Star Trek IV Boombox Punk Moved To East Coast For Spider-Man: Homecoming

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"Well, double dumbass on you!"
"Well, double dumbass on you!" Paramount Pictures

Spider-Man: Homecoming was always meant as a nod of sorts to John Hughes and his 80s teen comedies. There’s even a whole sequence built around Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Director John Watts and co-writer John Francis Daley assigned the young cast 80s movies to watch. But among all the not-so-subtle John Hughes riffs, Spider-Man: Homecoming ’s most obscure reference belongs to a very different type of movie, 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

When Star Trek IV opens, United Federation of Planets starships and soon Earth itself are menaced by an alien probe, attempting to communicate in a language no one can understand. Spock, perspicacious as ever despite having died two movies ago, realizes that the probe is speaking in the language of humpback whales. But humpback whales are extinct! This leaves the Enterprise crew no choice but to travel back in time to 1980s San Francisco in a captured Klingon Bird-of-Prey. There they get in many fish-out-of-water adventures, including this run-in with the burgeoning punk subculture:

That’s Spock assaulting a dude with a Vulcan nerve pinch because he’s listening to music too loud. And, if it weren’t get-off-my-lawn enough, Admiral James T. Kirk gets in some complaints about vulgarity, advising Spock, “Nobody pays attention to you, unless you swear every other word.” Unlike the 80s teen movies that most inspired Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Trek IV is clearly aimed at an older, Boomer audience who, by the 80s, had ascended into adulthood and begun to find the youth culture as alienating as their parents had.

Despite its graying cast and some gentle ribbing of the youth culture, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ’s utopian outlook and environmentalist message makes it an overwhelmingly positive and buoyant movie-watching experience. And must have struck a chord with someone working on Spider-Man: Homecoming, because the movie features a return cameo from Boombox Punk (credited as “Punk on bus”). Here he is:

Kirk Thatcher, Punk on bus and screenwriter of Muppets Treasure Island, confirmed it is indeed him, this time credited as “Punk on street.”

An interview with Thatcher at reveals that the cameo happened thanks to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. "I was having a meeting with the guys at Marvel and Kevin Feige had to leave early to catch a plane to New York for the last few days of shooting and wrap on Homecoming. I mentioned that I was going to New York too, only two days later. He got excited and asked if I would be interested in doing a cameo as a punk in Spider-Man?” Thatcher said. “It was really only about 48 hours from Wednesday afternoon when he asked if I was interested to Friday lunch time when we had finished shooting the scene!"

Thatcher even offered up a bit of fictional biography. It sounds like Punk has fallen on some hard times and partially bounced back.

It’s a little sad, honestly. The punk subculture emerged from working class disillusionment, with the children of blue-collar workers rebelling against the hypocrisy and authoritarianism of the ruling class. They rejected the elitist cultural scolding that insisted poverty and urban suffering was a product of how poor people behaved. Krash, our Punk on the street, has only moved further down the societal ladder, forced to replace the iconoclastic fight for world peace with a fight for survival. The utopian ideals he absorbed from the time-travelling Enterprise crew haven’t found any traction here. Krash is living what many are learning at this very moment: it’s possible to have a decade that sucks even more than the 80s.

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