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The Line In Spider-Man: No Way Home That Means More Than You Realized

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home"

The highly anticipated "Spider-Man: No Way Home" — sequel to 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" — is now out into theaters after what seemed like quite a long wait (and a whole lot of rumors about which characters from previous "Spider-Man" franchises would appear).

In "Spider-Man: No Way Home," directed by Jon Watts, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is dealing with the aftermath of his identity as Spider-Man being revealed. Overwhelmed by the attention and the consequences, he asks Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to use magic to make his identity a secret once again. In the midst of doing so, the multiverse is opened and Peter is suddenly faced with a slew of villains from other realities who have fought alternate versions of Spider-Man. Those Spider-Men — Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, reprising their roles from Sam Raimi's films and Marc Webb's films, respectively — show up and help Holland's Peter save the day.

As is typical with any Marvel movie, "No Way Home" is chock-full of Easter eggs for dedicated fans to find and enjoy. But there's one line that even the most dedicated fans may have missed, in terms of its deeper meaning — and it has to do with some behind-the-scenes drama.

Maguire's back problem is more than a bit

In the film, while all three Spider-Men are waiting for the villains to arrive to face off against them, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man complains of his back problems, saying that all of his web-slinging must have exacerbated the issue. Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man then helps him crack his back in a charming and humorous bit before the action commences. But, according to ScreenCrush, this bit actually has a deeper meaning — and references some real-life back problems of Maguire's that played a part in his negotiations for 2004's "Spider-Man 2."

As reported by Variety in 2003, Maguire signed on for "Spider-Man 2" in a $17 million deal, but not before negotiations became a bit tense. During negotiations, Columbia Pictures allegedly "felt that Maguire's reported back problems — which he is known to have had in the past — were now being used as a threat during negotiations if the actor's list of demands wasn't met." The studio even considered recasting Maguire's role by replacing him with Jake Gyllenhaal (who, of course, later went on to star opposite Holland in 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" as Mysterio). Luckily, Maguire's team stepped in, promising good behavior from Maguire as long as he received checkups to assure his back was in good condition.

The situation definitely sounds tense, which makes the reference in "No Way Home" all the more fun now that drama from the early 2000s can be laughed about.

This wasn't the first time Tobey Maguire's back problems were referenced in film

Tobey Maguire's back problems have become infamous in Hollywood circles, so much so that "No Way Home" didn't even contain the first reference to the situation. Back in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2," Peter Parker, played by Maguire, is trying to get back into the groove of this whole superhero thing. He tries to leap between buildings, only to fall from a considerable height. He ends up landing on his back on top of a car, which is promptly followed by the line, "My back. My back ..."

As it turns out, Sam Raimi was nervous about including the line in the flick for fear of upsetting Maguire, as he told BBC, "At first I thought that was really funny and then I said, 'You know Ivan [Raimi], although I think it's funny, because we've had this problem with Tobey, maybe we'd better not do it.' Because, I mean, he has had a back problem. And then Ivan says, 'Oh screw it, we'll just do it anyways. For those who know about the problem with Tobey's back, it'll be an inside joke, and for those who don't, it should be funny just for what it is.'"

While it wouldn't have made or broke the film whether the line was in it or not, it would've been a fun bit for people who kept up with all of the behind-the-scenes drama. As luck would have it, Maguire was game, "I told Tobey I thought it would be funny and he said, 'You know what? That will be funny. It's OK if they laugh at me. Let them laugh at me!' I thought that was very brave of him." No doubt the line laid the groundwork for the "No Way Home" back line. Who knows if the tradition will continue if it turns out Tobey Maguire has a role to play in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?"