Spider-Man: No Way Home writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have opened up about the action movie’s dark third act twist. If you’ve not seen Tom Holland’s third Marvel Cinematic Universe outing turn away now, we’re going to be discussing Spider-Man: No Way Home’s ending in some detail, and we don’t want to spoil things for you.
Still with us? Right we’ll crack on. Basically, at the end of No Way Home, the multiverse is collapsing as people who know Peter’s secret identity are pulled into the MCU. Desperate to stop this potentially apocalyptic event, Peter makes the ultimate sacrifice and asks Doctor Strange to make everyone forget Spider-Man’s secret identity, including his friends.
For the spell to work, though, they can’t just forget Spidey’s secret; they must also forget Peter Parker entirely, meaning no one will remember him, not The Avengers, not Ned, not even MJ. After Strange completes the spell, we see he was true to his word, and no one remembers Spidey’s secret identity or Peter Parker. Of course, this raises a few questions.
People clearly remember Spider-Man – we see J Jonah Jameson ranting about him – but how much do they remember? Do they know he was Iron man’s successor? Do they remember he fought Thanos? What happened to all the news reports about Peter’s secret?
The implication is that everything to do with Peter and Spider-Man was magically erased. In the end, we see Peter studying for his GED, which implies his school records are gone, and he needs to start his entire education again, which would suggest official records vanished as well.
It turns out though the No Way Home writers were asking these questions as well. “We were like, do we do a Back to the Future kind of thing where you see him fading out of photos?” McKenna and Sommers told Variety. “Does he still have a driver’s license or a passport? It just led to more questions.”
Rather than worry about it too much, the pair say they decided to “just focus on the emotion of it” and not worry about the details, reasoning they can hopefully address them in other Spider-Man movies.
“Obviously, some sort of magical redaction has occurred,” McKenna explained. “At the end of all this, we didn’t want a lot of people trying to do magical math in their head.”
As for why Peter chooses not to tell MJ who he is at the end of the film? Well, that’s the last piece of the sacrifice,” McKenna explained. Adding that, Peter could try and get his friends back, but that would be endangering them, and he doesn’t want to risk that.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is part of Marvel Phase 4 and is in theatres now.