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Good news, web-heads! Sony Pictures has published the official screenplay for Spider-Man: No Way Home (co-written by Holland trilogy vets, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers). While the script — which you can read via Deadline — is a beat-for-beat representation of what we ultimately got onscreen, it makes mention of something that didn't quite translate all that clearly for many viewers: a nod to the late great Stan Lee.
Prior to his passing in 2018, the legendary comic book creator made a small cameo appearance in almost every single Marvel production, including animated projects like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Even after his death, film crews still found subtle ways to pay homage to the man with the white mustache and ever-present sunglasses. No Way Home is no exception to that rule...kind of...
You see, the script called for MJ (Zendaya) to interact with a "Stan Lee lookalike" in the scene near the end of the movie where Peter (Tom Holland) enters the donut shop with a plan to jog his girlfriend's memory. The final sequence does feature an elderly gentleman sitting at the counter, but he he doesn't look much like Stan Lee. In fact, with a bit of a squint one could mistake him for Michael Douglas' portrayal of Hank Pym.
Was the concept for a pseudo-Stan Lee cameo scrapped or did they just not end up with a proper doppelgänger? We'll probably never know for certain.
Beyond that, there aren't many surprises to be found within the confines of the 182-page screenplay, though it is a lot fun to see how McKenna and Sommers introduce OG characters — like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus — with apparent relish. In addition, their system for distinguishing between the inter-dimensional Spider-Men is pretty simple: Tobey Maguire was labeled as "Raimi-Verse Peter" and Andrew Garfield became "Webb-Verse Peter." It's also worth mentioning that the final battle at the Statue of Liberty doesn't get into the specifics of what villains were about to pour through the multiversal rift caused by the explosion of Strange's spell. The outlines of Kraven the Hunter and Rhino must have come about during post-production.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio hopes the film can pull out some major Oscar victories, hence the publication of the screenplay. The prospect of the third entry in a mega-blockbuster genre franchise taking home some of the highest honors doled out at the Academy Awards isn't out of the realm of possibility. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King did just that back in 2004.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently playing in theaters everywhere. While Sony no doubt wants the film to play on the big screen for as long as possible (it's already the sixth-highest grossing title in box office history just after Avengers: Infinity War), there's a good chance No Way Home will arrive on home video as early as March.