The COVID-19 pandemic threw pretty much every human being in every single industry for a loop. There were hints that something like this could happen for years, but no one was prepared for it, and no one thought it would actually happen in our lifetime. That’s why between CinemaCon 2019, when studios declared that the “streaming and PVOD problem isn’t something we need to even think about,” became at CinemaCon 2021 that “we swear, we promise that people still want to to the movies in theaters, really, everything will be fine.” The Marvel Machine was absolutely one of the studios that really stumbled under the delays and restrictions of COVID-19. In 2019, Marvel leaned in hard to combine their movies and television shows which means that the order these things are released started to matter a lot more. They had to do some serious reshuffling to make this work, and one of those movies that really got the short end of the stick was Spider-Man: No Way Home. Star Tom Holland did a lengthy profile in GQ and talked about how the COVID delays really messed with the script of the movie.
The production of No Way Home sounds like total chaos. As the first day of filming approached, several key actors hadn’t signed on yet. “Some people were trying to figure out whether they wanted to do it, and we needed all of them or none,” Holland says. The movie was reportedly going to be released after the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, but when that film was delayed by COVID, it was decided that No Way Home would go first, requiring changes to the plot. Even once filming was underway, the script was being rewritten on an almost daily basis. “You could ask the director, ‘What happens in act three?’ And his response would be, ‘I’m still trying to figure it out,’ ” Holland says.
It sounds like the cameos for this movie, including people like Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, or other characters that are probably in this movie that we haven’t seen yet, weren’t finalized yet. According to Holland, these issues during the Spider-Man: No Way Home production was even present when it came to the big third act scene.
Anyway, the day finally came to shoot the big finale, “the crescendo scene, like, is this really fucking happening? It’s crazy.” Only, it wasn’t working. “I kept stopping and being like, ‘I’m so sorry, I just don’t believe what I’m saying.’ ” The director, Jon Watts, took him aside, and Holland told him: It wasn’t me. The scene was wrong. “We sat down, we went through it, and we came up with a new idea,” Holland says. “Then we pitched it to the writers, they rewrote it, and it works great.”
Holland and others have mentioned that Spider-Man: No Way Home is “Spider-Man: Endgame,” which a lot of people seem to indicate that Holland will be stepping away from the role after this movie. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Holland thinks it might be time for someone else to put on the mask. “Maybe it is time for me to move on,” Holland said. “Maybe what’s best for Spider-Man is that they do a Miles Morales film. I have to take Peter Parker into account as well because he is an important part of my life,” he says. But also: “If I’m playing Spider-Man after I’m 30, I’ve done something wrong.”
Summary: For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: No Way Home, directed by Jon Watts, stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau with Marisa Tomei. It will be released on December 17, 2021.