Spider-Man VFX Supervisor Reveals the Big Differences Between the 3 Spider-Men

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures' Spider-Man: No Way Home took some of the biggest chances in any superhero movie ever, particularly by bringing Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire's web-slingers all into the same film. After keeping the secrets about their arrival in the MCU for more than a year, Garfield and Maguire made their presence felt in a big way in the threequel's third act.

Although part of the trio's time together saw them putting on their scientist caps to develop cures for the Multiversal villains, the cheers and thrills came from seeing all three in their red-and-blue suits fighting bad guys. From witnessing Maguire and Garfield back in their Spidey suits to taking in moments where these heroes interacted with the MCU's regulars, the threequel found a way to deliver moments that meant something to the fans and the story alike.

Even though fans were hoping to see the Spider-Man trio team up for such a long time, the big challenge for the team behind the threequel was making sure that each one stood out without the action being too muddled or the heroes looking too similar. Recently, one of No Way Home's VFX supervisors shared how the team tackled that important responsibility.

How No Way Home Differentiated the 3 Spider-Men

Spider-Man: No Way Home, Spider-Men

Spider-Man: No Way Home visual effects supervisor Chris Waegner spoke with befores & afters about how he and the team made sure all three Spider-Men stood out from one another in the film's third act.

Waegner was specifically asked about the conversations the team had regarding the different behaviors and swinging that would help fans tell the difference between the three versions of the web-slinger. As it turns out, this was "very important" to all parties involved, which included director Jon Watts and VFX supervisor Kelly Port.

It was particularly challenging at first due to all three of the Spider-Man suits looking fairly "similar in tonal values," and combined with the fact that their team-up happened in the middle of the night, it forced the team to focus more heavily on the task at hand.

"Being able to identify each individual Spider-Man was very important to both Jon and Kelly. Early on it was quite challenging because their suits are pretty similar in tonal values and since our sequence takes place at night this only exacerbated their individual readability. It became pretty obvious once we started lighting shots what we had to do."

The efforts were focused on making sure each Spider-Man's "individual spider-style" came through in their acting and the VFX work. Waegner explained how the notable differences between the Spider-Men's swinging, web-shooting, and physical proportions & poses were the key factors in making each costumed Spider-Man unique from one another:

"We focused our efforts on really bringing forward each of the Spider-Mens physical personalities or their individual spider-style, if you will – how they swung, how they shoot webs, their physical proportions when they achieve an iconic pose. So our animation supervisor, Rich Smith, who has also worked on several Spider-Man films, had our animation team review the previous films. We studied clips of each actor and reviewed their individual spider-style from these films. We then layered in these signature performance characteristics so that each Spider-Man had their own unique style when seen next to each other."

Spider-Man History Brought to Life in No Way Home

Bringing three different variations of Peter Parker into the same live-action movie is a challenge in itself. On top of that was the struggle of making sure each hero brought their own unique style to the table while bringing that classic Spidey style, especially with Maguire having his own solo trilogy and Garfield boasting his own pair of Amazing Spider-Man films.

As the No Way Home team did for the entire film, they heavily analyzed and dissected all five live-action Spidey entries from the days before the MCU to see exactly how Maguire and Garfield brought their heroes to the big screen. Although they stood out and brought their own flair as solo heroes, the next step was making sure they kept that history going while also combining their efforts with Tom Holland, who had five previous adventures as Spidey under his own belt.

Holland, Maguire, and Garfield all had their own unique suits with different cosmetic designs, but they all moved differently from one another as well, especially considering how much time had passed since the last non-MCU Spidey films too. Maguire had to deal with the back issues he tackles with Garfield, while Garfield showed off his particularly limber nature compared to the others at different moments in the fight.

Even something as simple as the way they swung on webs or posed in the air had to be taken into account to make sure their time on screen looked right, both as a trio and as individuals. Considering how much time the VFX team spent making sure this came through the right way, it seems only right that their scenes together remain such a hot topic.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters worldwide.

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.