Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Trailer Has Plenty of Reveals—But Not the One We Want

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m disappointed as well. Don’t get me wrong, the new trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has a lot of cool stuff to digest, and it certainly delivers on building up hype as we officially reach the “one month and counting” mark before the film is set to release. But Marvel and Sony are, once again, outright refusing to confirm whether or not we’ll see Tobey Maguire’s glorious return to the role of Spider-Man—and, I guess, if Andrew Garfield will show up to the party as well—despite numerous leaks and rumors that have led said rumor to either be the most obvious “secret” since Jon Snow’s SHOCKING resurrection on Game of Thrones (sadly, my editor would not let me add a Shocked Pikachu meme to this article on the grounds of being “unprofessional” and “having absolutely nothing to do with the trailer”) or a bait so diabolically constructed that it would even fool Penn and Teller. 

First off, we get a little bit more information about what exactly is going on in regards to the ghosts of franchises past all showing up: at the beginning of this Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, Doctor Strange tells Peter that when he botched the spell where he wanted everyone to forget he was Spider-Man, they started getting visitors from every universe. This is mirrored at the end of the trailer, with Strange and Peter standing atop the Statue of Liberty’s torch and Strange—visibly distressed—tells Peter that “they’re starting to come through, and I can’t stop them.” We see arcs of purple seemingly fracturing the night sky around them, and while it’s hard to nail down exactly what they might be they certainly feel like some combination of the realm where Doctor Strange held off Dormamu and the citadel beyond the end of time where Loki and Sylvie met He Who Remains and directly contributed to the Sacred Timeline fracturing, drawing obvious parallels to the beginning of Marvel’s expansion into a cinematic multiverse.

Secondly, Doc Ock—the best of the villains from non-MCU Spider-Man movies—looks to have a much more interesting role in Spider-Man: No Way Home. We get a follow up from the Ock reveal from the first teaser, and it turns out he was addressing Tom Holland’s Peter Parker—only he thought it was the Tobey Maguire version, and when the mask on Peter’s suit retracts Ock mudders in shock, “you’re not Peter Parker.” Later in the trailer, we see Ned, MJ, and Peter in a very basement/underground lair-looking place asking him what his name is, and later in that same place he warns Peter that “you’re flying out into the darkness…to fight ghosts.” It’s looking like Ock won’t be in an entirely antagonistic role—but that’s not to say we won’t see a lot of him in action and that he won’t be a threat. The last time we see him in the trailer, his four mechanical arms are shifting with a new layer of metal that is best described as “Iron Man red”, likely absorbing some of the nano-technology that Tony Stark left to Peter and “Doc Ock with Stark nanotechnology” is a thought both exciting and frightening. 

Back to that “flying out into the darkness” line for a minute, as that line is immediately followed up by Strange explaining that “they all die, fighting Spider-Man…it’s their fate,” in reference to the five—yes FIVE—villains from the previous Spider-Man films that Peter finds himself facing in this film. It’s a dark line, and it looks like Marvel isn’t going to shy away from the fact that most of the villains we see died at the end of their respective movies—or that Peter isn’t the sort of guy who would just accept sending them back to their respective universes to meet that fate. The villains get a fair amount more focus here—Electro gets a brief line that “you’re not going to take this from me,” before shooting electricity through a building—followed by Ock getting blasted back by that same electricity, seemingly hinting further at Ock’s not entirely antagonistic role—and we get a cool shot of Electro, Sandman, and Lizard atop a building in the middle of construction. 

But the highlight of the trailer is, hands down, Willem Dafoe’s return as the Green Goblin. After only a glimpse in the previous teaser for Spider-Man: No Way Home—his trademark Goblin laugh along with a pumpkin bomb exploding—this time we get a full reveal of him in all his Goblin glory. The costume looks just as singularly horrifying as it did all the way back in 2002, and we even get a single chilling line from him: “Peter…you’re struggling to have everything you want, while the whole world wants to make you choose…” and good LORD have I missed this man playing this character. You can hear Dafoe savoring each and every word of that sentence, and his return to Green Goblin is looking to be just as chilling as it was before.

There are a lot more cool moments we see throughout: some sort of building going up with a giant Captain America shield. Strange and Peter coming to blows over a box that seems central to Strange’s spell. Zendaya falling from a tall building as Spider-Man tries to catch her, seemingly forgetting that she’s playing MJ and not Gwen Stacy. J Jonah Jameson, out and about in the middle of the action—likely to try and get footage. Quite a few gorgeous shots of Spidey swinging through power lines in a suburban area well outside of Spider-Man’s normal locale, and Spidey using some of what appears to be Doctor Strange’s magic.

But of course, the biggest story hanging over this trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home is almost certainly what isn’t there: any sort of confirmation about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield bringing back their takes on Spider-Man. Tom Holland has already said that this trailer is “just the tip of the iceberg”, so there’s almost certainly much, much more that Marvel isn’t telling us at this point in time. 

Personally, I feel like it’s practically a given that we see the two of them return. Spider-Man 3 collapsed under a ratio of one Spider-Man to three villains (or one-to-four if you count “muh inner darkness and turmoil” as a villain), and Marvel wants me to believe they could pull off a movie with a downright staggering one-to-FIVE ratio instead of a much more manageable three-to-five? Insanity. 

I can understand why they decided to go the route of keeping this “secret” close to the vest—this movie is still centered on Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and Marvel likely doesn’t want to take the spotlight off of him and his struggles. After all, he’s the one they’ve built up over the course of the previous two Spider-Man films, as well as Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. But it feels like their approach is having the opposite effect: almost all of the online chatter I’ve been seeing, even after the trailer dropped, is speculation about Maguire/Garfield and what role each of them might have to play, with much less excitement over what’s looking like a wrap up to this chapter of Holland-Spidey’s story. 

But I feel like their marketing would have greatly benefitted from meeting these rumors head-on and just outright confirming them one way or the other instead of trying to play the “wait and see” game. After all, most of the buzz is about Maguire/Garfield whether they like it or not—and we even have proof that you can do a movie with multiple Spider-Men while still keeping the focus on the journey and development of one of them, it’s called Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which featured SIX different Spider-Man variants and still managed to be entirely about Miles Morales and his journey as Spider-Man.

I feel like getting even a slight hint, just to confirm what we almost certainly already know—like the end of the Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer when a phone in an antique shop was answered by Bill Murray saying “we’re closed”—would have helped boost the hype for Holland-Spidey and get him out of the shadow of whether or not his predecessors will return to further tickle our nostalgia. But, I’m not a marketing person, so they might know something I don’t. 

Regardless of how off-topic I might have gotten, Spider-Man: No Way Home still looks like a bonkers, thrilling new chapter in both the Spider-Man saga and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. All the speculation will be put to rest when the film hits theaters on December 17th—safe to say, it’s going to be a long month until then.

Written by Timothy Glaraton

Writer. Editor. U of M Graduate.

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