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Secrets We Learned From Spider-Man: No Way Home's Bonus Features

Can't get enough "Spider-Man?" Same. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" absolutely dominated the box office in December 2021. As March 2022 rolled around, Sony gave fans what they'd been waiting for when the film made its debut on digital home video with nearly an hour of behind-the-scenes bonus material.

What was it like to be on the set of this history-making superhero movie? How did Sony and Marvel executives pitch the movie's story to the cast members they wanted to star? What was filmed but didn't make it into the final cut? If you're craving all things "Spider-Man," Tom Holland, Marvel, or all of the above but don't have time to watch all of the bonus material, we've got you covered. Here are the best secrets we learned from the bonus features for the home video release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Warning: Spoilers ahead for any and all "Spider-Man" or Marvel films.

Maguire and Garfield were stoked to be invited back

Jaws dropped. Hands clapped. Voices soared. Audiences were hyped when Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield appeared onscreen as former versions of Peter Parker in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Maguire and Garfield were both immediately on board upon being pitched and didn't need further convincing, as shared in the "Heroes Panel" and "Realities Collide, Spiders Unite" segments of the film's bonus features. "When they called initially, I was like, 'Finally,'" Maguire says with a smile, only half-joking. "I just feel grateful. I got the call, and I was really open immediately about coming to do this."

Garfield in particular notes it brought a sense of closure to his character's unfinished story. "I can't deny there was always something in the back of my head, like, 'Gosh, it ended a bit abruptly for me,'" Garfield shares. "It resulted in this very, very beautiful experience where I got to have a bit more closure on something that means so much to me."

Tom Holland, current keeper of the Spider-Man mask, wanted to ensure Maguire and Garfield's participation was handled with care. "It was important that these characters weren't coming back for the gimmick of having three Spider-Mans together in one film," Holland insists. "They had to come back and have a purpose. Their purpose is to help my Peter Parker not make the same mistakes they did."

Some villains needed some persuading to return

The plot of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is set into motion as adversaries of Peter Parker from different universes enter the world inhabited by Tom Holland's Peter Parker. This led to the return of Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin and Alfred Molina as Doc Ock from director Sam Raimi's original "Spider-Man" trilogy, among other bad guys. The movie's bonus features includes a "Villains Panel," in which the actors share their perspective of returning to their characters.

Dafoe wasn't so convinced when Marvel made the initial ask. "When I heard it, I thought, 'Well that's pretty nutty,'" Dafoe reveals. "But it really was the pitch. It sounded like a lot of fun and a good solution. I liked the idea that I was returning to something, but ... there's a spin on it, and that appealed to me."

Molina had some concerns, less about story and more about the passage of time in the real world since he'd last faced off against Spider-Man. "When the idea was first suggested, my first thought was, 'Hang on. I'm 17 years older. I've got chins, I've got wrinkles. What are they gonna do?'" Molina shares. "Then, of course, I suddenly realized, 'Wait a minute. They've got the technology. This isn't gonna be a problem.'"

Both actors' hesitations were quickly put at ease, and they happily came onboard. And we're all so glad they did!

There was at least one deleted scene with Daredevil

Charlie Cox makes a surprise cameo in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" as Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. Murdock is, as he says, a "really good lawyer," and he's able to square away some legal trouble for Peter Parker. Cox reprises his character from Marvel's Netflix programming, but while Daredevil may only appear on screen in "No Way Home" for a grand total of 70 seconds, it seems that he was initially slated to be in at least one more scene.

B-roll among the bonus material shows footage of Matt Murdock and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in a conference room, a scene that wasn't in the movie. The footage appears very quickly and without comment amidst several other behind-the-scenes shots in a montage of the bonus feature titled "Spider-Man and the Multiverse in Marvel Comics," an exclusive when "No Way Home" is purchased via Movies Anywhere.

During the one scene in which Matt Murdock appears in the finished film, he mentions that Happy is going to need a lawyer of his own to help settle a matter with Stark Industries. Perhaps the deleted scene involved Murdock providing the legal services to Happy himself, or it could've been placed earlier when Peter's issues were still unresolved. The digital release of "No Way Home" unfortunately doesn't include any deleted scenes in full, so for now it's up to our imaginations what else the mysterious Matt Murdock might have done in the movie.

