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Easter Eggs You Missed In Spider-Man: No Way Home

When "Spider-Man: No Way Home" was screened for critics a few days before release, it was preceded by a cute video featuring the film's stars. Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon reminded everyone to keep the cinematic experience pure, to not reveal any spoilers and let audiences enjoy the many surprises to be found in the film. Then the camera cut to Jamie Foxx, who was in agreement.

"But Jamie," he was told, "you are a spoiler."

In response the Oscar-winner, who played Electro in 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," could only feign outrage. "What do you mean I'm a spoiler?"

Obviously, the video was played for laughs. But it also inadvertently captured the key conundrum of "No Way Home": How can you discuss the movie, if you can't discuss the movie? Before its release, the Interwebs were rife with stories about how Jamie Foxx was returning as Max Dillon/Electro, Willem Dafoe was back as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, Alfred Molina was stepping back into the tentacles of Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus, Thomas Haden Church was once again Sandman and Rhys Ifans was The Lizard. Then there's the whole Tobey/Andrew thing.

So, if you haven't seen the movie, if you want to remain spoiler-free, please bookmark this article and then come on back and read it after you've seen "No Way Home." Go ahead, we'll wait.

If you're still here, it's time to discuss all the Easter eggs in "No Way Home," and discuss them as adults — albeit, adults geeking out over a movie about three guys in blue-and-red tights fighting octopus, sand and electricity men. So without further ado, here's a breakdown of some key references, callbacks and world-building in "No Way Home."

Blowing His Own Bugle

Over the last couple years, the impending steam train of the multiverse has been sounded by none other than J. Jonah Jameson. At the conclusion of 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home," the re-emergence of Jameson came as a delightful surprise for fans, not only because the iconic Spidey employer/nemesis hadn't yet been seen in Tom Holland's "Home" movies, but also because Jameson was played once again by Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons. Simmons ended "Far from Home" revealing to the world that Spider-Man was Peter Parker, and could be seen doing so again in a post-credits scene from "Venom: Let There Be Carnage."

In "No Way Home," Jameson picks up right where he left off. Hilariously referring to Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio as "The greatest superhero of all time," his DailyBugle.net is a propaganda machine powered by biased misinformation and an agenda to sell sketchy pills ("Daily Bugle supplements. The only other daily fix you need!"). We'll leave it up to your imagination to speculate on which dubiously-motivated political TV commentators the character might be satirizing, but this much is certain: His personal vendetta is making Peter's life a living hell.

Turning public sentiment against Peter Parker, we see that even Coach Wilson (Hannibal Buress) is carrying a "Mysterio was right" coffee mug. The other teachers describe him as a conspiracy theorist.

The biggest conspiracy, however, might be one "No Way Home" never addresses. Time and time again, it is made clear that although some of the characters in this multiverse story share the same name, none of them look alike. So, why do Tom Holland Peter Parker and Tobey Maguire Peter Parker both share the same J. Jonah Jameson? Perhaps on some cutting room floor, there's a scene where Maguire sees J.K. Simmons as Jameson and gets a look of recognition in his eyes. But for now, it's just another mystery of the multiverse.

Lining Up

While the script may bea bit lacking plot-wise, one strength of "No Way Home" is how clever it can be with some of its references. At times, this is manifested in laugh-out-loud one liners; in other moments, it comes out in clever observations about Spider-Man plot points audiences are so accustomed to simply accepting that they may have forgotten how ridiculous it is.

Take Jamie Foxx's Electro, for example. Arguably the funniest character in the whole film, his Max Dillon bonds with Thomas Haden Church's Sandman (even though they are from different universes) as they both realize their superpowers were given to them via an accident — Flint Marko fell into a particle accelerator, Dillon fell into a pool of genetically-engineered electric eels. "Damn," sighs Electro. "You gotta be careful where you fall."

Another neat line comes from Betty Brant (Angourie Rice), reporting as usual on school events and newly aware (like everyone else in the world) of Peter Parker's dual life. She says "Go get 'em, tiger. Or should I say ... spider?" The line is fun because she begins by quoting Tobey Maguire-universe MJ (Kirsten Dunst), then flips it on its ear. Of course, Kirsten Dunst's delivery of the line was itself paying homage to Mary Jane Watson in the comics (who has been fond of the pet name "Tiger" since the '60s), so think of Betty as continuing to pay it forward.

Another intriguing one-liner occurs when Peter is brought into an interrogation-like situation following his exposure as Spider-Man. While trying to defend himself, Peter Parker says that Nick Fury could vouch for his heroic actions. "Nick Fury has been off-planet for the last year," he is told.

Between the last "Avengers" films and "Spider-Man: Far From Home," it had been established that when Nick Fury returned from the Blip, he attended Tony Stark's funeral and then arranged to have Talos and Soren impersonate him and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) so he (or possibly both of them) could take a vacation/work on a secret mission aboard a Skrull spaceship. This vacation seems likely to be wrapping up, with the timing to coincide with the upcoming "Secret Invasion" Disney+ series focused on the Skrulls. That's what the line is referencing.

Finally, the last one-liner isn't even in "No Way Home," but almost certainly references the events in it. In the most recent episode of the Disney+ series "Hawkeye," (Episode 5), new Black Widow Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) discusses being in New York for the first time. She makes reference to wanting to visit various landmarks, including "the new and improved Statue of Liberty," which we see in the film is under construction to replace its torch with Captain America's shield. Since small indications (Christmas music, decorations) pinpoint "No Way Home" as likely taking place in December, the Hawkeye series and Spider-Man film seem to be set concurrently.

