Fair warning - spoilers about Spider-Man: Homecoming - specifically one of the film's post-credits scenes - are discussed in this article. Turn back now if you're avoiding spoilers.
Last chance to avoid spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
If you've seen Homecoming - and stayed for the stingers - you're aware that in the mid-credits scene, Toomes is confronted by Mac Gargan (a.k.a. the Scorpion in comic books), a former client for Toomes' advanced weapons who was also imprisoned because of Spider-Man from the previous ferry scene.
Gargan tells Toomes he heard a rumor that he knows Spidey's secret identity - which he does, having discovered it prior to their final battle - but Toomes lies and says if he knew who Spider-Man was, he'd already be dead. So why would the guy who just threatened to kill Peter's whole family protect him?
Director Jon Watts has an answer - and it all comes back to the moment at the film's climax when Peter saves Toomes from the wreckage of his Vulture gear.
“That’s what is cool - he gets a moment of redemption and he gets to protect Peter, even though Peter would never know,” Watts told Entertainment Weekly of Toomes protecting Peter's identity. “It’s his way of saying thank you.”
“It was a really interesting thing in the development of the story,” Watts continued. “You couldn’t just rely on the tropes of the villain being a murderer and killing a bunch of people. He had to be redeemable in some capacity in the end and that he believes everything he said, especially about his family. So it was a really fine walk to create a villain that still has that moment of redemption in the end.”
Watts says that this relationship between Peter and Toomes is the crux of the film - in his words, the most important aspect of the story.
“Those scenes with [Toomes] and Peter in the house, where he’s driving Peter to the dance - that right there is the reason for doing the movie,” Watts confessed. “That, more than anything else, is what I was looking forward to, and I got to have a lot of fun shooting that stuff.”
And as for whether Toomes could come back - there's a definitive answer.
“Toomes definitely could come back,” Watts revealed.
While Holland has been confirmed to reprise his role for the already-announced Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, neither Keaton or Watts have been confirmed for involvement.