Doctor Strange's role connects back to Infinity War and Endgame

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Doctor Strange in "No Way Home" when Peter Parker asks him to perform a spell that will make the world forget Spider-Man's identity. Cumberbatch has appeared in a number of Marvel productions prior to this one, including sharing scenes with Holland, but this is the first proper Spider-Man story that Doctor Strange has a starring role in.

For the filmmakers, the idea to include Doctor Strange so prominently in "No Way Home" went all the way back to 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." In that film, he tells Tony Stark that there's only one possible way that Thanos can be defeated (out of 14,000,605 probabilities), which ends up materializing in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame." Jon Watts, director of "No Way Home," elaborates on the "Enter Strange" bonus feature, saying, "If you really think about what Peter's been through and how closely tied Strange is to all of that, it's basically Strange's idea about how to actually stop Thanos in 'Endgame,'" Watts explains. "That directly leads to the loss of Peter's mentor right in front of his eyes. It's no stretch of the imagination, to me, to think that Strange would want to help him."

The actors approached No Way Home as a farewell

"No Way Home" is the third movie in director Jon Watts' "Spider-Man" trilogy. While Marvel is notorious for bringing back familiar faces ("No Way Home" being the ultimate proof), Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Bataon treated this third installment as if it was the last time they'd play classmates Peter, MJ, and Ned, respectively. The actors' real-life friendship is explored in the "Graduation Day" extra on the "No Way Home" digital release.

"Tom, Zendaya, and I have been so emotional about the wrapping of this movie because we've been through so much together," Batalon says. Zendaya feels the same way. "We talk about it all the time when we're doing stunts together or we're having such a crazy day, and we're like, 'How cool is it that we get to share this with each other?'" she explains. "It's so special. I feel an incredible amount of gratitude for the whole experience."

Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, calls filming this trilogy with Batalon and Zendaya "the greatest chapter of my life" and predicts this version of their characters is over. "In that scene in the end of the film when I say goodbye to Zendaya and Jacob ... we all knew that we were saying goodbye to our characters as we know them. Should we pick this up, that would be wonderful, but they will never be the same again."

Extra security measures on set tried to protect spoilers

There are lots of surprises in Marvel movies, and the studio does its best to protect secrets from being leaked prior to release day. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" contains arguably some of the biggest surprises in Marvel history — the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as their previous iterations of Peter Parker. In an attempt to not spoil Maguire and Garfield's involvement, the studio turned to the film set's security team. The team's job is usually to prioritize the safety of the cast and crew while a movie is in production, but this time, they had the added task of making sure Maguire and Garfield wouldn't be spotted en route to set, as shared in the bonus feature "Realities Collide, Spiders Unite."

Barry Curtis, director of security for Marvel Studios, shares that some of the extra measures included instructing actors not to go to the grocery store in the movie's shooting location of Atlanta and having Tobey Maguire dress in a hooded cloak anytime he walked between the set and his trailer. Curtis reminisces on a specific call in which an actor had to go to a doctor after an on-set injury, and the star-struck physician innocently took a selfie. Curtis and his team had to track down the doctor and ask them to delete the photo.

That iconic pose of all three Spider-Men took some work

If you're making a movie with all three live-action "Spider-Man" actors, you've gotta see them swinging through the air together, right? Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland not only have distinctive supersuits that make their versions of the character unique, but they bring their own style to the way they move. To see them take flight in formation is a wish fulfilled in the climactic battle of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," just before the three versions of Peter Parker attempt to cure the villains of their afflictions on the Statue of Liberty's crown. The swing concludes with the three characters landing in heroic poses and facing toward the camera.

On set, Holland knew this would be an epic moment and worked hard to get it right. "That shot where we all land on the crown is one of the hardest Spider-Man things I've ever done," Holland reveals in the bonus feature "Action Choreography Across the Multiverse." He continues, "The crown was just so uneven, and in the Spider-Man suit, you can't see anything. I was really trying to land in the most iconic Spider-Man pose."

Willem Dafoe terrified everyone on set

If you grew up having nightmares of Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin from 2002's "Spider-Man," you're not alone. When the actor returned for "No Way Home," he brought with him his legendary, albeit frightening, performance of the iconic villain. His acting was so good that it did a number on some of his fellow actors, as shared in the bonus feature "A Multiverse of Miscreants."

