Marvel Says ‘No Way Home’s Big Death Was Not Supposed to Happen Like That

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Tom Holland as injured Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

The latest Spidey movie from the Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios team is officially in its third month of release in movie theaters. With rapturous praise and many records to boot, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) is a hit with Marvel fans everywhere.

It’s also the cause of much heartbreak, too. For those who have witnessed the threequel, they will know that Tom Holland’s latest movie as the web-slinger leaves a certain major player in the dust, and the writers behind the devasting death have spoken out about how the pandemic altered the pivotal Marvel Cinematic Universe moment.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

Following the cataclysmic events at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Spider-Man: No Way Home debuted to record-breaking success. Not only has the Sony/MCU crossover film netted the former its biggest movie profit to date — and a sizeable one at that — it is also heading for a historic third-place position in the highest-grossing domestic movies of all time list, on track to usurp James Cameron’s behemoth, Avatar (2009).

Joining Tom Holland as Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man are returning cast members Zendaya (MJ), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), and Marisa Tomei (May Parker), among others. And, at least for now, Spider-Man: No Way Home marked the final, final appearance of one fan-favorite character.

Zenday as MJ (left) and Tom Holland as Spider-Man (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

Marisa Tomei’s May Parker, better known universally as simply, Aunt May, has been a staple part of the MCU since Captain America: Civil War (2016), which was also Holland’s first time in the Spider suit. Having starred in multiple Marvel movies including No Way Home‘s predecessors Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tomei’s iteration of Aunt May was a more youthful, charismatic version of the comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

marisa tomei as aunt may parker
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

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Fans loved her.

And then Marvel and Sony killed her.

The gut-wrenching scene following an unhinged attack from Norman Osborn AKA Green Goblin — played by a divine Willem Dafoe — sees Peter Parker attempting to save his aunt in the crumbled ruins of an apartment building. While this scene feels intentioned and purposeful, Marvel writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have recently shared that it was meant to be different. However, as with a lot of movie studios, the team had to alter the scene in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

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Speaking to the Gold Derby on YouTube, Sommers details that Aunt May’s death should have been completely different. He said:

“It was tricky [to write]. It was also tricky production-wise because we had different ideas for where the scene could take place, but because of Covid [it changed]. We had one idea that maybe it was going to be inside an ambulance, and we had a whole version that was constructed around that, but that was not practical for shooting during Covid.

marisa tomei as aunt man in spider-man
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

The screenwriter continued:

That’s the kind of thing that happens. So then we had to move the scene, physically, to another place while trying to keep all the other elements working. We had to make adjustments, and that’s the kind of thing that happens in production. So it was [tricky], but I’m glad that it turned out the way it did, and that people started crying — I’m not glad that people started [crying] but I’m glad that it affected people the way we wanted — that it resonated — because it’s so important to Peter’s story and to his journey.”

aunt may (left) happy hogan (right) and peter parker (foreground)
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel’s New Spider-Man Finally Speaks Out After Replacing Tom Holland

It did resonate with audiences and Marisa Tomei will be sorely missed from Kevin Feige’s MCU, and Amy Pascal’s Sony’s Spider-Man Universe — if she was ever to cross into there, too. Her death, or the emotion her death evoked from viewers, is just one momentous part of the blockbuster that has been such a celebrated success.

There is no clear answer as to why Tom Holland’s return as the titular character brought in so much praise and box office numbers. It might have been the anticipation following the Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures communication breakdown which saw fans, and Holland himself, pleading for Spidey’s third outing. It might have been the sheer popularity of its leading stars; Holland and co-star Zendaya are dating in real life as well as on-screen and their relationship is something both Hollywood actors have spoken about before.

tom holland (right) and zendaya (left) on good morning america
Credit: ABC

Or, and most likely so, the opening weekend figures were likely from the arrival of Sony’s Marvel characters in an MCU production. Villains from across the Sony catalog officially arrived in the MCU while the long-rumored appearance of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), respectively — was finally confirmed. That being said, in spite of the excitement of the sequel, the remarkable visual effects, and the hilarity expected from a Watts-superhero picture, this heart-breaking scene is still a standout moment from Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Would you have liked to see a different Aunt May death scene? Let us know in the comments down below!

Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently in theaters and stars Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Zendaya (MJ), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Benedict Wong (Wong), Alfred Molina (Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus), Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn/Green Goblin), Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard), Thomas Haden Church (Flint Marko/Sandman), Jamie Foxx (Maxwell Dillon/Electro), JK Simmons (J Jonah Jameson), Angourie Rice (Betty Brant), Tony Revolori (Flash Thompson), Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), and Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock).

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