Spider-Man: No Way Home is less than a month away, and it seems all anyone can talk about is how many different versions of Spider-Man will appear in this latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, despite all the incredible stuff we’ve seen in No Way Home’s trailers – including the return of Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx’s Electro, and several other baddies from Spidey’s pre-MCU adventures – fans remain fixated on what (or rather, who) they haven’t seen yet, instead.
But then, considering the buzz around No Way Home is that star Tom Holland will team up with his wall-crawling predecessors, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, it’s easy to see why nobody can focus on anything else. True, hard evidence of Maguire and Garfield’s involvement remains thin on the ground so far, however, that doesn’t mean fans should give up hope just yet. With that in mind, here are five ways Maguire and Garfield could factor into Spider-Man: No Way Home!
5. They don’t appear at all
Just because I said fans shouldn’t give up hope doesn’t mean I don’t also think they should be prepared for the worst. So, while most people won’t want to hear it, let me be clear: there’s a very real possibility that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield won’t appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Like, at all.
There isn’t a trace of either actor in any of the No Way Home trailers or TV spots (although Thor: Ragnarok set a precedent for Marvel Studios digitally altering pre-release footage) and the “leaked” set photos featuring Maguire and Garfield we’ve seen to-date have been dubious, at best. What’s more, the plot seems pretty busy as it is, without tossing additional prominent characters into the mix. So, who knows? Maybe director Jon Watts and Marvel Studios’ head honcho Kevin Feige thought Tom Holland’s Spider-Man going toe-to-toe with a horde of cross-continuity villains would be enough of a draw?
This seems pretty unlikely, though. After all, why go to the trouble of bringing back the villains from the Maguire and Garfield Spider-Man eras, if you’re not going to recruit the stars themselves? It simply doesn’t add up. Nevertheless, fans should still manage their expectations when it comes to Maguire and Garfield appearing in No Way Home, in case they wind up being no-shows.
4. They cameo via archival footage and outtakes
Arguably the cheapest scenario on this list (in more ways than one), Maguire and Garfield could appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home through digitally altered archival footage and unused outtakes from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man flicks. Of course, this depends on how much multiverse-hopping Holland’s webhead does in No Way Home – but if he does visit his non-MCU counterparts’ universes, this approach makes a lot of sense.
For example, by combining new footage of Holland with existing footage of Maguire, Watts could create a new scene where Holland’s Peter Parker stops by the Daily Bugle and briefly encounters the version of Parker played by Maguire. Similarly, Holland’s Parker could bump into Garfield’s after winding up in a cross-dimensional version of Midtown Science High School!
This approach wouldn’t be a first for Marvel Studios, either. Natalie Portman’s small cameo in Avengers: Endgame was achieved by recycling unused footage from Thor: The Dark World, combined with new audio recorded by Portman. Of course, going down this route would limit how much Holland interacts with his fellow Spider-Men and would almost certainly disappoint fans expecting a “real” Holland/Maguire/Garfield team-up – but don’t rule it out as a possibility.
3. They have an extended cameo during the finale
While most fans want Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to be a major part of Spider-Man: No Way Home, this doesn’t seem overly realistic – but an extended cameo during the film’s finale could be on the cards. Basically, this would amount to the Maguire and Garfield incarnations of Spider-Man swinging in to save the day at the last minute, a split second before Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is overwhelmed by villains from Maguire and Garfield’s universes.
This set-up would allow give fans all the cross-dimensional webhead action and interplay they’re craving (including an obligatory shot of all three Spideys with their masks off), without further blowing out the film’s already considerable 148-minute runtime. This is also probably the most substantial Maguire/Garfield appearance that Watts and Feige could engineer without it leaking – lending even greater credibility to this scenario.
2. They cameo via digital doubles
We’ve already covered using archival and outtake footage to include Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but another, similar avenue Watts and Feige could explore is the all-CGI approach. Using digital doubles of Maguire and Garfield would also require minimal direct participation from both stars – but unlike with archival footage, Maguire and Garfield’s synthetic stand-ins could properly take part in the film’s blockbuster action scenes.
In practice, this would essentially amount to a stripped-back version of the extended cameo mentioned above. Digital versions of Maguire and Garfield as Spider-Man would show up for No Way Home’s climactic battle, only they’d interact far less with Holland – we’re talking fewer close-up shots, and likely none where either pixel-powered performer removes their mask. Maguire and Garfield could record new dialogue (like Portman did for Avengers: Endgame), but even then, Watts could just as easily repurpose existing audio, too. Another very real possibility, this one.
1. They’re key supporting characters
Of course, there’s one final possibility to consider: maybe Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield really are key supporting players in Spider-Man: No Way Home. I don’t just mean the pair showing up in spandex for 10 to 15 minutes at the end; I’m talking about at least an hour of screen time, complete with proper dramatic scenes and character arcs – the whole shebang.
Now, the odds of things panning out this way are slim, at best. Even with the considerable resources of Marvel Studios at their disposal (not to mention Garfield’s near-limitless capacity to deflect suspicion), surely there’s no way Watts and Feige have kept a secret this big under wraps for long? I just don’t think there is.
That said, the prospect of seeing Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield all suited up as Spider-Man and carrying an entire movie together is beyond awesome – so I’m more than happy to be proven wrong when Spider-Man: No Way Home finally hits theatres in the UK on 15 December.