There's one word that Spider-Man: No Way Home has become synonymous with over the past year: leaks.
The fan fervor and audience excitement for the upcoming Spider-Man threequel has been bested by very few, reaching Avengers: Endgame-levels of hype ahead of its release.
It all began with the initial reports reveaking The Amazing Spider-Man 2's Jamie Foxx's return as Electro, which quickly spiraled into a flurry of other casting announcements and rumors. Bundled within that were the persistent rumblings that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would be reprising their respective Spider-Men, despite denials from multiple parties, including Garfield himself.
Rumors would then turn into tangible evidence, including a leaked pre-vis version of No Way Home's first trailer and a supposed behind-the-scenes image of Garfield suited up. Even ahead of the film's second trailer, more leaked, spoiler-heavy imagery is managing to bypass Marvel Studios and Sony's security, much to the dismay of many fans.
But why is the film being leaked so much? Here are a few reasons that could explain how Spider-Man: No Way Home managed to become one of the most leaked films in cinematic history.
COVID Delays and Spider-Man: Work From Home
COVID had a massive impact on the film industry, with Spider-Man: No Way Home being one of many films to face numerous delays.
Originally slated to make a summer splash on July 16, 2021, the film was subsequently pushed back to November 5, 2021, only to be delayed a third time to its current release date of December 17, 2021.
A longer lead-up to the film's release has provided even more opportunities for information and leaked materials to trickle out. The Marvel and Sony police can only hold out for so long, so a lengthened production cycle is sure to put more strain on protecting No Way Home's secrets.
One of the other major effects of COVID was the resulting change of attitude towards work from home practices. Though Marvel Studios and Sony's exact approaches to integrating work from home options into their production pipelines have not been detailed for all of their projects, it was revealed that Eternals switched over to remote work in order to complete its VFX work.
Knowing this, it's reasonable to assume that at least some of No Way Home's post-production took place from home. As security is a lot less stringent from employee's homes compared to working in-studio, the chances of visuals and imagery being shared are much higher.
This may have played a role in enabling the infamous pre-vis trailer leak to come about, which would have been much more difficult to pull off at Marvel or Sony HQ. In a COVID-free world, No Way Home may have been stood a better chance at combating potential leaks.
Sony, Marvel, and Actors, Oh My!
On top of the effects of COVID, the number of parties involved in Spider-Man: No Way Home's production is much higher than a typical Marvel affair. Spider-Man's MCU installments being a joint-venture between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios means that both companies need eyes on what the wallcrawler is getting up to.
Reddit user u/TimeDuck, who claims to work in the entertainment industry, also pointed out the differences in scale between the two studios, with Sony dwarfing Marvel due to the former's international reach and larger studio lots. Marvel Studios only being a subsidiary of a larger company enables it contain leaks much more easily, a luxury a massive organization like Sony cannot afford.
Sony also has a more lax approach to maintaining secrecy and suppressing spoilers, while Marvel Studios is adamant about keeping some of the surprises for the theatre. Whereas Sony will release the first 10 minutes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ahead of their releases, Marvel will manufacture an entire campaign simply to urge fans to not "spoil the Endgame."
This time around, Marvel has stepped in significantly to mitigate any major reveals during No Way Home's promotional run, resulting in a somewhat barebones marketing campaign. But that hasn't stopped the leaks from flowing, and Sony supposedly still wants to reveal a bit more of No Way Home's plot than Marvel would feel comfortable sharing.
In addition to the top dogs, one has to consider the film's extensive cast list, meaning No Way Home's ambition may have been its downfall in regards to preventing leakage. Andrew Garfield has been fighting for his life by constantly denying his involvement in No Way Home, whereas Alfred Molina flat out admitted that he was in the film prior to any official confirmation.
With actors from three generations of Spider-Man films and a potential traveler from another Sony universe, it quickly becomes difficult to prevent all of the loose lips from sinking any ships.
Now That is an Avengers Level Hype Cycle
Even though Avengers: Endgame released just over two years ago, Spider-Man: No Way Home has rapidly matched, if not exceeded, its levels of hype. The scope and scale that No Way Home is hoping to achieve is unseen in any Spider-related flick to date; this has resulted in a lot of people being excited for the film when factoring in the pre-existing popularity of Spider-Man as a character and the fact that a live-action Spider-Verse has been on many fans' wishlists for years.
Not only does this make potential leakers more likely to seek out and release information due to their own inherent interest, but increased excitement from fans is also likely to spur leakers on to meet the demand. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania doesn't dominate the news cycle because audiences aren't as invested in Ant-Man as a property as they are Spider-Man -- there's only room for one arthropod-inspired superhero in the zeitgeist at this moment.
Returning to the Endgame comparison, Reddit user u/TallboyCommunion points out how most of the attention for No Way Home's rumors and leaks have been focused on casting, rather than any specific plot details. A rather significant plot leak emerged during the joint Infinity War-Endgame production that spoiled the fourth Avengers' use of time travel, but few caught wind of the set images outside of diehard Marvel followers.
Casting news is much more popular among general audiences, as it spoils less about the film and the topic is more interesting to the public. Since there were very few casting reveals to leak ahead of Endgame's release aside from the surprise returns of a Jane Foster or a Harley Keener, Marvel has an easier time containing information about the film's narrative as opposed to entire members of the cast.
And with so many potential cast members in No Way Home, that means there's a lot on the table to reveal...
More Revealing Than Others
With Spider-Man: No Way Home working to achieve so much and please so many, there is a plentiful amount of juicy information that is ripe for picking.
Even within the reveal that past villains would make a return, many questions are raised, which results in leakers (or the cast members themselves) providing answers. Are the villains Variants or their original incarnations? What will their suits look like this time? Is there is a Six in this group oh-so-sinister, or will it stay at the magic number five?
Combine that with the fact that the film also features the likes of Doctor Strange and potential appearances from Charlie Cox's Daredevil and previous Spider-alumni, there is much to dissect without even getting into the nitty-gritty of the actual narrative.
Why Are There So Many Spider-Man 3: No Way Home Leaks?
All of these factors and more mix together to form a boiling pot that is bound to produce an unhealthy serving of leaks galore.
COVID hurdles, multiple parties, years of anticipation, and potential reveals as far as the insider's eye can see have resulted in Spider-Man: No Way Home drowning in leaks, which has only made fans even more eager for December to roll around. Excitement has turned to frustration among many though, which surely means that the leaks will stop soon -- right?
Fans will finally be free of leaks when Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17, 2021.