- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[This story contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.]
It has almost become a game at this point for Marvel and Sony Pictures to pack as many Easter eggs and references into every new Spider-Man film as they can. With a character like Spider-Man, whose history is about to hit a 60-year milestone, there is a lot to pull from both as inspiration and to tease.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s multiverse set to explode after the events of Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home has tantalized audiences by being the first film to explore this uncharted live-action territory.
In my Easter eggs article on Spider-Man: Homecoming I called it a “Spider-Man film via remix” for its penchant to pull from such a wide variety of Spider-Man lore. Despite its European setting, Far From Home featured just as many hidden Easter eggs and references to the comics, leaning more toward the international and SHIELD side of things. But, for No Way Home, things are just a bit different … (SPOILERS to follow.)
Spider-Man: No Way Home might even challenge what we consider an Easter egg. Whole characters are plucked directly out of other films and universes. So yes, we’ve got villains from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man films, and we’ve even got Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprising their roles. Are those Easter eggs? I don’t even know what to think anymore.
So, here it is, my list of references and Easter eggs from Spider-Man: No Way Home. How many do you recognize? Let us know what we missed by tweeting to @HeatVisionBlog, and we’ll be sure to update the list if we think it is legit.
1. Rogers: The Musical
Let’s start with an example of what the MCU does so effortlessly. Right out of the gate, Spider-Man: No Way Home finds a way to tie into the nearly complete Disney+ Hawkeye show. As Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and MJ (Zendaya) swing through Times Square and Broadway, you can see a giant billboard for Rogers: The Musical. If you aren’t up on your Disney+ MCU lore, Rogers: The Musical is exactly what it sounds like, a slightly distasteful rendition of Steve Rogers’ story and the Blip as told through song and dance. An early review from Clint Barton indicates that he left the show during intermission.
Sure, this kind of Easter egg is a simple swap and replace, but it showcases another example of early synergy in the MCU between its television and theatrical products. And judging by No Way Home‘s post-credits trailer, it won’t be the last. Evil Doctor Strange from What If … ? anyone?
2. Michelle Jones “MJ” Watson
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, we met Zendaya’s Michelle Jones, later nicknamed “MJ” in the film’s finale. Some speculated at the time that she was based on the character of Michelle Gonzales from the comics, a roommate of Peter’s whom he had an on-again, off-again fling with, and that the “MJ” aside was just a throwaway joke for fans. (Though eagle-eyed observers might have noticed that just as Zendaya confirmed her “MJ” nickname, a tiger mascot can be seen walking through the hallways of Midtown School, a reference to Mary Jane Watson’s famous “Face it tiger … you just hit the jackpot” line that introduced her in the comics.)
No one knew quite how seriously to take the “MJ” nickname, considering this wasn’t the Mary Jane Watson we all knew as Spider-Man’s longtime love interest/girlfriend/wife/ex-wife/etc. But in Spider-Man: Far From Home, we got to see some of the more nuanced elements of Zendaya’s character that hinted at her backstory from the comics. It became clear that “MJ” wasn’t just a cheeky joke; Marvel was positioning Michelle Jones as a new, definitive take on the character.
This is further solidified in Spider-Man: No Way Home where we discover that her last name isn’t actually Jones. Her full name is “Michelle Jones Watson,” or MJ Watson, just like her comics counterpart.
3. Matt Murdock/Daredevil Is Spider-Man’s Lawyer
Get over your shock that Charlie Cox’s Daredevil is back and confirmed as the official Daredevil of the MCU — because he’s also Spider-Man’s lawyer! At least briefly. The same was true in the comics, specifically in Amazing Spider-Man No. 219, where Peter is arrested for breaking into jail. He’s later represented by Matt Murdock, who is unsuccessful at getting Peter out of jail time.
