May Parker is a character from Marvel Comics. May is Peter Parker's aunt and the widow of Ben Parker. She became the sole legal guardian of Peter after the deaths of his parents and her husband, who was shot by a crook that Peter did not stop. She is often seen as a mother figure to Peter and cares deeply for him, making it difficult for Peter to hide the fact that he's Spider-Man.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, May initially attempts to dissuade Peter from engaging criminals. After she discovers her nephew's double-life as Spider-Man, she grows supportive of his vigilantism, and becomes one of Peter's most valued allies since. May acts as Peter's moral compass, helping to guide him towards a life of selflessness through a mantra of responsibility; something she affirmed to him even when all seemed hopeless, thanks to the Green Goblin.
Aunt May was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
In Civil War, she is visited by Tony Stark, who is looking to recruit Peter under the pretense of a grant. In a post-credits scene, she tends to Peter's injuries, unaware of his dual identity.
Aunt May also appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where she acts as a major source in Peter's life. She is concerned about the crimes Spider-Man foils being close to their home. She comforts him after he loses his "Stark Internship" and later helps him when he acquires a date for the homecoming dance. At the end of the film, she finds Peter wearing his Spider-Man suit and reacts in shock.
Though she does not appear in Avengers: Infinity War, the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home reveal that she was eliminated by Thanos's snap.
In Avengers: Endgame, May is resurrected by Professor Hulk alongside the victims of Thanos's snap. She attends Tony Stark's funeral alongside her resurrected nephew.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, she not only is aware that her nephew is Spider-Man but also supports him as his alter-ego. May is hosting a charity event for the homeless that were dusted after Thanos' snap, along with Peter disguised as Spider-Man. May is later seen encouraging Peter to take his Spider-Man suit with him him to Europe and puts it in his suitcase after he refuses. During the time that Peter is away on his school trip, Aunt May gets closer to Happy Hogan, who is helping her out at the shelter. May is later seen speaking with Peter about his plan to win Michelle Jones's heart, clearly aware about her nephew's crush. May (in a deleted scene) comes to the airport a week later, after the school trip ends, to pick her nephew up. Back at their apartment, Peter asks May and Happy if they are dating and while Happy says they are, May denies it saying it wasn't a serious relationship but more of a fling.
Aunt May is mentioned in the fifth episode, "What If... Zombies!?", by Peter who says he has lost her along with Uncle Ben, Tony and Happy, which implies that she died and became a zombie, although she was never seen.
Aunt May returns in this film, having to deal with her nephew's identity having been exposed to the world. May helps Peter when he tries to fix the villains before sending them back to their universe's. In the end, she was killed by the Green Goblin, while trying to save her nephew from the villain. In her final moments, she tells Peter "With great power, there must also come great responsibility". Peter doesn't take May's death well as he tries to kill the Green Goblin as revenge before he is stopped by an alternate version of himself and Peter is later seen visiting May's grave.
Aunt May will return in this show, set before the events of Captain America: Civil War.
Marvel Animated Universe
Aunt May is a recurring character in the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series, voiced by Misty Lee.
Like her Ultimate comic book counterpart, this version of Aunt May is considerably younger and less frail than her traditional portrayal. She is shown to be involved in various hobbies such as yoga and cooking classes, which allowed Peter to sneak out of the house without arousing suspicion. In "Attack of the Beetle", she was asked out to dinner by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson (who Nick Fury assigned to be the acting principal of Peter's school). Near the end of Season 3, she reveals she has always known that Peter was Spider-Man, but despite her knowledge, she thinks that nothing has changed between them.
Though she does not appear in this crossover, Spider-Man mentions her in the title sequence by complaining, "Aunt May, Phineas and Ferb are making a crossover!"
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe version of May is the third portrayal of the character in Marvel's cinematic history. May was previously portrayed by Rosemary Harris and Sally Field in Sony's two Spider-Man film series. She was also voiced by Lily Tomlin in the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
- Marisa Tomei has previously acted alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the films Only You and Chaplin. This may possibly be the reason why Tony Stark is attracted to her, as a call back to the former.
- Tomei's casting, at her early 50s, was criticized as fans believed she was too young and attractive to play Aunt May. Kevin Feige has stated that being in her 50s makes her realistically old enough to be Peter's aunt, as most of her incarnations are depicted as elderly.
- Nancy Linari reprises her role as Aunt May in the non-Disney related 2018 Spider-Man video game.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming marks the first time in a Spider-Man film that Aunt May finds out Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
- Originally, after the release of Avengers: Infinity War, directors Joe and Anthony Russo claimed that May survived Thanos's snap. However, Spider-Man: Far From Home instead reveals that May was disintegrated by Thanos.
- The casting crew for Captain America: Civil War wanted Aunt May to be younger as they didn't think it was right for Peter Parker to have an elderly aunt when he was just a teenager.
- Although she and Ben are not physically seen, May can be heard in Iron Man 2 during the Stark Expo battle. Not long before Iron Man saves a young Peter Parker, May and Ben are heard shouting Peter's name. While it is possible the people shouting his name could be his parents, both of Peter's parents are known to have died before 2010 and Iron Man 2 takes place in 2009.
- She wasn't a fan of Tony Stark at the time of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home reveals that May has been working at F.E.A.S.T since returning from the blip, something that Aunt May from the 2018 video game also did. This is a reference to her comic book counterpart who was first seen working there during the "Brand New Day" event.
- The irony is both May Parker's died by two Spider-Man villains: in Aunt May from the video game (2018) : She died due to a virus caused by Doctor Octopus. While the MCU died by Green Goblin, both are later shown Spider-Man's face to Aunt May.
- May says "with great power, there must also come great responsibility" in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is usually said by Ben Parker.
- Marisa Tomei said she would like to reprise the role as May Parker via the Multiverse.
- The quote "When you help someone, you help everyone" is writen on May's gravestone in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was also featured in the 2018 video game on that version's Aunt May's gravestone.
- "‘No Way Home’ and the Tragedy of Spider-Man". The Hollywood Reporter (December 29, 2021).
- "Marisa Tomei Teases Plans for Aunt May's Future After Spider-Man: No Way Home". The Direct (March 20, 2022).