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Spider-Man No Way Home 2.png

The Best Cameos In 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Are The Ones You Didn't Expect, And Other Spoilers

By Tori Preston | Film | December 20, 2021 |

By Tori Preston | Film | December 20, 2021 |

Spider-Man No Way Home 2.png

WARNING: This is a SPOILER post. If you have not seen Spider-Man: No Way Home and don’t want to know what happens, now is your time to exit!

Still with me? Cool, let’s do this.

So the internet was right all along. Happy, internet? You won. Those guys you said were in the movie were, in fact, in the movie. Thanks to Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) causing a little multiversal oopsie, familiar faces from past eras of Spider-Man movies show up… including Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as alternaPeters. What redeems this cool, if blatant, bit of fan pandering is that they aren’t just a third-act Hail Mary to help our Peter save the day. They provide the sort of emotional guidance we saw Spider Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and all those other wacky Spideys offer Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. And here’s where we come up on the other big spoiler of the movie — the reason why Peter (Holland) needs that guidance at this particular moment in time…

Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) dies.

Yes, Green Goblin kills May, which hurts all the more because it’s the exact sort of personal tragedy our version of Peter hasn’t faced on screen yet. May had been the one pushing Peter to help these villains from the start, precisely because she realized how damaged Norman Osborn was (remember, the Goblin is essentially an alternate personality that takes over), and it leads to a death scene where May delivers the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech. Three movies in and Peter is finally handed his moral compass AND his biggest challenge to following it, as he wants nothing more than to ignore his responsibility and seek revenge.

The Maguire and Garfield Peters are no strangers to loss, and they use their experiences — the plots of their movies — to try and steer our Peter back toward the light. They also receive the opportunity to exorcise a few of their own demons, such as Garfield-Peter swooping down and saving a plummeting MJ (Zendaya) from the same fate he failed to rescue Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) from. So while yes, the multi-Peter-mashup leads to lots of finger-pointing and referential shenanigans, what makes it truly satisfying is the emotional weight of their joining forces. Spider-Man: No Way Home knew what made those other Spideys tick, and the movie is a love letter to them AND to Holland’s Peter. In fact, if you squint you could even say the end of No Way Home brings the three Spideys full circle, as our Peter lets Strange cast the spell to make the world forget him, sacrificing his friends and his entire life as he knows it to resolve the mess he created. He chooses to be Spider-Man at the expense of being Peter Parker. Then he moves into a dingy apartment almost exactly like the one Maguire’s Peter rented and gets to work studying for his GED.

The internet was also right about Charlie Cox reprising his role as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, which — combined with Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) returning in Hawkeye — confirms that the Netflix/Marvel joints are MCU canon in reality rather than just theory… but it still doesn’t explain why none of these heroes ever met up before now, like say that time when Loki attacked NYC with a bunch of aliens. Cox only shows up for a scene, acting as legal counsel for Peter, so if you were hoping for a Daredevil/Spidey team-up you’ll have to content yourself with Murdock catching a brick in midair and pretending it’s all thanks to his awesome lawyer powers.

Since we all pretty much KNEW these guys were going to show up in No Way Home, I’m handing the real two-way tie for Best Cameo award to the actual surprises the movie delivered: Stewy from Succession and Dani Rojas from Ted Lasso! I mean, OK, “cameo” might be stretching it. It’s more like “Bit Parts Played By Guys You Know From Those Shows You Like, Whom The MCU Will Never Mention Again” but I’ll take what I can get. Arian Moayed plays Agent Cleary, a member of Damage Control who shows up to interrogate Peter and pals about the death of Mysterio and the events in London from Far From Home. Cristo Fernández has an even more thankless part as a bartender in one of the end credit scenes, which brings me to…

Mid Credit Scene:
The first end credit scene is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED (by me, shut up) return of Eddie Brock, and picks up where we last saw the character in the mid-credit scene of Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Eddie (Tom Hardy) has also been swept up in Strange’s spell-gone-wrong, probably because Venom is another character that knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man. In… a different reality? Or something? Anyway, the scene opens with Eddie sitting at a bar in Mexico while Cristo Fernández explains all about Thanos and the Snap — things that happened in the MCU, but seeming did not happen in Venom. And just when Eddie and Venom are agreed that maybe they should head to NYC and track down this Spider-Man… the second Doctor Strange spell, the one that resolves the Multiversal fracture, catches up to them and sends them back where they came from. Mostly. Because it turns out Venom left behind a teensy bit of symbiote goo on the bar before he left, and I can only assume this means that DANI ROJAS IS GOING TO BE MCU VENOM. *stomps around shouting “Venom Is Life!”*


End Credit Scene:

After all the credits have rolled, you’re rewarded with a trailer for the upcoming Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, due in theaters next May. The trailer hints at Stephen facing some repercussions for his poor decision making in No Way Home as well as a team-up with Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), the return of Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and the introduction of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). But the biggest surprise comes at the end of the trailer when it introduces an alternate Doctor Strange — an evil one, who may already be familiar to anyone who bothered to watch the Disney+ series What If…?. One episode of the show centered on a reality where Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) dies, and Strange breaks bad trying to amass the power to change her fate… and destroys his universe in the process. However, the finale of the series hinges on that same Evil Doctor Strange helping The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) save the Multiverse, so maybe he isn’t all bad! It’s worth noting that the way Strange traps his messed-up spell in No Way Home looks an awful lot like the way Evil Doctor Strange was trapped in What If…?, and if the movies really are pulling from the cartoon series then maybe Zombie Scarlet Witch will be on tap as well! Or, OK, more likely The Watcher…

Ultimately it’s clear that the Multiverse drama Loki teed up isn’t the same event we just saw in No Way Home, but will probably be the stuff of the Doctor Strange sequel. Instead No Way Home offered us a very targeted glimpse at what happens when the walls between realities fail — and I mean that literally. If you pay attention to the telltale purple rifts in space as Strange casts both spells, you start to see the outlines of figures who presumably could encroach on our reality. I could have sworn I saw the Silver Surfer during the first spell and other figures like Kraven the Hunter and The Watcher during the second spell.

Odds And Ends:

- Though Miles Morales isn’t included, there is a moment where Jamie Foxx’s Electro expresses his surprise that his Spidey, Andrew Garfield, isn’t Black — then muses that somewhere there must be a Black Spider-Man. Perhaps somewhere IN THE SPIDER-VERSE?!

- Agent Cleary confirms that the Nick Fury who helped Peter during Far From Home wasn’t the real Nick Fury, because the REAL Nick Fury has been off-world for about a year. We, of course, know that it was the shapeshifting Skrull named Talos who impersonated Nick Fury, but… honestly it’s nice they give us these little reminders of who is where when because it’s a lot to keep track of DURING A PANDEMIC.

- Ned Leeds is magic, y’all! Or at least he’s able to open the portals using Doctor Strange’s magic ring-thingy. #TeamSorcererNed

- I can not emphasize enough how badly I want to see an alien goo-covered Cristo Fernández, or even just, like, a six-episode Disney + series about that bartender. Same goes for Agent Stewy.