4. “Devil in Disguise”
As Peter pushes through a crowd of protestors, similar to a scene from Amazing Spider-Man No. 68’s “Crisis on Campus,” one holds a sign reading “Devil in Disguise.” This could be a reference to the fact that Spider-Man’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, is Daredevil in disguise, or a nod to Mephisto, the Marvel Universe’s literal devil. In the divisive comics storyline “One More Day,” it was Mephisto who offered Spider-Man a deal to undo his marriage to save the life of Aunt May (more on that later). This was a triggering event that culminated in Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) casting a spell to undo the fact that Peter Parker publicly revealed his identity on national television. Sound familiar?
When Peter and MJ are relaxing on the roof of their school and reading salacious tabloids speculating on Spider-Man’s abilities and crimes, behind them is a work of graffiti that reads “DITKO.” That’s the surname of artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator (with Stan Lee) of both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, who co-star here, as well as all of the villains in this movie: the Green Goblin, Sandman, Electro, Doctor Octopus and the Lizard. Ditko’s unique brand of strange, sometimes off-putting art has been the basis and inspiration for countless characters, and no other Spider-Man artist has come anywhere close to inventing as many lasting villains as he has.
6. Doctor Strange Team-Up
Spider-Man and Doctor Strange aren’t strangers to a good team-up. Over the years they’ve been featured in a number of comic stories together, likely due to the fact that they share co-creators. Ditko was never a fan of Spider-Man teaming up with other superheroes when he illustrated the books. His collaborator Lee saw things differently and frequently pushed for the characters in Marvel’s books to cross over into each other’s stories. Eventually, Ditko relented in Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 2, where Spider-Man and Doctor Strange teamed up for the first time to fight Xandu!
7. Spider-Man’s Seduction Powers
One of the tabloid articles that MJ reads suggests that Spider-Man has powers of seduction, enough that even she might fall under his spell. Spiders aren’t exactly known for their powers of seduction, but the newspaper isn’t too far off. Except that it isn’t Spider-Man who has seductive powers in the comics but Spider-Woman. It’s not a win for feminism in the pages of ’70s comics, but Spider-Woman has used her seductive pheromone powers both in her early role as a HYDRA villain and eventually as an Agent of SHIELD.
That same tabloid article suggests that Spider-Man even has Spider-Minions! Well, the writer didn’t know how close to being accurate they were. You see, there was a period of time where Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus switched brains, Freaky Friday style, before Otto killed Peter in his former body. That meant Doc Ock got to operate as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man with no one to stop him. He declared himself “the Superior Spider-Man”, the new title of the comic (replacing Amazing), and set out being a hero in the most villainous of ways. One of his first acts, in Superior Spider-Man No. 14, was to hire some Spider-Minions he affectionately called “Spiderlings.” So cute!
Don’t worry, Peter got better. But the Spiderlings lost their jobs. Who says Spider-Man is a working-class hero?
It seems that Peter’s school attracts street artists who are fans of early Spider-Man comics because on the other side of the roof is graffiti that reads “GKANE.” That’s a reference to none other than legendary Spider-Man artist Gil Kane. While his time as an artist on Amazing Spider-Man was short-lived, only 20 issues, he illustrated some of the most famous stories of all time. In Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 96-98, published in 1971, Kane and Stan Lee bucked the Comics Code Authority’s rules for decency in comics to address the problem of drug abuse. The powerful Authority refused to let Marvel publish the comics with its famous stamp of approval on the cover. On the inside pages, Norman Osborn became the Goblin again for the first time in years, and Harry Osborn overdosed on drugs, starting down a path of abuse that would culminate with him eventually becoming the Green Goblin himself.
Gil Kane was notorious for his acrobatic illustrations of Spider-Man as he swung around the city. He put those talents to good use in Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 121-122 for his and writer Gerry Conway’s “The Death of Gwen Stacy” storyline. If you’ve seen the original Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 films, then you’ve seen the work from those stories adapted for the big screen. Peter and the Goblin’s fight on the George Washington Bridge saw Gwen fall to her death, and later, the Goblin impaled on his own glider.
