Spider-Man: No Way Home was no doubt a monumental achievement. Not only did it feature an emotional and heartbreaking journey for Tom Holland's Peter Parker, but it managed to integrate many characters from Sony's past Spider-Man films seamlessly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, one character that did not appear in the film was Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio.
It's no secret Marvel Studios isn't afraid of team-ups, having brought dozens of heroes together for the Avengers movies. But Spider-Man: No Way Home took this to another level, interweaving the stories of decades of Spider-Man films.
Audiences were able to witness villains like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin team up alongside The Amazing Spider-Man foes like Jamie Foxx's Electro and Rhys Ifans' Lizard. Not only that but fans were treated to a true Spider-verse team up with Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland all appearing on-screen together as their iterations of Spider-Man.
Things were looking very promising for a Sinister Six team-up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but at some point, a line had to be drawn on what was too many villains.
What Happened to Mysterio in No Way Home?
Speaking at IGN Fan Fest 2022, Spider-Man: No Way Home writers Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna went into a spoiler-filled discussion about the movie. One of the topics that came up was the No Way Home concept art that depicts Mysterio facing off against Doctor Strange.
Questioned over what happened to the ideas in that concept art, McKenna said that in the early stages of the movie a "lot of different ideas" were being discussed and many concept artists were "making incredible artwork."
"We've worked on a few of these [movies] now and they'll bring you incredible concept art. You're like 'wow, someone thought this up, and now it's going to be a set piece.' So when we didn't know what the movie was quite going to be, we were playing around with a lot of different ideas, you're dealing with the Multiverse and a lot of different ideas get thrown around. Brilliant artists are taking their own ideas or taking inspiration from the director, the producers, and making incredible artwork."
McKenna said that he was familiar with the Mysterio concept art and that the idea of the Multiverse had opened up pathways where "anything can happen."
"I am familiar with what you're talking about. I will say when you open up the Multiverse you get a lot of conversations where anything can happen."
Initially, McKenna said the Multiverse was going to be a "down the road tag" in the movie, until Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige, floated the idea of making it the focus of No Way Home.
"We were kicking things around and then I think Kevin really loved the idea of maybe doing a tag that had something to do with that Multiverse. You know introduce it, maybe you see a character from one of the other movies. But that was going to be a down the road tag and then there were certain obstacles to the story that we were pursuing before we came up with this story. But, I remember being across the table from Kevin, and we'd hit a few obstacles for various reasons in the other stories, and he said 'that tag idea, what if that was the movie? What if that was the act break instead of just waiting for the tag?'
The screenwriter said this was the idea that lead to "all those characters at the end of the movie that start coming through," but that having no limits was "overwhelming".
Now looking at the movie, it's almost like it was that 'aha' moment. But also it was all of those characters at the end of the movie that start coming through. It becomes overwhelming. I mean infinity is the limit and it means there's no limit, and it's overwhelming because you really have so many different things you can now do with that concept."
McKenna said that when this version of Spider-Man: No Way Home came together the team had to "choose characters wisely."
"When it actually started coalescing, when feelers were put out and actors were like 'yeah, I'm game for that', then it became this overwhelming thing because you're like, Ok this is the reality now. You can't just be swimming in a million characters, you have to be choosing characters wisely and making sure that they don't overwhelm the story and Peter himself."
Mysterio Didn't Make The Cut
Mysterio's appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home was always a long shot. Gyllenhaal's villain appeared to perish at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home but given the third film deals heavily with the Multiverse it was possible that some version of the character could still appear.
It seems the Spider-Man: No Way Home creative team did have the idea of Mysterio's return on the horizon at one point, which would have given Tom Holland's Spider-Man one of his own villains to fight in the final battle. But ultimately it seems this idea was scrapped due to the growing number of characters already partaking in the film. That being said Mysterio does still make a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in the Spider-Man threequel.
At the end of the film when Doctor Strange is holding back the Multiverse a number of different character silhouettes can be seen trying to break through. The scene is chock-full of Easter eggs for fans with many spotting teases for notable Spider-Man villains like Kraven the Hunter and Rhino. Another outline appears to depict the fishbowl head of Mysterio, meaning he still made make a cameo in the film, maybe just not in the way many were hoping.