Ever since the film was first announced, there has been a plethora of rumors alleging former Spider-Man stars Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will appear in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the third film starring Tom Holland’s version of the webslinger, and it’s not based on nothing. We know that Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx, who portrayed the villains Dr. Octopus and Electro in Maguire and Garfield’s films respectively are set to be in the film, so why not include their heroes?
In truth, Marvel has absolutely no reason not to include Maguire and Garfield in the film. At the end of “Far From Home,” they pulled the carpet out from beneath Holland’s Spider-Man, as his secret identity was revealed to the world at the end of that film, and without a mentor figure, he desperately needs help. It’s worth mentioning that Holland’s Spider-Man also really needs a moment to find himself and process the responsibility and magnitude of the mantle of his superhero alter ego, something no other MCU character can offer him (despite being adults, most of the remaining heroes struggle with this) — a huge consequence of Sony and Marvel skipping the obligatory “with great power comes great responsibility” plot line that essentially makes Spider-Man the hero he is, something Garfield’s Spider-Man has some experience with, but Maguire’s Spider-Man is the absolute perfect choice to teach Holland’s Spider-Man. There’s also the fact that most MCU heroes either forgo hidden identities or have no need of them, making a past Spider-Man the ideal mentor for Holland’s Spider-Man.
Holland’s Spider-Man films have also suffered from the franchise undergoing back-to-back reboots in a very short amount of time, with audiences just getting used to Garfield’s incarnation before his series tanked to give way to Holland’s version of the character. The franchise as a whole could benefit from some cohesion, and what better way to do that than to have all three Spider-Men embark on a multiverse-bending journey courtesy of Doctor Strange — who we know will play an important role in the film, and who will conveniently star in a film titled “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” soon after this one?
It’s smart not only from a box office perspective — a film starring all three actors will break the internet and will be considered a must-see film — but it will allow Sony and Marvel to do a few very key things:
1. Benefit from the goodwill of the Sam Raimi film’s and Tobey Maguire’s vastly popular portrayal of the character.
2. It will give them an opportunity to redeem Andrew Garfield’s version of the character, and give him a satisfying send-off.
3. They can develop Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in a way they’d never be able to do otherwise, as he’ll be able to learn from his predecessors.
4. *Sigh* The multiverse business will leave a door wide open to have Holland’s Spider-Man films link up with Sony’s “Venom” and “Morbius” films.
5. It will give them creative solutions to write themselves out of the hole they wrote themselves into at the end of “Far From Home”.
6. There’s a chance that it will elevate Holland’s supporting cast, who are fine, but fall short of those who came before them, as they too will be able to learn from what came before them.
7. It would create a cohesive narrative in the franchise, starting from the first Maguire film, leading up to this one.
I don’t really see any benefit of having Sony and Marvel not have Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Men involved in “No Way Home,” given how promising their contributions could be and how much it could elevate not only the film, but the franchise as a whole.
Marvel is usually pretty terrible at keeping secrets, and I do suspect that they let the wanton speculation about Maguire and Garfield’s involvement fester on purpose, because at this point, if that speculation turns out to be true, it would be a home run for the franchise, and if they fail to show up, it would be a resounding disappointment.
At this point, fans want some version of “Spiderverse” more than they want a standalone third Tom Holland Spider-Man film, and because both “Homecoming” and “Far From Home” were so reliant on the MCU and the Avengers movies, I don’t think the franchise really has built the base to be its own standalone thing yet. Its characters and world is fine, but other than Holland’s Spider-Man, its supporting cast is pretty one-dimensional, his version of the character hasn’t had a real mentor figure (he did have Tony Stark, but he was pretty absent), and his character needs to develop and change — which is a tricky order, as I think he will need to learn both the responsibility of his power (i.e. like Maguire’s Spider-Man learned with Uncle Ben’s death) and the fragility of those around him (such as when Garfield’s Spider-Man lost Gwen Stacey), in order for audiences to be invested in his version of the character going forward. And to do that, he’ll either need to retread ground already covered by his predecessors, or to conveniently meet them and learn from them — the first of which would be incredibly boring, the second of which could make “No Way Home” over a billion dollars at the box office.
With all the multiverse business teased in current, past and future MCU projects, I can’t help but feel like Marvel has put a flashing light pointing to this scenario. They even teased at the existence of a multiverse in the previous Spider-Man film, as Beck AKA Mysterio initially duped Holland’s Spider-Man into thinking he was from another dimension. With the multiverse important in the upcoming “Doctor Strange” movie and “Loki”, it makes a lot of sense to introduce it for real in “No Way Home.”
Especially when you look at this from a storytelling and business perspective, I don’t see a reason why not to give fans what they want, especially if the filmmakers are already planning on using Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx from previous “Spider-Man” films. There’s probably a lot of film rights and other technical issues that’d have to be worked out, but the film is partially a Disney product — one of, if not the, most powerful entertainment companies in the world. If they want to make this happen, they will make it happen.
It’s entirely possible that Maguire and Garfield won’t be in “No Way Home,” but I think that would make for an objectively poorer film. And if that’s the case, Marvel and Sony would have been better off crushing Spiderverse rumors early and often, which, despite some denials, they really haven’t done a good job of.
So yeah, at this point, if they prove true, I have no doubt that “No Way Home” will take over the internet and will do exceptionally well at the box office. If they aren’t, and fans are disappointed, Marvel/Sony only have themselves to blame.
If Maguire and Garfield do show up, I can already see them selling special edition 8-film Spider-Man box sets, and Disney Plus eventually busting out a special Spider-Man playlist consisting of “Spider-Man”, “Spider-Man 2”, “Spider-Man 3”, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “Captain America: Civil War”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Featured image by Israel J. Soteldo. Follow his Instagram here.