10. Aunt May’s Death
After Mysterio reveals Peter’s identity to the public, launching him into trouble with the police, the law, the public’s trust, and – worst of all – MIT, he seeks out Doctor Strange to see if the Sorcerer Supreme can do anything to make people forget that he’s Spider-Man. Doctor Strange cheekily offers up a spell that could do it and eventually agrees to help young Peter.
A similar event happens in the comics across two controversial stories: “One More Day” and “O.M.I.T.”. Remember when I said that Peter once made a deal with the literal devil to trade his marriage to MJ to undo Aunt May’s death? Well, that was the end result of a series of decisions made in the wake of Peter’s identity being revealed to the public. In the Marvel Comics version of “Civil War,” Peter initially takes Iron Man’s pro-superhero registration side and at Tony’s request, reveals his identity to the public in a press conference. Everyone freaks out, especially J. Jonah Jameson, and several villains see this as an opportunity to go after the web-slinger and his family.
That’s when the Kingpin hires an assassin to kill Spider-Man. The assassin waits outside of Peter and Aunt May’s hotel room with a sniper rifle. But, just like in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter’s Spider-Sense warns him just in time, but not soon enough to protect Aunt May, who gets caught in the crossfire and eventually dies (Amazing Spider-Man No. 539).
Which brings us to the deal with the devil. In “One More Day,” Mephisto sees an opportunity to strike a bargain with Peter. The reasons behind it are far too complicated to get into here — suffice it to say, it’s a weird and greatly disliked story — but the deal is made, Peter’s marriage is erased, and Aunt May is brought back to life. Which brings us to …
11. Doctor Strange’s Forgetting Spell
It was later revealed that part of Mephisto’s rewriting of reality included Peter’s identity being wiped from the minds of everyone who ever knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man, which was basically everyone. Peter and MJ seek out Doctor Strange to pull off the trick, and he agrees. Playing out across a story called “O.M.I.T.” (or “One Moment in Time”) in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 638-641, written by former Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and illustrated by Paulo Rivera, readers witness Peter’s wedding disintegrate and Doctor Strange’s spell take effect. However, just like in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter seeks a last-minute change. In the comics he pulls MJ into the spell, meaning that only she will remember that Peter Parker is Spider-Man and no one else (unless you count all of Peter Parker’s clones, but that’s a story for another time).
That spell has slowly disintegrated over time, as Peter has played loosely with his secret identity. Nevertheless, Spider-Man remains one of the few costumed heroes in the Marvel comics to still maintain a secret identity.
12. Doctor Strange’s New Assistant
Who are those strange youngsters who are shoveling the interior of Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum after it gets hit with a blizzard? Well, I think one of them is young Zelma Stanton, Doctor Strange’s newest apprentice in the comics pages. First appearing in Doctor Strange (Vol. 4) No. 1 by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo, young college student Zelma seeks out Doctor Strange after she begins experiencing mind maggots feasting on her thoughts. Doctor Strange helps her clear up her mystical ailment, and after they go on several adventures together, including one that drains all the magic from the Marvel Universe, she decides to hang around permanently.
13. License Plate “63ASM-3”
One of the reoccurring Easter eggs across all the Spider-Man films is that license plates often detail a comic origin of a character included in the scene. When Peter swings off to the George Washington Bridge to appeal to the head of admissions at MIT, her car’s license plate reads “63ASM-3.” This is a reference to Amazing Spider-Man No. 3 from 1963, which features the first appearance of Doctor Octopus. Moments later, Doctor Octopus makes his first appearance in No Way Home.
14. Taxi Cab “1228”
Just because Stan Lee passed away a few years ago doesn’t mean he can’t have Easter eggs dedicated to him. Just behind the admissions officer’s car is a taxi cab with the number “1228.” This is a clever nod to Stan Lee’s birthday: Dec. 28. Let this be a reminder that we all celebrate the birth of our lord and savior, Stan Lee, before the turn of the calendar year.
