Spider-Man: No Way Home has been out in the world for a few months now, but audiences are still finding new things to love about it. The movie was a massive achievement, bringing together legacy Sony Spider-Man characters like Electro, Doc Ock, and Green Goblin alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes like Wong and Doctor Strange.
Benedict Cumberbatch's appearance in the film as the (ex) Sorcerer Supreme ended up being a lot more than just a cameo appearance. Tom Holland's Peter Parker initially came to Doctor Strange to ask for help with a spell that would erase the world's knowledge of his identity as Spider-Man. While Strange agreed to do the spell, things didn't exactly go to plan and the duo spent the rest of the movie cleaning up the Multiversal mess the spell created.
While Strange spent a fair chunk of the movie angry at Parker, it was clear the two had clearly formed a strong bond by the end of the movie and their relationship was one of the more emotional arcs in Spider-Man: No Way Home. In a recent interview, Cumberbatch had a fair bit to say about Parker and Strange's relationship, even adding some wisdom of his own to their scenes during filming.
Benedict Cumberbatch Improvised On Spider-Man: No Way Home
In an interview with Collider, Benedict Cumberbatch spoke about his time on Spider-Man: No Way Home calling it a "terrific film" with a "humdinger" script.
The actor said he "knew it would be good" but was still surprised by just how big of a hit Spider-Man: No Way Home has become.
"The culmination of those first two films into the third, and those relationships and that triumvirate with those three actors, they’re so good. It was a brilliant set to be on. I knew it would be good. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m just astonished at quite how big a hit it is. I understand the love of it because not only is it Spidey, it’s a brilliant Spider-Man film."
Cumberbatch particularly praised director Jon Watts, saying he was very "detail-oriented" but appreciated that the director would "throw aside a piece of script" in order to find better story moments.
"He’s got such great taste. He’s very detail-orientated as well. He manages the tone so beautifully, all the time, and yet is still so nimble. Great directors are able to throw aside a piece of script or a big set piece and go, 'Oh, maybe that’s the story there.'"
The actor explained that one such moment that was changed on the fly occurred between Peter Parker and Doctor Strange at the end of the film.
Cumberbatch said that, during reshoots, he came up with an idea that would illustrate Strange's love for Peter by initially rejecting his sacrifice. Upon watching the improvisation, Watts immediately wanted it to be part of the final film.
"There was this one moment near the end of the film, where we were really trying to make that moment work, at the top of the Statue of Liberty. Tom [Holland] was having a tough time with the script, as it was before the reshoots. And then, we did the reshoots and I came up with this idea of, to show that I love him, I didn’t want him to make the sacrifice of being forgotten. He was like, 'That’s gonna be in the film.' And I was like, 'Okay, cool. That’s great.'"
Cumberbatch said he is usually "quite a canon guy" but that the freedom to improvise on Spider-Man: No way Home was "a real eye-opener".
You throw yourself out there in those huge sand pits. The remarkable thing I learned from Tom Holland and RDJ on Infinity War was seeing how at ease he was, just in improvising about Aunt May with Robert Downey Jr. He did this thing which wasn’t scripted at all. I’m quite a canon guy. It’s about the text for me. To be free with that and to have some maneuverability in it and to be able to improvise, and on such a large canvas, was a real eye-opener.
Doctor Strange and the Madness of Improvising
Fans will remember the scene that Cumberbatch is referring to as quite an emotional one between Doctor Strange and Peter Parker and a moment that shows just how far their relationship has come. To learn the scene was improvised adds an extra layer of sentimentality as it came from the actors themselves.
It's just one of many moments that were developed late in the game on Spider-Man: No Way Home. Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield admitted in interviews that he improvised the "I love you guys" line between the three Spider-Men, which has since become a fan-favorite moment. No Way Home writers Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna also revealed that the script was quite flexible with input from the actors being considered throughout development and filming.
Some of the MCU's best lines have been the result of actors' improvisations. Cumberbatch will next be seen as Stephen Strange in the sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will deal with the fallout of the events from Spider-Man: No Way Home. Now that the actor has had a chance to improvise a few lines of his own it will be interesting to see whether any moments in Multiverse of Madness are of his own creation.
Spider-Man: No way Home will be released on digital platforms on March 15.