After months of rumors, speculation, and leaks, Spider-Man: No Way Home is out in the world and all its secrets have been revealed. The third MCU Spidey film has certainly lived up to the hype having broken pandemic box office records and having satisfied fans with the introduction of a Multiverse of heroes that builds on Sony's previous Spider-Man movies.
While Spider-Man: No Way Home may be Tom Holland's third solo Spider-Man movie, it also happens to focus on three Spider-Men. Legacy Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield proved all the rumors to be true when they appeared mid-way through Spider-Man: No Way Home.
While Garfield and Maguire's roles in the film may not have come as much of a surprise after months of speculation, what was more surprising was how integral the two Spider-Men were to the film's story.
Interviews with Spider-Man: No Way Home's screenwriters have revealed that both Maguire and Garfield were signed on to the film quite early on in the process and the actors both had input on No Way Home's script and their character's journeys. Nailing the distinction between Holland, Garfield and Maguire's Spider-Men was particularly important for No Way Home as audiences were seeing three live-action Peter Parker variants on-screen together for the first time.
How Tom Holland's Spider-Man Differs From Tobey Maguire & Andrew Garfield's
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Spider-Man: No Way Home screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers explained the differences between the trio of Peter Parkers in the film.
McKenna said that while all three actors are playing Peter Parker their characters "are not the same person" and they share an affinity more "like brothers" who have "each suffered in [their] own way."
"They are different. They are not the same person. They are born of the same experience and the same spider-bite. They are like brothers. No one knows the heaven and hell of what it is to be in an experience quite like your sibling. No one knows what this family is like. At least they got a sense of, 'You’re not alone. There’s a community. You guys have each suffered in your own way.' And then to get to help heal each other, it was wonderful to be a part of getting there."
The screenwriter said that one of the main things that set Tom Holland's Peter Parker apart from Maguire and Garfield's is that he "is the only one of these three who has had Tony Stark in his life."
"Hopefully you start seeing this is a different Peter Parker. They are all different. They have had different origins. They have had different contexts and this Peter is the only one of these three who has had a Tony Stark in his life. So he chases the fame. He chases this father figure and approval from this billionaire, philanthropist playboy. Then he realizes, 'I don’t want to be an Avenger. I’m chasing the wrong thing.' And the next movie was, 'I can’t be Iron Man. I can only be Spider-Man.'”
McKenna explained that one of the main things that sets Holland's Parker on "a dark path" in No Way Home is the same thing the other Spider-Men have gone through: "the death of a loved one at the hands of a villain":
"In this one, there is a whole new way he has to get tested about what these other two guys have been tested by. By the death of a loved one at the hands of a villain. What are you going to do about that? They help him get there. I think people can draw from it what they want, but these were the things we were working with as we were moving towards the creation of this story for him and really taking him down a dark path. I think it’s the darkest place he’s ever gone."
Peter 1, Peter 2, and Peter 3
The MCU has slowly been introducing the concept of variants throughout Phase 4, with series like Loki showing audiences just how many different versions of the same character can exist. For Spider-Man: No Way Home, however, this was made slightly easier as most viewers were already familiar with Garfield and Maguire's iterations of Spider-Man on screen.
Holland's Peter Parker stands apart from his previous iterations for a number of reasons, but the main one is his introduction into the MCU which saw him appear in Captain America: Civil War before his own solo film. This instantly differentiated Holland's Parker, who was already established as Spider-Man, rather than diving into the well-known backstory that inspired him to put on the mask.
Spider-Man: No Way Home actually helped to introduce a lot of Peter Parker's historical backstory moments into the MCU thanks to the use of Maguire and Garfield's Peter Parkers. The trio was able to bond over their shared grief and trauma and even ruminated over the pivotal "with great power comes great responsibility" line that Spider-Man is known for.
While some of the comical moments in Spider-Man: No Way Home lean into the idea that the three Peter Parkers are the same, the film relies heavily on each actor's different portrayal of their Spider-Man to set them apart and establish them as brothers rather than just variants.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in cinemas now.