15. License Plate “ASM-8183”
Shortly after Doctor Octopus emerges from beneath the overpass and attacks Spider-Man, he destroys a car with a license plate reading “ASM-8183.” It’s clearly a reference to something, but I spent hours trying to figure out what. For an Easter egg hunter like me, I live for moments like this. Was it Amazing Spider-Man issue No. 81, the debut of the villainous Kangaroo? Was it Amazing Spider-Man No. 83, where Spider-Man fought the Kingpin’s son, Richard, dressed up as the Schemer? Probably not.
I couldn’t figure it out. Nothing seemed to fit. So, here’s the best I can come up with. I think it is perhaps a reference to Amazing Spider-Man No. 246, released on Aug. 1, 1983, entitled “The Daydreamers.” In the story, Uatu, the Watcher (from What If … ?) tells the reader that not only can he view alternate realities of the multiverse, but the realities of thoughts and minds. The story then shows him delving into the alternate reality dreams of Black Cat, J. Jonah Jameson, MJ and Peter Parker. In each one, the world is twisted to make their wildest fantasies come true, until reality comes crashing in. I guess you could say it was one of the first multiverse adventures of Spider-Man.
That’s all I’ve got.
16. Peter’s Nice Suit
Something looked familiar about Peter Parker when he went to visit the admissions officer from MIT. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then it hit me like a stray meteorite covered in a strange black goo. It was the same suit Peter Parker wore on a date with MJ in Spider-Man 3, the very one where we first see the Venom symbiote land on Earth.
17. Columbia University Sweatshirt
Throughout No Way Home, Doctor Strange is wearing a Columbia University sweatshirt. One is even hanging in his basement laundry room/dungeon. In the comics, Doctor Strange got his medical degree at Columbia University. Spider-Man fans will also note that Columbia University stood in for the fictional Empire State University in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films. Even crazier fans will note that Doctor Strange is the only other superhero we know exists in the Raimi films. When J. Jonah Jameson is trying to come up with names for Doctor Octopus he briefly considers “Doctor Strange” before remembering that the name is already taken. Was Strange also at Columbia/Empire State University with Peter Parker?
18. Electro’s Old Costume
Remember when I said that Steve Ditko’s designs couldn’t be topped? Well, I meant it. In Amazing Spider-Man 2, they tried to redesign Jamie Foxx’s Electro into a member of the Blue Man Group with mixed results (I’m being generous). But in No Way Home, they’ve returned him to something more aligned with Ditko’s original design. Debuting in Amazing Spider-Man No. 9, Max Dillon was an electrician who was repairing electrical lines when he was struck by lightning. That turned him into Electro, and he began robbing banks in a wacky green and yellow costume, with a lightning mask shaped like a starfish. For a while, Jameson even thought he was Spider-Man in disguise. In No Way Home, he wears a more subtle green and yellow, but in the final action sequence he shows up with the familiar starfish lightning bolts around his face for just a moment before they disappear. Stop being coy Marvel, we demand the lightning bolt mask!
19. Green Goblin No More
One of the most iconic images in all of Spider-Man comics appears in Amazing Spider-Man No. 50: Spider-Man’s costume in a trash can as Peter walks away. That story, illustrated by John Romita Sr. and entitled “Spider-Man No More,” was adapted into Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Almost halfway through the film, Peter ditches his costume, proclaiming that he is “Spider-Man No More.” In No Way Home, that image is reappropriated by the Green Goblin. After Norman is teleported into the MCU, he’s confronted by his alternate persona: the Green Goblin. In order to maintain his sanity, he ditches his costume and destroys his mask, running away and forming a mirror image to the original artwork.
20. “DITKO” Round 2
It seems the street artist that hit up Peter’s school has been tagging every surface of Forest Hills, Queens. When the truck containing the Lizard pulls up outside of F.E.A.S.T., you can see the exact same “DITKO” graffiti on the side of the vehicle.
21. “No One Dies”
When Peter learns that sending his villains back to their original universes means letting them die, he pushes back hard. We’ve seen this kind of behavior before in the MCU, as Peter saved Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) from crashing in the Vulture suit and likely dying. In the comics, Peter has gone to extreme lengths to avoid killing his enemies, even taking a bullet for Norman Osborn. In the pages of Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 655-656, Peter takes his honor code to a new level, exclaiming that when Spider-Man is around, “No one dies!” It was an impossible code to live up to, which saw Spider-Man saving cold-blooded serial killers. Each failure only fueled Peter’s guilt until he reached a breaking point and had to learn to accept that he could only vow to do his best in any given situation.
22. “A Strange Turn of Events”
Peter Parker is no stranger to spells backfiring on him. In Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) No. 42’s story, entitled “A Strange Turn of Events,” Peter tries to cast a spell … but it backfires on him. Doctor Strange tries to fix it but is unable to, so he uses time travel to undo the effects. We even get to see spectral Spider-Man in the comics story after Doctor Strange pushes Peter’s soul out of his body, just as he does in No Way Home.
23. “You know, I’m something of a scientist myself.”
When Norman Osborn is first introduced in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man he utters the famous line “You know, I’m something of a scientist myself.” Two decades later and that phrase has become a widely circulated meme, often used to dunk on people spreading anti-science misinformation. As such, it has become a larger-than-life quote from the film. Which is why it is so exciting to see Norman repeat the phrase in No Way Home to convince Peter that he can help to cure the villains with Stark technology.
24. “The power of the sun in the palm of my hand!”
Norman Osborn can’t be the only villain to reprise their catchphrase! When Otto Octavius gets his hands on an arc reactor he proclaims: “The power of the sun in the palm of my hand!” Those were his famous final words before his own reactor malfunctioned, killing his wife, and turning him into Doctor Octopus. OK, so, that one isn’t quite as triumphant as Norman Osborn’s iconic line …
25. The Ultimate Six
In Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 1, Lee and Ditko introduced readers to the Sinister Six, a group of villains whose mutual hatred of the webhead brought them together. The team has been featured at least a dozen times in the comics with at least a dozen different configurations of members, even including teams with only five members. Look, if math was their thing … they wouldn’t be living a life of crime.
It is no secret that Sony has tried to get a Sinister Six movie off the ground several times before, including setting one up at the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2. But it ultimately wasn’t to be. It was long speculated that No Way Home would be the film that would finally give the Sinister Six the theatrical treatment. But that wasn’t to be, either. Doc Ock, the Lizard, Electro, Sandman and the Green Goblin only make five.
However, in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, which largely inspired the MCU take on Spider-Man, there was a prominent miniseries called Ultimate Six. In the story, Peter Parker is recruited as the sixth member of the group, completing the Ultimate Six. A similar story plays out in No Way Home with Peter temporarily teaming up with the villains in an attempt to cure them.
The villains in Ultimate Six aren’t quite as noble. Norman Osborn has recruited them and kidnapped Peter Parker to attack the White House in an attempt to kill the president. The team is thwarted with the help of Peter Parker and the Ultimates, that universe’s version of the Avengers.
26. Norman Osborn “Cured”
Up until Norman Osborn’s first “death” in the comics, the Green Goblin was always presented as a split personality that would reappear from time to time. Typically, a story with the Green Goblin would end with him getting knocked on the head and getting temporary amnesia, allowing the Green Goblin personality to subside until the story demanded he return. The Raimi movies took this concept even further, separating the Green Goblin personality into a sort of ghoulish entity that spoke to and through Norman Osborn.
In No Way Home that iteration returns. However, we are made to think that Norman has found a way to destroy the Green Goblin and turn to the side of good. But, like, we never really believed that, did we?
