'Spider-Man: No Way Home' writers reveal why they finally use that iconic Spidey line (twice)

Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

We wanted to make sure that [Maguire's Peter and Garfield's Peter] would come in with different perspectives, so that they weren't just some sort of monolithic thing. We wanted to make sure that, first and foremost, they service the story of our Peter Parker, but secondly, we wanted it to feel like when they go home, they've learned something too. That this has had an impact on their journey. So we had to put our heads together and decide where we think these guys are right now in their lives.

At the end of his last movie, Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man had been told by Gwen to carry on, try to maintain hope. It appealed to us — the idea that he did try but he didn't succeed, and he's given in a little bit to his grief and anger.

McKenna: This was a story that was evolving even as we were making the movie. I remember being in Atlanta in November, I think, of 2020 and we had to really attack the introduction of these characters.

We originally had them sort of just show up as Doctor Strange finds them at Peter's lowest point, but there just wasn't any room to explore their characters there. Then we took out Doctor Strange from that, and it was Ned [and MJ] finding them — it just allowed these characters to not only enter in a fun, unexpected way at Ned's Lola's house but also have these very protective friends and play around with Andrew being his character and Tobey being this wise one.

Once we started writing it from from that scene, it really seemed to open it up to treating these characters as if they were on their own journeys. Tobey really wanted to lean into the idea that he was here to help [MCU] Peter. That really helped us flesh out how the two Peters are here to help in this critical period of our Peter's journey — whether he was going to take revenge in the same way that they sought revenge, knowing it leads to nothing but darkness. One Peter was still trapped in that darkness and one made it out, but it wasn't an easy journey.

Because I come from a big family, for me, the the paradigm I kept on thinking about was three brothers — older brother, middle brother, younger brother — and really leaning into Andrew's middle brother complex.


Q: Watching the three Peters interact and getting to know each other is particularly delightful. Did Tobey and Andrew have thoughts about where their Peters would be?

McKenna: Tobey really wanted to play it with a Zen calm — his Peter had been through a lot in life but knowing that in a lot of ways he'd made peace. There was always that line with his character between how much we wanted to give away and how much was going to feel like just fan service. Tobey was like, "less is more, less is more." He knows that just with a smile, with a look, he brings so much to it, and he really helped shape it so that we weren't overwriting that character.

With Andrew, it seemed like we were all on the same page in terms of coming from the darkness of where he was with the death of Gwen. There was a meta element, obviously, that made its way into this. He didn't get his third movie. He's trapped in the dregs of that bottom out. That's why, when he has that moment [of saving] MJ, it feels like such a great win. I think that was [director] Jon Watts' idea to really give him something that would help heal him from where he is right now. Emotionally, we knew that we wanted him to take another step on this journey — that he had to — and that he could only do it with these other two people.

Q: I particularly enjoyed the reassurances from the other two that Andrew is amazing.


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