Spider-Man: No Way Home swung its way into theaters earlier this month, bringing a truly unexpected take on the Spider-Man mythos to the big screen. Arguably the biggest surprise of the blockbuster film was the return of the previous live-action Spider-Man actors, with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield both reprising their roles as Peter Parker. While the notion of them potentially appearing in No Way Home had been speculated about for months prior, the thematic nature of how both versions of the character returned definitely surprised fans, offering just enough hints as to what has happened to each character since their films wrapped.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, No Way Home co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers dove into the nature of Maguire and Garfield's returns — and revealed how Garfield wanted his version of the character to be portrayed, after the tragic ending of his last onscreen appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
"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. "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."
It's safe to say that the film's approach to Maguire and Garfield's returns has already paid off, with fans already clamoring for Garfield's take on the character to come back again, either in a proper sequel to the Amazing Spider-Man series or in some sort of ensemble film.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now in theaters.