"Spider-Man: No Way Home" is the ultimate Peter Parker story — in more ways than one.
In his third solo outing, Tom Holland's titular webslinger faces challenges unlike any he has had before, including being wiped out of existence at the snap of a powerful alien's fingers. "No Way Home," which has grossed more than $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide since its December debut, sees Peter trying to wish away his problems after his identity as Spider-Man is revealed to the world.
But he learns very quickly that things get complicated when magic is involved, especially if it's powerful enough to burst open the multiverse and pull in characters from "Spider-Man" films of yore.
According to "No Way Home" writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, the initial idea, which they credit to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, was for the villains of Sony's past "Spider-Man" film series to show up as a version of the Sinister Six as a tag at the end of the picture. But over time, it was decided that their introductions should come much sooner.
"We started breaking a story with our wish list of which characters we could bring into this world," said McKenna. "It was a big wish list. And every wish eventually started feeling like this possibility, this wish, could come true."
This wish list, it turns out, included "Spider-Man's" Tobey Maguire and "The Amazing Spider-Man's" Andrew Garfield reprising their roles as the Peter Parkers of their respective series too. For McKenna and Sommers, the aim was not only to stay true to the characters created by directors Sam Raimi and Marc Webb in their past films but to also ensure that the expanding guest list wouldn't overshadow the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Peter and his trilogy-capping story.
"We really wanted each character, from the villains to the other Peters, to feel like they had come out of their worlds in a very specific place," said McKenna. But "how do we live up to all those characters, tell stories with them and hopefully give them all arcs in some way, yet first and foremost, have it be a Peter Parker story? That became our challenge throughout this entire thing."
McKenna and Sommer discuss the charms of working with three Peter Parkers, that iconic "Spider-Man" line and more in this interview edited for length and clarity.
Q: It's a tall order to manage Tom Holland's Peter Parker arc while also exploring where two other Peters are in their own timelines. How did you handle that balancing act?
Sommers: It was really exciting, but also intimidating. We really wanted to honor them, and we wanted to make sure that if we're going to bring these two guys in, it's not just this flashy thing we did.