Holland’s Peter Parker doesn’t know enough about Norman Osborn to know better and trusts him blindly, until the tables are ultimately turned. That’s when a cure comes in. Norman clearly wants to escape his Goblin tormentor and Peter thinks he can help out. Ultimately, his cure fails, but with the help of Tobey Maguire’s Peter they are able to cook up something effective.
Curing Norman Osborn of his Goblin persona has been a reoccurring idea as of late in Spider-Man comics. In Superior Spider-Man No. 31, Norman isn’t cured of his Green Goblin powers but has a serum that cures his insanity, making him more calculating than ever before. And in recent Spider-Man comic Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 5) No. 51, Norman Osborn is cured of his Green Goblin persona entirely by a magical shotgun wielded by the Sin Eater, controlled by — you guessed it — Mephisto. It’s kind of cool, trust me.
27. “With Great Power There Must Also Come Great Responsibility.”
Probably the most misquoted line in superhero history is also the most famous line in superhero history. In Amazing Fantasy No. 15, the world was introduced to Peter Parker and experienced his loss of Uncle Ben and transformation into Spider-Man in 11 short pages. Ditko and Lee’s story had it all and has become a modern classic, concluding with narration that tells us that “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” It’s so well known that the MCU version felt no need to repeat it, at least that’s what we thought.
In the moments before her death, Aunt May now beseeches Peter to heed the lesson that “With great power there must also come great responsibility,” finally quoting, accurately, the comics mantra that Lee saw fit to end his first Spider-Man story with. The difference is fundamental to the full understanding of the line. Typically quoted as “With great power comes great responsibility,” the line holds no real meaning. Surely, we all know plenty of people who wield great power and no responsibility, including Spider-Man’s villains. That’s what makes Spider-Man different, that he makes the active choice, “there must also come,” to bring responsibility to that power.
This isn’t the first film to try and put those words into the mouth of someone other than Uncle Ben, whose existence in the MCU is seriously up for debate now more than ever. In Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s deleted scenes, a not-quite-dead Richard Parker returns to console a grieving Peter Parker over Gwen Stacy’s grave. It is then that he tells Peter Parker that “with great power comes great responsibility.” I kind of like it.
28. Spider-Men and the Spider-Verse
It has become almost the standard in Spider-Man media to feature multiple Spider-Men, whether that be the new children’s show Spidey and his Amazing Friends or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. But this wasn’t always the case. I wrote a detailed explanation on the birth of the Spider-Verse and all the attempts over the years to make Spider-Man team-ups a thing in my Easter egg article for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so I won’t repeat it here. But, that’s all to say that the appearance of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men in this movie only solidifies the Spider-Verse’s relevance in Spider-Man media. So, it’s nice to see the creators who worked on the comics that popularized the idea thanked in the end credits: Dan Slott, Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli for their work on the “Spider-Verse” event and Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli for their work on Spider-Men.
29. Supervillain Ned Leeds
When Ned Leeds talks to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man he learns that his best friend, Harry Osborn, betrayed him, tried to murder him, and ultimately died. The moment shocks Ned in a way that has him re-examining his role in Peter’s life. By the end of the film, he promises Peter that he won’t become a supervillain and try to kill him.
However, in the comics, Ned Leeds was the supervillain known as the Hobgoblin for nearly a decade. The Hobgoblin was a mystery villain who discovered several secret Goblin lairs full of the deceased Norman Osborn’s tech, which he used to make himself a major player in New York City’s crime world, eventually running afoul of Spider-Man.
Everyone and their mother was suspected of being the Hobgoblin, including Flash Thompson and Ned Leeds — until Leeds was found by Peter Parker with his throat slit by a mystery assailant. Behind the scenes, Marvel editorial fought over who the Hobgoblin was for years, and after several sabotages, firings and hurt feelings, it was up to writer Peter David to give readers an answer. He pinned the whole thing on the dead Ned Leeds.
