‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Writers Share Why the Film’s Major Death Was Necessary for Peter’s Journey

As Tom Holland has said in the past, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the culmination of three generations of cinema. But, more than that, it’s a showcase of Peter Parker’s journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And his character arc wouldn’t be the same if the third MCU Spider-Man film hadn’t included a major death close to his heart.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers from Spider-Man: No Way Home.]

'Spider-Man: No Way Home' stars Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, and Tom Holland pose for pictures at the premiere, and all of them are dressed in either suits or dresses. 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' features a major character death.
Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, and Tom Holland | Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Aunt May died in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

After Peter and Doctor Strange messed up the spell to make the world forget who Spider-Man is in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the multiverse broke, and many villains from other universes crossed over to the MCU. Aunt May encouraged her nephew to help the villains, whereas Doctor Strange wanted to send them back to their universes. In doing so, they would be sending the villains to their deaths.

Aunt May helped Peter in his pursuit of ridding the villains of their evil. But their plan quickly unraveled when the Green Goblin took over Norman Osborn’s body. He attacked Peter while the other villains escaped. Green Goblin fatally wounded Aunt May during the attack, and she died in Peter’s arms.

Before her death in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Aunt May relayed the iconic Spider-Man quote to Peter — “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

The writers reveal why they killed Aunt May

During an interview with Variety, the Spider-Man: No Way Home screenwriters, Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna, explained their decision to kill Aunt May.

“We were at a point where we felt like there needed to be a loss, a sacrifice, that Peter needed to pay a real price for this decision to try to save the villains,” Sommers said. “I think it became pretty clear to a lot of us that losing Aunt May was the thing that would really drive home the point we were trying to make: making this the movie where Peter Parker experiences the loss that the other ones did in their first movies.”

McKenna added, “He was trying to do what May taught him. And that made the sacrifice that much more difficult because it blew up in his face, and it got her killed. Then he started questioning that morality in a way that he never really questioned because he hasn’t been put to the test in that way.”

In Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, Peter lost Uncle Ben. In The Amazing Spider-Man film series, starring Andrew Garfield, Peter lost Uncle Ben and his girlfriend, Gwen. Unfortunately, every single iteration of Spider-Man has lost someone close to him. And for Tom Holland’s character, it was Aunt May.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ once included more ‘Spider-Man’ legacy actors

Many actors from past Spider-Man films, including Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, returned to reprise their roles in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But, according to Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna, the original script had other actors, possibly including Emma Stone and Kirsten Dunst.

“Let’s write the script that is the kitchen sink, and we’ll just act like we were going to get everything we wish for,” McKenna revealed. “And like Peter’s wish, it became a nightmare. And it required very, very talented people to help us not die at the end.”

He continued, “We went down different roads with different characters that just didn’t fit. We can’t get into the details of that because it might be the kind of thing where they’ll find a way to explore those ideas. So I’d hate to spoil anything because I think we had a lot of fun.”

Sommers added, “The first draft, we bit off more than we could chew. Maybe some would argue that we still bit off more than we can chew.”

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters.

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