When Spider-Man: No Way Home made its way into theaters last month, it was chock-full of moments that surprised fans. Among them was the highly-rumored return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's previous incarnations of Spider-Man, who partnered up to help Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the film's climactic battle. Along the way, Maguire and Garfield's time onscreen provided some key moments and surprises that tied up plot points from their films, including Garfield's version of Peter Parker still being distraught over the death of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), which occurred in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In a recent interview with Variety, Garfield spoke about the experience of working on No Way Home, and argued that the storyline — and particularly, Garfield's Peter swooping in to save MJ Watson (Zendaya), was a "second chance."
"We were shooting for two weeks, Tobey and I, but I think we managed to achieve something that is not just showing up and going, 'Hi! Bye!'" Garfield explained. "My Spider-Man got to save his younger brother's romantic relationship, potentially. And to heal the most traumatic moment of his own life through doing it for his younger brother. Making sure that he didn't have the same fate, there's something cosmically beautiful about that. It meant getting a second chance at saving Gwen [Stacy, Garfield's love interest in "The Amazing Spider-Man" played by Emma Stone]. You know, the spirit that Zendaya brings to MJ is so heartfelt and pure and loving, and Emma brought that similar unique spirit to Gwen."
No Way Home co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers previously spoke about the narrative threads of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, and revealed that Garfield wanted to explore "a really dark place" with his character.
"The last time you saw Andrew Garfield, it was the death of Gwen, and that must have sent him down a dark spiral, maybe he never got out of," McKenna explained in a previous interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "We don't know, because there wasn't a third movie that we saw. Where did he go? Maybe a really dark place. 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."
"Tobey wanted to be very minimal about how much you know. Very, very minimal," McKenna continued. "Andrew really loved the idea of he's still tortured over what happened in Amazing Spider-Man 2 and where that left him, and how they could bring that to Tom. "We can empathize with you. We do know what you are going through. If anyone in the world knows what you're going through, it's us." But also, "We can be beacons." Tobey especially has come through that darkness. We thought it was cool that Andrew's Peter was still in the midst of that darkness. They weren't just here to go, "Two awesome Jedi knight heroes who show up and are going to help you take down the bad guys." They are going through their own things. We were trying to write up to the characters that they did such a great job of creating and really being true to those characters and those stories and those worlds so that it didn't feel like we were doing curtain call, fan-service."