A decade later it was revealed to be someone else, and Ned Leeds was cleared of all charges, though he remained quite dead (or so we thought). There remains a vocal contingent of internet fans who wondered if Ned Leeds would become the Hobgoblin in No Way Home, as I shouted that he was never actually the Hobgoblin in the first place. At the very least, Ned jokes about it with Peter here in a metatextual nod to his tortured run-in with villainy in the comics.
30. JJJ Interviews Spider-Man
Toward the end of the film, the three Spider-Men decide that they need to lure the various villains from their universes to the Statue of Liberty so they can attempt to cure them. In order to do so, they call up J. Jonah Jameson and his InfoWars-inspired version of The Daily Bugle. This depiction of JJJ and the Bugle has been in the comics for a few years, starting with Jonah’s Tucker Carlson-inspired show on The Fact Channel. Currently, J. Jonah Jameson has a podcast on his new Drudge Report-inspired network, Threats and Menaces.
Jonah interviewing Spider-Man is nothing new, but the most significant version of this occurred in writer Chip Zdarsky’s Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 3) No. 6, where Spider-Man finally agrees to a sit-down interview with Jonah. When he arrives for the interview, he finds the journalist a deeply broken person. Jonah’s world has been so twisted by his obsession with and hatred of Spider-Man that he even blames him for the death of his wife. In an act of compassion, Peter unmasks himself before Jonah and embraces him in a hug, extending his empathy toward the man who has hated him for six decades. Now Jonah is Spider-Man’s staunchest supporter.
31. “My back is stiff.”
While preparing for their final battle with the Sinister Five (boy, that just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?) Tobey’s Peter complains about the stiffness of his back before Andrew Garfield’s Peter unkinks it. The moment is extra humorous for fans of the Raimi trilogy, where Peter suffers grievous back injuries throughout. This is most pronounced in Spider-Man 2 where Peter tries to get his mojo back by returning to the rooftop from the first Spider-Man where he learned to jump and web-sling. He runs and begins to jump across the gap between the rooftops. It even looks like he’s going to make it!
He shouts, “I’m baaaaaack” before plummeting to the streets below, hitting everything on the way down, culminating in an incredibly painful crash into a car. He gets up off the ground and grabs his back, whispering, “My back… my back…”
Maguire famously almost missed out on Spider-Man 2 after injuring his back while filming Seabiscuit. The actor briefly considered to take over the role? Jake Gyllenhaal, who would go on to play Mysterio in Far From Home.
32. “Earth’s Mightiest…”
When Tom Holland’s Peter tries to explain the concept of the Avengers to the other Peters, they are obviously confused; they’ve had to safeguard the planet all by themselves this whole time! Tom’s fastest way of explaining it is that they are “Earth’s mightiest …” before he’s cut off. All you have to do is pick up a copy of an Avengers comic book to see that they are referred to as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” on the cover in the same way that Spider-Man is referred to as “Amazing.”
33. Black Spider-Man
When Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man unmasks before a depowered Max Dillon, he’s met with an interesting confession from Max. It turns out that Max always imagined Spider-Man to be a Black man under the mask, given his working-class attitude and youthfulness. This was Miles Morales’ co-creator Brian Michael Bendis’ formative idea for the character, the idea that if Spider-Man was created in the 21st century, the ideals he represented would likely not be best embodied by a white kid from Forest Hills. Instead, he imagined Spider-Man as an Afro-Latino boy from Brooklyn fighting for an education through a lottery system. Max opines that “somewhere out there” a Black Spider-Man must exist; surely, he’s talking about Miles Morales.
Curiously, in a deleted scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming, we saw Miles’ Uncle Aaron (Donald Glover) call him on his cellphone after Spider-Man webbed him to his car. It’s not canon, but the possibility still remains that Miles’s appearance in the MCU isn’t too far off. But for now, we have the absolutely incredible Spider-Verse films.
34. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man Saves MJ
When MJ is knocked off some scaffolding and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is too late to save her, it falls to Garfield’s Spidey to jump into action. The scene is shot identically to the sequence from Amazing Spider-Man 2 where he was too late to save Gwen as she fell to her death and hit her head on the ground below. Except this time he’s just fast enough to save MJ, as the film reuses the exact sound effects and crashing metallic structures to heighten the significance of his redemptive moment.
35. The Scorpion and Rhino
Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery is too numerous to ever see it fully explored on film, though I’m sure Marvel and Sony Pictures will give it their best shot. However, there are still a few villains who we have seen in the films before that didn’t get to come back for this film, for whatever reason. Yet, in the film’s final moments, as the multiverse is cracking open, if you look closely you can see white silhouettes of some of these characters. The ones I spotted included the Rhino and Scorpion, both in their comics accurate costumes. I’m sure there are even more hidden details and characters to discover, but one man can only scan the scene so quickly.
36. Aunt May’s Cemetery
Aunt May’s burial scene set off my spider-tingle immediately. The scene opens with a long pan down barren trees to a hillside graveyard. I thought to myself, “Boy, that looks familiar.” That same pan down a barren tree to a hillside graveyard was how we experienced Norman’s burial all the way back in Raimi’s Spider-Man. I know it’s a different universe, but I suspect that Aunt May, Uncle Ben and Norman Osborn are all buried in the same iconic graveyard across this whole series of films.
Which prompts the next question, where was MCU Uncle Ben buried? Did MCU Aunt May not want to share a plot with him? Did she only date a guy named Ben once? Perhaps he was cremated? The Uncle Ben erasure is real. The truth is out there!
37. The Classic Suit
Spider-Man: No Way Home ends with a truly depressing scenario for Peter: After erasing everyone’s memory, he has literally no one in the world to share his life with. He had to make the hardest choice anyone could ever have to make and now has to live with the guilt he feels over the death of Aunt May. But he’s driven by a purpose unlike no other he’s ever had in this series. His barren Manhattan apartment and landlord shouting for “rent” signal that he’s made the transition into adulthood at last, the moment he’s been clamoring for since Spider-Man: Homecoming. And yet, ornaments from his youth are still with him, a hot cup of coffee and a Lego Emperor Palpatine.
He’s made the full transition into the Spider-Man we’ve known and loved in the comics for decades. No longer desiring to be an Avenger, no longer living as a boy in the shadow of other heroes who play on a global scale. No, he’s arrived and he’s fully become the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man he promised to become at the end of Homecoming. The ultimate culmination of his journey: the classic red-and-blue Spider-Man costume as designed by Steve Ditko in Amazing Fantasy No. 15.
The return to the red-and-blues has always been a moment of triumph in Spider-Man comics. One of the more famous instances, in Amazing Spider-Man No. 300, saw Spider-Man finally ditch his black alien costume, defeat Venom for the first time, and don his red-and-blue suit again for the first time in years. The cover of that issue was basically just a full-page image of the suit in its unique glory, just as it is depicted here in the final image of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
38. Credits Art Inspirations
The MCU always has stunning end-credit sequences, but I think it is safe to say that the Spider-Man films always set a high bar, especially Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s DIY, punk rock animation sequence. Spider-Man: No Way Home is no slouch in that regard either. One of the most fun inclusions is that it adapts art from the comics into new images. The most evident, for fans of the Ultimate Spider-Man character, is a web pattern of multiple Spider-Men assuming poses from Mark Bagley’s work in Ultimate Spider-Man No. 6 and David Lafuente’s cover art for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man No. 2.
Dan Gvozden, a lifelong Spider-Man fan, is a Heat Vision contributor and co-host of the Amazing Spider-Talk podcast which celebrates and explains the past, present, and future of the Spider-Man character.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Behind The Screen