets chewed out by Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane.
Here’s Billingsley IRL:
And here he is when Jeff Bridges yells at him:
Though William’s contributions to Stark Industries were clearly overlooked, and the “Iron Man” cameo was brief, the character had an impact on “Spider-Man: Far From Home” director Jon Watts. Billingsley’s character was brought back as one of the disgruntled former Stark employees trying to orchestrate attacks in “Far From Home” to build Mysterio’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) reputation as the ultimate superhero.
Ahead of the July premiere of his latest “Spider-Man” film, Watts told HuffPost about bringing back William/Billingsley as an antagonist, which came down to dealing with the fallout from Tony Stark’s death.
“It was just sort of a way to explore this idea of what happens when someone like that dies. There’s a level of grief and something that Peter Parker’s dealing with, but then there’s also this opportunistic side of people that crops up in times of tragedy, and it gave me a reason to go back and just look at all the ‘Iron Man’ stories in the MCU through a different perspective.”
For a callback to Billingsley’s “Iron Man” scene, the director said the production team had to recreate the shot, complete with a Jeff Bridges body double, because the particular angle used in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” didn’t exist.
“It was really surreal for Peter Billingsley,” Watts said, “because he was also one of the producers on ‘Iron Man.’ He was there from the very beginning.”
The director talked about initially telling the actor the idea, saying, “He couldn’t believe that we would be bringing his character back, but once he saw how it all fit together, he loved it. And he’s so much fun to work with. It was a treat.”
In the MCU, Billingsley’s character is still at large and is seemingly the one who leaks a doctored video framing Spider-Man for Mysterio’s crimes to the Daily Bugle.
In July, the actor told Vulture, “Who knows, maybe William Ginter Riva will live again to fight another day.”
Sadly, as long as there’s a rift between Sony and Disney, it seems William, and several other minor characters, will be unjustly put on the back burner once again.
Funnily enough, when talking about why “Home” was in the titles of all his “Spider-Man” movies (“Homecoming” and “Far From Home”), Watts told us, “It just felt like the right thing to do, and now I feel like we got to do it again,” even joking that the next one could be called, “Homeless.”
You might’ve spoken too soon, dude.