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What was once a series of unconfirmed casting reports is now revealed in trailers for the world to see: Spider-Man: No Way Home is a big franchise villain reunion. From Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus to Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Jamie Foxx's Electro, the film promises to bring together villains from various previous Spider-Man incarnations to battle Tom Holland's Peter Parker in an epic, multiversal showdown. It's an ambitious play for a film that's also about a young superhero still coming to grips with his place in the world and reeling from being publicly outed as Spider-Man, but according to Tom Holland, it didn't all come together until the last possible moment.
In a sprawling new profile of Holland -- who's also preparing for the release of the Uncharted film early next year -- over at GQ, the young star revealed that No Way Home's big, universe-hopping villain gambit was an all-or-nothing sort of prospect, and the film's production schedule made that tricky. Once upon a time, No Way Home was actually going to arrive after another big multiverse exploration, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but due to pandemic schedule shuffling, the next Spider-Man film ended up coming first. That meant the film was actually in production before all of the villain stars said yes.
“Some people were trying to figure out whether they wanted to do it, and we needed all of them or none,” Holland said.
Molina, Foxx, and Dafoe ultimately all signed on (though the Lizard and Sandman appear in the film, there's not full confirmation on who's playing them just yet), but that wasn't the end of the film's chaotic production woes. Because of the schedule reshuffling, the film had to be rewritten to accommodate its place ahead of Multiverse of Madness, which meant that even once shooting began, the script wasn't exactly done.
“You could ask the director, ‘What happens in act three?’ And his response would be, ‘I’m still trying to figure it out,’ ” Holland recalled.
Finishing a film's script after it's already in production isn't as uncommon as you might think in blockbuster production (just ask anyone familiar with the making of Quantum of Solace, to name just one example), but in at least one instance, in No Way Home's "crescendo scene," it knocked Holland back on his heels. The young star, now in his sixth outing as Peter Parker, put his foot down.
“I kept stopping and being like, ‘I’m so sorry, I just don’t believe what I’m saying,'" Holland recalled. "[Director Jon Watts and I] sat down, we went through it, and we came up with a new idea. Then we pitched it to the writers, they rewrote it, and it works great.”
We'll have to wait another month to see if Holland Watts' big new idea for No Way Home's crescendo pays off. In the meantime, Holland also yet another response to that eternal question that even the film's latest trailer didn't answer: What about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield?
“No one believes me, but they’re not in the film,” he said.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters December 17, so extra Spider-Men or not, we'll finally know for sure soon enough.