Spider-Man: No Way Home was one of the MCU's most exciting films to date. The return of so many classic characters portrayed by actors from across two decades of Spider-Man movies was an absolutely amazing experience for fans. While the film certainly succeeded in matching viewers' incredibly high expectations, it did fail at one thing pretty spectacularly: keeping secrets.
When a franchise is headlined by Tom Holland, some leaks and spoilers are going to be inevitable. No Way Home, however, went to an entirely new level. While the return of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire wasn't technically confirmed until release, it was a sort of worst-kept secret at best. Outside of those two, every villain who appeared was spoiled or revealed early. While much could have been gained by keeping some things hidden, only the alternate Spider-Men maintained any level of secrecy going into the premiere.
Recently, Electro actor Jamie Foxx discussed his role in accidentally spoiling parts of the film.
Jamie Foxx "Almost Blew It" on No Way Home Set
Speaking recently to Cinema Blend, Jamie Foxx discussed his return as Electro in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The interviewers brought up Foxx's post to Instagram that spoiled his return and got the rumor mill spinning about the presence of all three cinematic Spider-Men in the film.
Foxx praised Sony and Marvel for keeping the mystery going into the film, but admitted that when it comes to those secrets, he "kind of almost blew it."
"It was crazy. It was like a- it was like a rock concert, when we did that film. And I thought Sony did a fantastic job of mystique. You know what I’m saying? Holding things, keeping things – you know, I kind of almost blew it."
The Electro recounted an anecdote from filming where he almost spoiled the presence of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men again by attempting to livestream the monumental moment on set:
"As soon as I got on the set and there was all three Spider-Mans, I was like this (picks up cell phone). ’Oh, we up in here, baby, ‘bout to go live...’ And somebody just dove on me like I was a fire. I was like, ‘What the hell?’ ‘Shh! No one’s supposed to know.’ ‘Okay, my bad. Okay, we ain’t supposed to know that all three of them are here!’ But I think they did a great job in doing that, bringing some mystique. And I think that that’s what was needed to get people back in the theater."
Did Spoilers Hurt Spider-Man: No Way Home?
While the execs at Marvel and Sony were likely more than a little displeased with Foxx's slip up, it can't exactly be said that it harmed the film. Indeed, No Way Home succeeded in bringing more fans back to the theaters in the post-lockdown era than any other before it, and the hype around the returning villains and heroes was certainly a part of that success.
Hype has become a sort of entity of its own in today's age. Everything from shows, to movies, to video games thrive on hype and walking the tight balance between promising the world and delivering what's realistic. Any leak—so long as it doesn't reveal too much—is in essence a form of free advertising. Media outlets grab up any kind of scoop and fans rush to theorycraft on forums and social media, spreading word of mouth and driving up interest in the project.
No Way Home is a stellar example of how leak-generated hype can benefit a project. There was just enough plausible deniability about the return of Maguire and Garfield for the average audience member for them to be on the edge of their seat waiting to see if the Spider-Men of old would appear. If this kind of information hadn't been propagated by leaks and insider scoops, the advertising alone may not have driven the same kind of discussion (and therefore hype) that was seen leading up to release.
Whether studios like Marvel will attempt to utilize false leaks to their advantage remains to be seen. The use of such tactics is a divisive topic among fans, and overuse of it could certainly backfire. As entertainment continues to move into the modern era, the impact of leaks and constructed hype will only evolve with the times. Which direction it goes in is anyone's guess.