Even though Marvel has a reputation for planning in advance, plans often change; that certainly appears to be the case with this month's Spider-Man: No Way Home. While a third MCU Spidey flick was always the goal, the film suffered a series of setbacks along the way that are still impacting the greater MCU, including Spider-Man star Benedict Cumberbatch ahead of his 2022 film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Following the release of 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sony and Marvel temporarily parted ways, throwing the web-slinger's future in the MCU into question. After their reconciliation, a third film was put in the books, only to be affected by Marvel's rescheduling, the pandemic, and attempts to balance the film with the plot of Multiverse of Madness.
Naturally, the threequel's plot was affected by these changes, as evidenced by early plans for Spider-Man 3 involving Kraven the Hunter and the cast and director Jon Watts not knowing the ending of No Way Home during filming.
Now, another member of the cast is talking about the changes made to No Way Home during its production and how the trilogy has evolved with the rapidly changing times.
No Way Home Actress Talks Wasted Sets
When asked by Collider whether the scripts have changed throughout the MCU's Spider-Man trilogy, Marisa Tomei - who plays Peter Parker's Aunt May - responded by saying, "I know that there were some sets that were built and then were discarded:"
"Yeah, I'm not really privy to a lot of that, but I know that there were some sets that were built and then were discarded and other things were built in their stead. So I think that things do change and evolve because the world we're all living in is changing."
In regard to those changes, Tomei referenced the pandemic and what people want to talk about, as well as how Marvel must "think about what's going on in the world:"
"Can you imagine what the plotline was two years before the pandemic or what people were thinking as this might unfold? But you have to react. The writers and creators and people at Marvel have to think about what's going on in the world. What do you people want to talk about or hear about or react to? We've all - the whole planet earth - has been through so many changes and so what's amazing is that the Spider-Man series has kept up with that."
Into the Spider-Verse of Rewrites
Since Spider-Man: No Way Home is shaping up to be "Spider-Man: Endgame," the fact that plans were changing - and even unknown - during filming is somewhat shocking. But at the same time, they're also understandable given the curveballs the team endured coupled with the film's unique and extensive cast.
These confirmed changes and rewrites also explain some of what Doctor Strange's Benedict Cumberbatch has referenced and Multiverse of Madness' reshoots.
Still, Tomei's comments about the pandemic and Marvel having to keep up with what's going on in the world are interesting and a bit confusing.
From what fans can tell, neither No Way Home nor the greater MCU is interested in referencing the pandemic. In fact, it appears that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ took deliberate steps to avoid referencing the pandemic earlier this year.
So what did Marvel change about No Way Home's original story to keep with the times? Did it have to do with the Blip? That erased Falcon and the Winter Soldier subplot? Or were Marvel's changes actually a response to what fans wanted to see as opposed to what was originally planned?
Perhaps more information about these changes will come to light following the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home and ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022.
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17, 2021.