Spider-Man: Homecoming brings Damage Control into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s been referenced before, but this is the first time we’re seeing the Tony Stark-founded U.S. Department of Damage Control in a film. After all, someone has to clean up the messes left behind by the Avengers and Spider-Man.
In Homecoming, Damage Control’s very existence plays a key role in the film. Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) founded the agency in 2012, after the Battle of New York seen in The Avengers. It put Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) out of business, and that inspired him to turn to a life of crime and become the Vulture. He provides leftover Chitauri technology (from the aliens the Avengers fought in the 2012 movie) to other criminals and it’s up to Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to stop them.
Damage Control debuted in Marvel Age Annual #4 in June 1988 and was created by writer Dwayne McDuffe and artist Ernie Colon. In the comics, Damage Control is a construction company founded by Anne Marie Hoag, the character Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacy, Judging Amy) plays in Homecoming. Tony co-owned the company with Wilson Fisk, also known as Kingpin. (He was played by Vincent D’Onofrio in the Netflix Daredevil series.)
Damage Control eventually became so popular that the team got its own miniseries by McDuffie and Colon. McDuffie wrote three four-issue miniseries about the team. There was also a 2008 miniseries called World War Hulk Aftersmash: Damage Control. It was the last time McDuffie wrote the team before he died in 2011 at age 49.
Back in October 2015, Deadline reported that ABC put in a put-pilot commitment for a TV sitcom based on Damage Control. The project was developed by Ben Karlin (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report). There hasn’t been any news on the project since then, but then-ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee teased a second Marvel comedy in January 2016.
Although we haven’t seen Damage Control at work in a MCU movie, there was a reference in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. As ScreenCrush notes, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) name-dropped Damage Control in an episode last year.
In an interview with Fandango, Homecoming director Jon Watts said Damage Control fit perfectly into the story he was telling. It was also a great way to bring in references from the other MCU movies.
As Watts explained to Fandango:
For me, in thinking about this movie, it just fit in with our overall philosophy with the kind of story we wanted to tell. In the same way that Peter gives us the ground-level view of what it’s like to be a 15-year-old kid in a New York City that was almost destroyed by aliens before the Avengers showed up. You also wonder after all those huge messes are made, who’s sent in to clean up? Is it the normal people who would be hired to do something like that? Does it become a government operation? Is it dangerous? What do you do with all the alien body parts that you find? I really like asking those practical questions about this world and then using that to drive the story.