Any Spider-Man film is an event, but there's something different about Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: No Way Home. Starring Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch, this upcoming threequel explores Spider-Man's struggles with the loss of his secret identity, the Multiverse, and a cast of villains from both Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy and Andrew Garfield's from The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel.
Even though Sony and Marvel have shared the character of Spider-Man from the beginning, a franchise crossover of this nature is unprecedented; and while Marvel's Phase 4 focus on the Multiverse appears to be the explanation, the real-world tale of how both studios tackled such a task is only beginning to be heard.
Now, just weeks away from No Way Home's theatrical debut, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has opened up on the how and why behind this ambitious film.
Kevin Feige Explains the Return of Past Spidey Villains
Even though the story reasons behind Green Goblin, Electro, and company's return in No Way Home remains a mystery, in talking with Screen Rant, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained why Sony and Marvel's reasons for doing so, saying, "anything is possible if enough people believe in it:"
"I think if we've learned anything over the years, and particularly just the deal between Disney and Sony to do these movies together, that almost anything is possible if enough people believe in it and have a passion for it."
Since Tom Holland's MCU Spider-Man is the third web-slinger to grace the silver screen, his trilogy - and this new film - needed to be different.
Feige touched on this, explaining that Peter Parker's loss of anonymity set the character "on a course for things we'd never seen before" in a Spider-Man film, as well as admitting his own interest in doing things "people haven't seen before:"
"Kicking off with Peter Parker's identity being revealed at the end of Far From Home immediately set us on a course for things we'd never seen before in a Spider-Man movie. That's the fun of making movies, is to do things people haven't seen before..."
Feige also acknowledged that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange was the ideal "conduit" for bringing the casts of these various films together in one film, stating, "...and in the MCU there are ways that lots of amazing things can happen, and that Dr. Strange would be a good conduit to that."
"On a personal note, it's very surreal with Willem being back and Alfred Molina being back from two movies that were at the very beginning of my career, and the first time I met Amy and watched her run a studio and put those movies together was amazing learning for me and now to be doing it together is surreal and a dream."
Risk & Nostalgia Contributed to No Way Home Crossover?
In comparison to past franchises in Hollywood history, the MCU is an anomaly. In just over a decade, the studio has churned out more than twenty films that have succeeded at the box office and shaped pop culture, and still, fans want more.
While there are many factors contributing to Marvel Studios' success and audience interest in MCU films, one of them is Marvel's Kevin Feige and the studio's willingness to take risks.
Regardless of what the Hollywood elite might say, the MCU is constantly playing with new genres, finding new talent and directors, and experimenting with new themes and narratives. If the studio is formulaic, one can't deny that risk is a key element.
After all, Feige admitted that "doing things people haven't seen before" is why he thinks making movies is fun - a sentiment rarely heard from a studio head. However, his feelings are on par with that of the audience as not knowing what to expect is why they think Marvel movies are fun.
Feige also knows that characters mean something to audiences, just like how the original Spider-Man trilogy meant something to him. Nostalgia sells, but it must be paired with something new and serve the story; and from what fans have seen of No Way Home so far, that's what this film intends to do.
So what's the reasoning behind Marvel and Sony bringing the casts of three Spidey films into one? Since anything is possible now, the answer is surprisingly simple. Like the fans, it was something they hadn't seen before, and they wanted to.
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17, 2021.