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No matter how hard he tries and how often he saves the day, there is always something going awry for Spider-Man, especially this new plucky teenage version of the web-slinger swinging across the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So when things seem to be looking up for the friendly neighborhood wallcrawler by the end of director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home, it’s clearly just a matter of time before things get turned on their head.
But save for another Infinity Gauntlet snap, nothing could have shocked audiences more than what happens in the movie’s mid-credit sequence.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home below**
At the end of the movie, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) takes MJ (Zendaya) on a romantic swing through midtown Manhattan, then drops her off on the west side of 8th Avenue, behind Madison Square Garden. During the mid-credits scene, Spidey is sitting on a streetlamp when the screen on the side of MSG turns on, with a newsflash from NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan. The broadcaster introduces a video from tabloid site TheDailyBugle.net, in which J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons, whose return provided enough of a shock) in turn introduces a doctored video produced by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Not only does Mysterio blame the madness and destruction of the movie’s final act on Spider-Man, but he also reveals the hero's true identity, putting Peter Parker on blast and his friends and family in the crosshairs.
It’s a game-changing, franchise-altering moment for Spider-Man and the entire MCU, which just retired three of its leading heroes in April’s Avengers: Endgame. And given how carefully — and far in advance — executive producer Kevin Feige and his team plot out the events of the gigantic cinematic universe, the decision to make such a shocking turn wasn’t an automatic or easy one.
“They kept on telling us to find ways to raise the stakes, raise the stakes, and then when that idea was floated, people instantly went, 'Well, maybe that is raising the stakes too much,’” screenwriter Chris McKenna, who wrote the movie alongside writing partner Erik Sommers, tells SYFY WIRE. “[They asked,] ‘Do we really want to do that?’ Because obviously it's such a huge point of no return for Peter and the series.”
After some internal debate and reflection — the team’s mantra might as well be “When something scares you, you might be on the right path,” McKenna says — they decided to throw caution to the wind and Peter Parker into the public spotlight. There have been comic book stories in which his identity has been public, which can provide some guidance to the writers of the next chapter of the MCU, though those next steps weren’t plotted out or even much considered while Far From Home was in production.
“It was really a conversation that we had for a long time as we made this movie,” Sommers explains. “I think that that's as far ahead as it was planned. Once that idea was reached and decided upon, that became the reality, and everything moving forward is just going to have to reflect that.”
That's probably to be expected — much of the movie deals with the fallout of Endgame, but the first time McKenna and Sommers saw that climactic blockbuster — or knew its whole plot — was at the film's Hollywood premiere. Until then, all the information was parceled out as needed — not out of stinginess, but simply necessity.
"We never read a script, but they told us everything that we needed to know," Sommers says. "Marvel is a tightly run ship, and they obviously have huge secrets to keep, and they do a really good job of keeping them, but they certainly let us know everything that we needed to. We could always ask the folks from Marvel, Hey, does this happen? Does that happen? What if we do this, how does that fit? And we would always promptly get an answer back."
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now in theaters.