Spider-Man: No Way Home Writers Explain How They Avoided ‘Lazy Fan Service’

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Spider Man No Way Home Fan Service

Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: No Way Home has officially swung into theaters, and with it brings a boatload of praise from critics and audiences alike. The film sees young Peter Parker on the cusp of entering college with his friends, but when his secret identity as Spider-Man is outed to the globe, his life becomes even more of a mess than usual.

Peter goes to Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange and asks him if there's a way to reverse his misfortune. That's when all hell truly breaks loose.

Warning: Spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home follow.

Strange casts a spell to make everyone on Earth forget that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but the Web-Slinger botches the proceedings, bringing in a motley crew of villains from past incarnations of the Spider-Man film franchise (Like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Jamie Foxx's Electro). The hex-gone-haywire also pulls in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's cinematic Spider-Man from movies' past.

The No Way Home Writers On Fan Service

Spider-Man No Way Home Villains

Spider-Man: No Way Home writers, Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna were interviewed by Discussing Film and Sommers said "it [was] a balancing act" adding in callbacks and references from the Marc Webb and Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movies into this film to avoid "lazy fan service for its own sake:"

"I mean, it’s a balancing act because we love those previous movies, the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb ones, and we want to pay homage to them and make the fans happy. But you don’t want to just do lazy fan service for its own sake because it’ll ring false at some point. It’s a balancing act and at every point, again, you have to be thinking about the story. So if you really want to hear this villain say the line that he said in that other movie, you can’t let that drive you in terms of finding a moment for that. If you just go looking for that and you spend all this time, you’re going to end up writing some scene that maybe doesn’t even need to be in the movie."

He revealed the emphasis that must be placed on Tom Holland's Peter Parker as well as the idea that old lines and callbacks needed to feel like they were organic:

"You just have to keep focused on telling Peter Parker’s story, and then hope that you find opportunities for those moments in there. We were working with a lot of smart and talented people, and just poring over these moments again and again, crafting things and trying to find those moments where we could include that kind of stuff in a way that felt like it was organic. We weren’t just doing it for its own sake."

Think Of It As A Spider-Homage

With such an assortment of iconic and recognizable friends and foes, it might have been easy to constantly work references to the older Spidey films into the script. And while there are obviously plenty of those in No Way Home, they're mostly all incorporated organically. Mostly.

At one point in the film, Willem Defoe's Norman Osborn drops the much-memed, "I'm something of a scientist myself" line, and while it's appropriately used within the context of the scene, some might argue that id doesn't entirely gel.

The same goes for Doc Ock's "The power of the sun, in the palm of my hand" when he claws a Stark Industries arc reactor off of Electro with one of his tentacles. It was a line used in 2004's Spider-Man 2 when Otto powers up his fusion machine.

It's quite cool though for longtime fans of these movies to hear lines like that again, presented in updated and new ways, so perhaps that's the trade-off. After all, it's all about pleasing the crowd.

Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in many markets the world over.

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.