Jamie Foxx, who reprised his role as Electro from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," was just as entranced by Dafoe as the audience. "To see him work when we're on the set, when he's like, 'Gods don't choose, we take,' you're like, 'Oh, s***!'" Foxx recalls in the featurette. "And that cackle. It was real! I forgot I was in the movie."

Tom Holland affirms that Dafoe was legitimately scary. "When he becomes the Goblin, he is terrifying," Holland shares. "In the rehearsal, he starts doing the laugh and saying all this different stuff for how much he hates Peter Parker. We're doing this fight scene, and I just became a 5-year-old kid again watching him in the theater."

One of the most notable scenes for Dafoe's performance is when the Green Goblin faces off against Peter in the hallway of an apartment. No matter how many times Peter punches him, the Green Goblin stares back at the hero wide-eyed and grinning. When director Jon Watts called for the scene to cut, Tom Holland immediately remarked, "That was so scary!"

Unlikely films inspired the director's approach

With an epic superhero movie on the scale of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," you might think the director at the helm would find inspiration in action-packed blockbusters. But as it turns out, that wasn't what informed the vision for director Jon Watts.

Watts reveals a fascinating starting point in the bonus feature "Enter Strange." He explains, "I really like the idea of 'It's A Wonderful Life' with Peter," alluding to the classic Christmas film in which the protagonist wishes he'd never been born. "What could he possibly do to try to fix things? What is the 17-year-old kid's solution to this problem?" The answer ends up being casting a spell with the help of Doctor Strange to make the world forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

Producer Amy Pascal reveals another source of inspiration in the bonus feature "Spinning Jon Watts' Web" when recalling how Watts, who directed all three films in this trilogy, began the series. "Jon Watts came in, and he said, 'I want to do it like a John Hughes movie,'" Pascal shares. "That was entirely his idea from the very beginning." For those who don't know, Hughes directed, wrote, and produced a number of coming-of-age, teenager-starring comedies in the 1980s, including "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

Co-producer Chris Buongiorno similarly compares Watts and "No Way Home" to the Hughes era of Hollywood. "This was sort of his 'Breakfast Club.' This is kind of his journey into that arena."

Tom Holland and Zendaya may have a future in directing

In front of the camera, Tom Holland and Zendaya have been bringing characters to life with their acting skills for years. And if their approach to "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is any indication, they might be behind the camera soon. They both intentionally studied as much filmmaking craft as they could while on set.

Alfred Molina, who plays Doc Ock, speaks highly of Holland in the "Villains Panel" within the "No Way Home" extras. "He's got a real film intelligence. He understands the angles. He understands the lenses. He understands how you work with the camera to tell the story, what's the best this or that." Molina foresees something big in Holland's future. "He just understands it. I predict within the next five, six years, he's gonna be directing."

Zendaya smartly leveraged the "No Way Home" shoot as a learning opportunity, as shared in the "Weaving Jon Watts' Web" bonus feature. "I like to come on set now. Even days that I'm not needed here, I come on set to watch because I love learning and sitting behind Jon," Zendaya says. "Hopefully one day I'll be able to direct something, so no better place to learn than right behind our very incredible director who loves to answer my questions."

That famous photo shoot was captured before most filming took place

Sony and Marvel were secretive about "Spider-Man: No Way Home" starring Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire as their versions of the classic superhero. The studios never confirmed the appearances of Garfield or Maguire in the movie's marketing campaign or trailers leading up to its December 2021 release. But after giving audiences a few months to experience the surprise for themselves, in February 2022, Sony felt safe releasing publicity materials featuring all three "Spider-Man" actors together, including a photo shoot that you may have seen posted and memed.

While the emergence of the photos and footage so long after the movie's release might suggest the shots were recent, this shoot was actually one of the first times the three actors were together. In the "Heroes Panel" bonus feature included with the streaming release of "No Way Home," the three sit down for a candid conversation and mention the shoot having just happened. Elsewhere in the interview, they make references to still being very early in the filming process for the movie, Holland even saying, "I just can't wait to get to work." 

