Spider-Man: No Way Home is exceeding expectations on almost every level imaginable as it moves past the second full weekend of its theatrical run. After more than two years of hype, the threequel became one of the fastest movies ever to reach $1 billion at the global box office while coming in as one of the best-reviewed movies amongst fans and critics, particularly as Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire made their glorious returns.
No Way Home’s promotional tour largely focused on the movie’s use of the Multiverse, especially as new villains came into play through both rumors and official reports surrounding the movie. With Alfred Molina fully explaining his return as Doctor Octopus and other stars like Willem Dafoe and Jamie Foxx teasing their returns, this movie turned into an event unlike anything in MCU history.
Maguire and Garfield’s comebacks were this movie’s biggest mystery, even as reports teased their roles and Garfield denied any chance of them coming into play. As it turns out, not only did they appear in the movie, but they also had their own ideas on exactly how to put the best versions of their heroes into the MCU.
Spider-Man Writers on Tobey Maguire's Return
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Spider-Man: No Way Home screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers shared some of the processes behind developing the MCU's latest theatrical release. Specifically, they addressed how great it was to work with Spider-Man stars Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to bring their characters into the MCU.
Sommers expressed how both actors had plenty of input on where their Spider-Men have gone since their solo movies, which helped the writing team bring them back the right way:
"They had thoughts, and it was really interesting and helpful to see their thoughts. No one knows the character as well as — or gives as much thought to the character — as someone who has to then embody it and sell it. It’s always valuable to hear what the actor is thinking. It definitely shaped what we did."
McKenna followed up by praising the "great ideas" both actors had, which "elevated" what the team behind No Way Home was going for as their heroes "[helped Tom Holland's] Peter on his journey" to be the best Spider-Man possible:
"They had great ideas that really elevated everything we were going for and added layers and an arc and we really actually started honing into the idea that these two guys were really helping Tom’s Peter on his journey to becoming who he ends up becoming. There’s a crucial, moral moment that they help him get through in the climax of the movie. So much of that was brought by Tobey and Andrew’s ideas and shaping of what they thought their characters could bring to this story."
McKenna then moved to how he and the team brought Maguire and Garfield back into the fray while continuing each hero's individual stories at the same time. It was a difficult balance between making sure their journeys made sense, but not "spilling all the beans" and making it completely fan-service-dependent:
"We were like, 'We’ve got to make them each very specific.' As writers, we kept saying, 'Where are these characters in their lives when they come into the movie?' Where is Tobey? We’re not de-agifying him. He’s a guy who is 43, who is entering this movie... We wanted to be true to the characters in those movies. Really having conversations about specifying where they are, without giving away too much. Not coming in, spilling all the beans. 'Tobey’s Peter is running Peter Parker Industries!' You just wanted to have little hints of that without it being all this exposition as fan service."
The screenwriter specifically noted Maguire's input on his version of Spider-Man, saying that the actor requested "very minimal" backstory about where the hero has been since last appearing in 2007's Spider-Man 3:
"Tobey wanted to be very minimal about how much you know. Very, very minimal... Tobey especially has come through that darkness."
Maguire's Insight on His Spider-Man in the MCU
Tobey Maguire famously played the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy from 2002 to 2007, although he remained completely silent on his return as the web-slinger in Marvel Studios' Spidey threequel. With no de-aging in play for his character this time around, Maguire seemed willing to take on the challenge of figuring out exactly where his character has been over nearly two decades in-universe.
While the comebacks for Maguire and Garfield were turning point moments in No Way Home, there was still the task of making their appearances have the right impact without taking away from Tom Holland's story, even for the hype surrounding this team-up. Part of what made that so difficult was getting the right amount of fan service in the mix to make sure all three heroes got their due shine.
In the end, the original Spider-Man had the chance to tell just enough of the story fans saw in his own trilogy to help push Holland into the best version of Spider-Man possible.
Referencing the death of his Uncle Ben while commenting on his relationship with Mary-Jane, Maguire's hero's journey made its mark on the MCU's Peter Parker and assured him that he was doing the right thing. Knowing that Maguire actually gave his own thoughts on how to work that into his comeback shows his understanding of his Spider-Man and what makes those around him tick.
As No Way Home moves further along into its theatrical run, fans will be looking forward to more stories like this one that show how invested the movie's cast and crew were in developing such a meaningful story.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters.