Sony has been rather quiet when it comes to marketing the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film is less than two months away and there is virtually no official confirmation that previous cinematic Spider-Men, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will appear in the film, despite the fact that the two actors are heavily rumored to show up.
In late August 2021, a photo of a Spider-Man toy surfaced online. The toy was modeled on Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man and the packaging it came in was from Hasbro's Titan Heroes line, which is popular among younger fans. What's more shocking though, is that this packaging also had the logo for Spider-Man: No Way Home applied to it. And even more convincing was the photo of the box hanging on a store shelf in a toy department.
The Amazing Spider-Fake
The aforementioned toy photo was quickly picked up and run with by social media. After all, it seemed to provide definitive evidence that the original, Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire, would appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, because why would there be an official toy of the character in packaging featuring the film's logo?
It is now confirmed that the toy and its packaging are completely bogus, fabricated in a 3D-modeling program, via gjkcentral on Twitter. The images were made by the team behind a fan film called Spider-Man: Lotus. From gjkcentral's tweet:
You guys remember that “Tobey toy leak” from a couple months ago? I think now is a good time to reveal the fact that the Spider-Man: Lotus VFX team is responsible…
Take a look at how these doctored images were created below:
The phony packaging, which was an incredibly detailed mock-up, was modeled in a computer program.
The VFX team even shared the source image taken from a Target, which they had mocked up to try to convince fans that the toy was bought at the retail store:
An Extremely Well Done Fake
Although the toy and its packaging turned out to be a sham, the parties responsible for their creation clearly did their research.
The box is an extremely close facsimile of a standard Hasbro-produced box for the Titan Heroes line. All the legally required fine print is present, there are multilingual character bios printed on the back, the image of Maguire's Spider-Man is a new render to not arouse further suspicion. The barcode, although it is also fake, even uses a UPC that is typically designated for Spider-Man products!
The perpetrators of this Spider-Hoax went into the nitty-gritty of toy packaging design. This was likely to make casual viewers believe that it was stock that was simply put out early by mistake.
However, such spoiler-laden products are typically "street-dated," meaning they cannot be sold until a set date to avoid plot details leaking. While it is quite unlikely that a toy like this could've made it out of the store before the street date, there's always the possibility that it could have anyway, which only added to the mystery.
Why would someone go through all this trouble to try and pull one over on unsuspecting fans? Some people just want to watch the world burn, evidently.
Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17, 2021.