Peter Parker Shop-Talk

Arguably, the most entertaining scenes in "No Way Home" have nothing to do with car-flipping highway confrontations, Doctor Strange math battles or even Statue of Liberty smackdowns. Rather than action and special effects, the real fun occurs during a handful of quiet moments when Spidey and his two new Spider-Man pals — played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — compare notes on their 3 somewhat similar but frequently distinct universes.

Maguire and Garfield suffered a tragedy with their Uncle Ben; Holland did not. Maguire and Holland have an MJ; Garfield does not. Holland and Maguire have both fought aliens (Maguire is intrigued to learn that Holland even went to space); Garfield has not. But perhaps most enjoyable is the trio's discussion of Tobey Maguire's "organic" webshooters, which you might recall became a hugely-controversial issue in those simpler days of 2002 when the original "Spider-Man" was approaching theaters and Hollywood saw superhero movies as a box-office gamble. At the time, director Sam Raimi essentially said it made more sense that someone bitten by a radioactive spider (and taking on the qualities of a spider) would be able to shoot webs than coincidentally possess the scientific/engineering acumen to invent web-shooters out of thin air.

These days, audiences are once again accustomed to expect their Peter Parkers to not grow web-shooters, but build them (as in the comics). Which makes it all the more entertaining to hear the questions the other two, shocked, Spider-Men have for Maguire's Peter Parker. Does it hurt? Does he ever get the web equivalent of writer's block? Do any other parts of his body shoot web fluid?

Tragedy and Redemption

On a more anguishing note, the Spider-Men also commiserate over regrets they have for the events we've watched unfold in past movies — and on some level, even get to make up for a couple of them.

The audience learns early on that the three Spider-Men essentially represent Peter Parker at various stages in his life. Holland is the naive, earnest youngster; Garfield the jaded, heart-broken loner; Maguire, still apparently in a relationship with Mary Jane, has learned how to balance it all and find some semblance of happiness.

One of the most memorable, powerful moments from the "Spider-Man" franchise came in 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," when an imperiled Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) fell from a high distance as Peter grappled with a villain. Desperately trying to save her, Peter shot a web — but it was too late. This tragic death of Gwen Stacy, of course, mirrored one of the most famous moments in comic book history.

Another memorable moment in the franchise came in 2002's "Spider-Man" when Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn attempted to use the blades of his Green Goblin glider to impale Maguire's Peter Parker from behind. Leaping out of the way at the last moment, Spidey lived to see another day but Osborn was killed.

In "No Way Home," Maguire is the Spider-Man who steps in when Holland's Peter Parker gives into his rage and is about to similarly kill Osborn with the Goblin Glider. Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man, meanwhile, has a powerful moment coming to Holland's aid when MJ falls from the Statue of Liberty. This time, rather than watching another love of Peter Parker's life die, the Garfield Spider-Man is able to successfully shoot a web and save her. It is quite possibly the most powerful moment in any Spider-Man movie, ever.

Doing Some Damage

When Peter's secret gets out, he and his friends are detained early in the film by "Damage Control," a Men in Black-like government agency that seems adjacent to SHIELD and primarily interested in issues of concealment and public relations. While this isn't the first time MCU fans have seen Damage Control, it's possibly the most substantial.

Mentions of Damage Control go all the way back to the original "Iron Man" film, then through the "Agents of SHIELD" show and various MCU films, usually in the background, as the agency prefers to operate; Damage Control was there to clean up Tony Stark's mess in "Iron Man 2," then later in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" the agency fired Adrian Toomes (aka the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton) taking over clean-up of sensitive materials in NYC and setting events in motion that would lead to much of that film's plot.

In 2015, Marvel announced that Damage Control was going to be the subject of a TV series on ABC (and a comedy, at that). "Specializing in dealing with the aftermath of the unique fallout from superhero conflicts," the article said of the show's plot, "they're the ones who are in charge of returning lost ray guns to their rightful owners, help to reschedule a wedding venue after it has been vaporized in a superhero battle, or even track down a missing prize African parrot that's been turned to stone or goo."

Obviously, the series never made it to air, and it seems quite likely that many of those ideas have begun seeping their way into MCU storylines like what we see in "No Way Home." But none of this is terribly shocking for fans of Marvel comics, who have been encountering Damage Control since 1988 and saw the organization play a substantial role in the "Civil War" comics.

The Man With No Fear

Multiple Spider-Men are swell, but you can be forgiven if the cameo that excites you most in "No Way Home" comes at the beginning of the film. When Peter finds himself in legal hot water, Happy and Aunt May sit him down with none other than Matt Murdock — in the welcome visage of Charlie Cox.

Marvel honcho Kevin Feige recently confirmed that "If you were to see Daredevil in upcoming things, Charlie Cox, yes, would be the actor playing Daredevil ... Where we see that, how we see that, when we see that, remains to be seen."

Well, it didn't take long. This is exciting because it's the first crossover we've seen between the MCU and the Netflix live-action TV shows, which time has painted as something of a "failed experiment" but had plenty of worthwhile elements that could and should continue. These include the casting of Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, David Tennant as Kilgrave, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Jon Bernthal as The Punisher. Those castings — as well as Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin and Cox's Murdock — were great fits, even if the Netflix series' scripts frequently gave the actors weaker material to work with than your average MCU project would.

Seeing Cox as Daredevil (and, timed perfectly, D'Onofrio made his first appearance as Kingpin in this week's "Hawkeye") is confirmation that Feige and the MCU are at least willing to allow those actors to continue in their roles, should the characters ever be required in this rapidly-expanding MCU world of movies and Disney+ series. Watching Matt Murdock reactively snatch that brick and remark "I'm a really good lawyer," it really makes you hopeful that Cox and crew will soon be fighting alongside Thor, Hulk, Captain Marvel and all the rest.