So all the brotherly camaraderie evident in that shoot wasn't the crest at the end of the "No Way Home" wave. It was instead the very beginning, making it all the more apparent how natural the actors' chemistry came when bringing their different styles of Spider-Man together.

The villains loved their costume modifications

"No Way Home" brings back familiar bad guys from previous "Spider-Man" movies, and in the "Villains Panel" bonus feature, the actors share how new technology and creative wardrobe decisions informed their roles this time around.

Willem Dafoe, reprising Green Goblin from 2002's "Spider-Man," is appreciative of how far technology has come in two decades. "I remember the initial fitting to create the costume for the Green Goblin, I stood there for eight hours," Dafoe recalls. "They put different pre-formed pieces on me. Now, they scan me, and they can design it and then make the costume and then try it on me. It's a huge leap in the technology."

As any Spider-fan knows, Alfred Molina's Doc Ock has four robotic tentacles attached to his back. Molina shares that in 2004's "Spider-Man 2," the arms were physically connected to him on set and controlled by puppeteers. For "No Way Home," the arms were instead animated in post-production using computer graphics.

Jamie Foxx, bringing back Electro from 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," was glad that his character wasn't painted blue again in "No Way Home," saying it no longer feels like the character is "trying so hard." Foxx compares the change to the history of R&B. "Back in the day with R&B, you used to have to have fringes on your outfit and shoulder pads and things like that. Now, you can sing. So it's like, now we're just singing."

Zendaya's first day of work was jumping 55 feet

Your first day of school was always pretty low-key, right? Read the syllabus, get to know the teacher, no big deal. The first day of your job was probably similar, correct? Sit in orientation, learn the basics of your role, nothing huge. The same can certainly not be said for Zendaya's first day of shooting on the set of "Spider-Man: No Way Home." The bonus feature "Action Choreography Across the Multiverse" sheds light on a thrilling stunt that was Zendaya's first shot for the movie.

Toward the beginning of "No Way Home," Tom Holland's Peter Parker is swinging Zendaya's MJ through New York City. At one point, the couple descends from a bridge. (Peter is pretty skilled with those web-slinging abilities.) To pull off the shot, stunt coordinator George Cottle orchestrated Zendaya being attached to wires held by 100-foot cranes and jumping from a scissor lift 55 feet in the air. Zendaya recalls the stunt by simulating a hypothetical conversation. "'What are you doing at work today?' Uh, well, you know, I just put a harness on and jumped off this thing!" Talk about an exciting first day back.

There are hacks for making the Spidey suit more user-friendly

All three Peter Parkers make wearing their Spider-Man suits look pretty epic in "No Way Home," but in reality, the costumes can be difficult to put on and make comfortable. The actors share what makes the costumes easier to wear in the "Heroes Panel" bonus feature.

Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland reveal that earlier on in their respective "Spider-Man" stints, they used to apply talcum powder to make their suits easier to put on. Andrew Garfield, at first thinking they're joking, shares that he's never done that and asks where they apply it, to which Holland says he'll tell him when the interview is over.

Since the entire body of the suit is one piece of tight clothing, sometimes it's apparently difficult for the actors to slide their feet to the boots attached to the bottom of the suit. Tom Holland puts plastic bags on his feet, which he says makes it so much easier to get dressed, but then it leaves him with sweaty feet after they've been in bags all day. Being Spider-Man, it seems, is a give and take.

The director was prepared for failure

With a worldwide box office take of nearly $2 billion and an excellent Rotten Tomatoes score, it's hard to imagine the filmmakers of "No Way Home" expecting anything short of massive success. And yet, director Jon Watts didn't know how people would receive the idea of the three Spider-Men, and he was prepared for backlash. He elaborates in the bonus feature "Realities Collide, Spiders Unite."

"I knew that whatever happened, it would be really interesting to see these three guys together," Watts says. "Even if it was a total failure, it would at least be an amazing document of a very strange thing that happened."

Even with a movie all about multiple realities, it's crazy to think of an alternate universe in which "No Way Home" may have been made the exact same way but was poorly received. It would've made movie history in one sense but been a blundering embarrassment in another. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and Watts could put his worries at ease. Seeing Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland together on the big screen was everything.