Warning! There are obviously “Spider-Man: Far From Home” spoilers below.
It’s the after-credits scene that’s rocked the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing in a shocking cameo and leaving Spider-Man caught in a web of lies.
In “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Spidey (Tom Holland) saves London from Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, who turns out to be a disgruntled former Tony Stark employee faking interdimensional monsters with drone technology. It’s not the most relaxing trip for Spider-Man, but in the end, he saves the day and even starts dating MJ (Zendaya). All seems well ... until the after-credits.
When the additional scene begins, it’s just another day for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, who swings through Manhattan with MJ. However, just after dropping her off near Madison Square Garden, a breaking news story comes on an outdoor TV screen: “We come to you now with revelations about last week’s attack in London,” the newscaster says, introducing a video of Mysterio moments before his death.
In the footage, which has been doctored by Mysterio’s team (comprised of other disgruntled ex-Stark employees), Spider-Man is framed for Mysterio’s murder and the drone attack on London. Then Mysterio reveals Spider-Man’s real identity as Peter Parker to the world.
“What the fu—” Spider-Man says as the screen cuts to black and the MCU is seemingly forever changed.
“There’s an interesting parallel to Iron Man, where at the end of ‘Iron Man 1,’ Tony Stark chooses to reveal his identity to the public, and that is part of his character transformation,” “Far From Home” director Jon Watts told HuffPost over the phone. “This movie is constantly asking questions — who’s going to be the next Iron Man? … while also dealing with these themes about deception and lying.”
So, Watts said, it fit within the story that someone would reveal Spider-Man’s identity, but that it wouldn’t be his choice.
“Nothing ever goes right for Peter Parker. He just has the worst luck, so we thought that that would be the right way to end it and open up a whole new world of storytelling,” Watts said.
As a surprising exclamation point on the scene, the doctored video of Mysterio was made public by “controversial news website” TheDailyBugle.net, with J.K. Simmons playing the site’s frontman, J. Jonah Jameson. Simmons also played a version of Jameson in the Spider-Man trilogy directed by Sam Raimi, a role that is considered one of the best comic book movie castings.
“It made sense in the context of the story that Peter’s identity would get revealed and someone would still believe that Mysterio was a hero, and we were like, ‘It should be the Daily Bugle, and if it’s going to be the Daily Bugle, it has to be him,’” said Watts, of Simmons playing Jameson. “That role is so iconic that I just couldn’t imagine it as anyone else.”
The actor was apparently as surprised as anyone when he was offered the part.
“Once we explained the context and how it all fit in, he was really excited. But it was definitely surreal for him,” Watts said. “It was one of the last things we shot because we wanted to keep it a secret, so he was just there and he just launched right back into the character, and it was incredible.”
So does this mean the Raimi “Spider-Man” movies are somehow connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
The answer, so far, is no. Let’s break it down ...
Though Simmons plays J. Jonah Jameson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the Raimi movies, these do not appear to be the same character. Yes, they have the same name and are played by the same actor, but the Jameson in the Raimi movies (which came to an end in 2007) and the one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which started in 2008) are likely two separate people.
For instance, in the Raimi movies, Jameson is a ranting and raving newspaper man, running the Daily Bugle as a traditional New York City tabloid, like it is in the Marvel comic books. In contrast, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Jameson, while still ranting and raving, is a peddler of internet conspiracies, sharing falsehoods on an InfoWars-style website.
Talking about the Alex Jones-like take on Jameson in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Watts said that Simmons is really doing the same type of acting he did before, it’s just our perspectives that have changed.
“It’s really kind of strange that his really heightened, cartoonish performance that was so iconic in the Sam Raimi movies now has a real world parallel,” Watts said. “He’s not doing anything different. It’s the world that’s changed.”
With Simmons playing a version of Jameson once again in a Spider-Man film, HuffPost asked Watts about the possibility of Tobey Maguire appearing in future movies, perhaps making a cameo as a pizza delivery person, which is something a popular fan petition is calling for.
“Yeah, I mean, we brought back J.K. Simmons, so at Marvel I would say anything is on the table.”