No Way Home Ending Explained – What Happened To Spider-Man And Peter Parker?
Some of the biggest spoilers and surprises in Spider-Man: No Way Home were leaked online months before the movie came out. Still, it’s one thing to believe something and another thing to see it. Overall, this film is one of the most ambitious Spider-Man and Marvel movies ever made. Yet, we’re comic book fans, so you know we all have questions. Specifically, questions about how the resolution of the film works in a practical way. The answer it seems comes down to the age-old decision of practicality versus drama. So, be wary of spoiler if you haven’t seen the film. Because we’re going to make sure we have the Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained in a definitive way. And there’s nothing more definitive than hearing from the storytellers themselves.
We’re going to get into spoilers before the jump, but if you don’t know the ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home yet still want it explained, who are we to say “we can’t?” In any science fiction “how does that work?” is a ubiquitous question. In the case of this movie, know that what’s most “important” about the end of the movie is how the characters feel (or don’t) about what happened. Sure, there may be practical questions about the “how” of it all, but that’s where fan speculation and (civil) debate comes in. It gives us all something to talk about while we wait to find out if Spider-Man is back in the MCU (again).
Now that the spoilers timer has expired, screenwriters Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna sat down to talk about their process writing this movie. There was a lot to manage, which is why asking for the No Way Home ending to be explained is kind of funny.
Spoilers to follow.
The Spider-Man: No Way Home Ending Explained by the Screenwriters
Image via Columbia Pictures
Okay, so the burning questions everyone needs explained about the No Way Home ending is how the Spider-Man and Peter Parker split happens. We opened this movie with the Spider-Man: Far From Home video of Mysterio revealing Peter’s identity. In the end, Doctor Strange made the whole world forget Peter Parker, but what about those videos? We know that not all evidence of his presence vanished. In the last scene with Zendaya’s MJ, she is still wearing the broken Black Dahlia necklace Peter bought her. But what about the call record on her phone? What about the photos he, MJ, and Jacon Batalon’s Ned took over their friendship? Are they just gone? Did Peter fade from them? Do they look at those photos, remember him, and then immediately forget what they just looked at like the Silence from Doctor Who?
Sommers and McKenna definitely talked about all this stuff while they were writing. And it turns out that they had some answers.
As they told Variety:
“We were like, do we do a ‘Back to the Future’ kind of thing where you see him fading out of photos? Does he still have a driver’s license or a passport? It just led to more questions…. We decided, let’s try to do it in the most satisfying way and just focus on the emotion of it. And then if people have questions about some of those details that didn’t get answered here, we’ll answer them hopefully in another movie somewhere down the line.”
They confirmed that “some sort of magical redaction has occurred,” but the extent of it is left up to the audiences to determine themselves. Frankly, magic especially is best left ambiguous in terms of how it works, anyway.
Does It Matter What Happened to Photos and Videos of Peter Parker?
Image via Sony Pictures
For fans who love the nitty and gritty details of these films, being curious about how this spell worked exactly is fair and, probably, fun. Yet, in terms of the story being told, it doesn’t really matter. The beauty of magic is that it can break any law of science or common sense you want. It’s magic! What happened to the pictures and videos of Peter Parker, especially after his identity was revealed, is not as important as how he felt. The point of that ending in No Way Home can be explained not in terms of practical results but the emotional sacrifice Spider-Man made. In order to save everyone, from his friends to his enemies, he had to give up literally everything. Sacrificing to be a hero? Sounds like the most Peter Parker thing ever to me.
Sommers and McKenna agree that they don’t want fans obsessing over “magical math” after this film. Rather, they want audiences to understand the journey this Peter Parker took to go from DIY superhero to Iron Man’s protégé to now living in obscurity with no friends or family. As heroic as his sacrifice is, it’s also meant to give us a little bit of worry for the future, too. Andrew Garfield’s Peter tells him that after he lost Gwen, he lost his connection to people. He stopped “pulling” his punches, meaning he became cruel. That’s the danger facing our MCU Spider-Man, too. If he’s alone for too long, both from regular folks and fellow heroes, he may change in ways that we won’t want to see. (But will make for good drama in a new movie.)
Ultimately, I found the end of the movie satisfying, because No Way Home is a story about how to be the best Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and that ending doesn’t need to be explained at all.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently in theaters.
What do you think? How do you think Doctor Strange’s spell worked on the photos, videos, and articles about Peter Parker? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions to the screenwriters’ answer in the comments below.
Featured image via Sony Pictures
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.