Monday, March 4, 2013

The Richard Parker Question

The other day I finally got around to seeing Life of Pi. It was mesmerizing, to say the least. I went away wondering about the Tiger and Pi. The metaphor vs the reality. The film definitely stayed with me.

The next day I was channel surfing when I came upon  The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). This movie has been on my watch list for a while because I'd missed it when it was playing in the theatres.

Lo and behold, I discovered that Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is the son of Richard Parker, who, along with Peter's mother, Mary, died in a plane crash. Young Peter was raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

Richard Parker. The same name given to the Bengal tiger in "Life of Pi."

Life of Pi was based on the novel by Yann Martel, published in 2001. The Spider-Man comics have been around since the 1950s, but I don't know if Richard Parker was part of the original story. When the first film was released in 2002, Richard Parker was mentioned briefly. Research suggests that Richard and Mary Parker may have been CIA agents. In the 2012 movie, Richard Parker was a genetics scientist.

So the bottom line is this: Did Yann Martel intentionally name the tiger Richard Parker after the fictional character in the Spider-Man comic book series? Or was it just a coincidence? If it was intentional, what is the significance?

It's also intriguing that Uncle Ben is also the name on a box of rice.


  1. These are chilling connections Luana. Could Spider-Man be the key to unlock the universe?! We'll have to wait and see.

  2. Maurice, thanks for stopping by! I guess there is more to Spider-Man than meets the eye.

  3. Great speculative post! Richard and Mary Parker got brought into the Spider-Man story in an Annual comic in the late 60's, so Martel might well have been inspired by the comics.

  4. Craig: Very interesting. Was she or wasn't she? hmmmm....

  5. Not to mention that the same actor is in both movies and says the name several times. Right?

  6. Not to mention that the same actor is in both movies and says the name several times. Right?

  7. They picked the same actor to say Richard Parker in Spiderman so that the question would take on a life of its own. And if you watched the movie to the end, we apparently haven't heard the last of Richard Parker. Who knows - maybe he'll come back in the sequel as a bengal tiger.