Some people have started to get superhero movie fatigue over the last few years. We’ve had dozens of them crammed down our throats in the last decade or so; they’ve taken off and studios have begun connecting them all to one another.
But there’s one other superhero flick that managed to stand head and shoulders above them all. Spider-Man: Homecoming has heart, humor, action, twists, turns, terror, Iron Man — it’s got it all! However it was almost a different film. A lot of crazy things had to happen behind the scenes to make it the way it is today. So, without further ado, here are 15 interesting facts about Spider-Man: Homecoming. Enjoy!
15. Donald Glover’s character is more than he seems
Remember the couple of scenes where Donald Glover showed up in, and you wondered why the filmmakers would cast such a big, popular star in such a small, seemingly insignificant role? Well, there’s two reasons for that. They needed someone really comically talented to pull off that brilliant ice cream line.
But also, Glover’s character Aaron Davis mentions that he has a nephew living in the city. In the comics, Aaron Davis is the alter ego of The Prowler in the Ultimate Marvel universe, and his nephew is Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man. Interestingly, Glover played Miles Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and he’s currently working on an animated comedy series based on the Deadpool comics for FX.
14. Nick Fury was supposed to be in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Originally, in the early development stages of the movie, Nick Fury was going to be a part of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Samuel L. Jackson was going to be Peter Parker’s mentor as he flits between waiting to get called back into the Avengers and going on his own adventure in New York only to find himself out of his depth.
However, the writers went with Tony Stark as Peter’s mentor, despite Robert Downey, Jr.’s absurd salary demands. Nick Fury has been off the grid since Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will remain in hiding beyond the next Avengers movies. Besides, Tony was the guy who recruited Parker on his side in Civil War, so it fit better.
13. The cast had to watch John Hughes movies to prepare
Spider-Man: Homecoming was intended to be a kind of teenage coming-of-age story that happened to feature superhero action and alien weapons. So, director Jon Watts turned to the genre’s main pioneer, John Hughes, and made the cast watch a marathon of his films to prepare. “He gave us a lot of movies to watch,” Tom Holland said of the experience. “God, there’s so many movies, and we basically just all sat down in my house in Atlanta” — for some reason, the British-born Hollywood actor lives in Georgia — “all the cast, and we just watched them all in one day and just had like a Domino’s day. It was amazing —The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink — there were loads of them.”
12. Tom Holland campaigned for the role in 2013
Dreamboat Tom Holland has wanted to play Peter Parker even before the role was up for grabs. In 2013, Holland was promoting his movie How I Live Now and one journalist asked him what kind of project he’d like to do next. He mentioned action and humor then they asked him if he’d like to play a superhero.
Holland said, “Maybe Spider-Man.” At the time, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was still being made and Sony had The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 in the pipeline for Andrew Garfield to star in. Holland added, “In ten years’ time. The reboot of the reboot, if they do that.” Oh, they did do that. It’s crazy how fast things can change in four years.
It’s like those Donald Trump interviews from 20 years ago, where he mentions in passing that he might run for President. Everyone at the time was like, “Pff, yeah, that’ll happen.”
11. There are less obvious links to the MCU
Of course Spider-Man: Homecoming has links to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The whole opening scene is the airport fight from Captain America: Civil War shot from a different point of view; Tony Stark is in every other scene (often in his Iron Man garb); and in the Marvel universe, Captain America makes PSAs for high school students.
But there are more subtle connections to the MCU in Homecoming that you may have missed. Besides Hannibal Buress calling Captain America “a war criminal,” Peter’s high school principal is played by Kenneth Choi, one of Cap’s Howling Commandos in The First Avenger. Funny enough, there’s a picture of said Howling Commando in his office, which suggests they are related.
Plus, in one of Peter’s classes, a teacher drones on about the Sokovia Accords, a reference to the laws passed in the wake of Avengers: Age of Ultron that aims to legally regulate superpowered individuals. There were also those bank robbers wearing Avengers masks. And the nerds mentioning something about vibranium: the near indestructible metal that Black Panther holds onto in Wakanda. Vibranium was used to create Captain America’s shield and Ultron’s refurbished body.
10. The movie’s title means more than it seems
The title of the movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, has a secret hidden meaning. Obviously, the most overt meaning of the title is that it takes place in the high school year where Peter Parker has his homecoming dance, and the plot culminates in a climax that partly takes place there.
But it also has a second meaning, unrelated to the plot. It’s a reference to the fact that Spider-Man has returned ‘home’ back to Marvel after five movies in Sony’s hands.
On a side note, one of the greatest movie plot twists of all time comes when (SPOILER!) Peter goes to Liz’s house to pick her up for the homecoming dance. When the door opens, he finds out her dad is none other than Michael Keaton’s character Adrian Toomes, the bad guy who’s been trying to kill Peter for the whole movie.
9. Two thirds of the Sinister Six have now appeared in movie form
The Sinister Six are kind of like the Suicide Squad or the Legion of Doom of Spider-Man villains. They’re made up of the core bad guys across Spider-Man comic book lore and there was going to be a whole movie dedicated to them directed by Drew Goddard until Sony had to cancel their little Spider-Man Cinematic Universe.
They gave Spidey back to Marvel. But that’s okay, because we’ve now seen most of them in movie form anyway. Doctor Octopus was in Spider-Man 2, Sandman was in the dreadful Spider-Man 3, Electro was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and now we’ve seen The Vulture in all his glory in Spider-Man: Homecoming. All we’re waiting for now are Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter and we’ll have a complete set.
8. The books Michelle reads have a subtle relation to Spider-Man
When the news broke that Zendaya had been cast in the new Spider-Man movie, many may have thought the starlet would play the beautiful romantic lead. However, she instead played a dark, brooding, makeup-free nihilist. She can often be seen reading a book, and considering it’s the Disney Channel’s Zendaya, that was even more surprising.
But what she’s reading is very significant in its allusions to the Spider-Man character. She reads Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, which is about an orphan who lives with his aunt, just like Peter Parker.
She also reads Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading, about a man awaiting his execution in prison with only a spider to keep him company. Also, she wears a Sylvia Plath t-shirt. There’s a famous poem by Sylvia Plath called “Spider,” and she’s known for her use of spider-based imagery in her writing.
7. A-list actors are lining up for the villain role in the sequel
The villain role in Spider-Man: Homecoming went to superhero movie royalty Michael Keaton, who helped to make comic book movies a viable mainstream option with his wildly popular Batman movies. He did a brilliant job as Adrian Toomes, a salt-of-the-earth type with deep issues, rather than just a two-dimensional caricature. We admire him for it.
But some huge A-list names are already lining up for the villain role in the sequel. Matthew McConaughey has expressed interest in playing Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. Alfred Molina has spoken about playing Doc Ock again. Cillian Murphy is interested in playing a Spider-Man villain. And Vincent D’Onofrio would like to reprise his role of Wilson Fisk from Netflix’s Daredevil, also tied into the MCU.
On a side note, Mark Hamill was interested in playing The Vulture before Keaton was cast.
6. Marisa Tomei was horrified to find out how old Aunt May is supposed to be
Oscar-winning Hollywood royalty Marisa Tomei plays a different kind of Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Different in the sense that Tony Stark flirted with her. Previously, we’ve had the elderly versions from the other movies — much closer to the typical Aunt May from the comics.
When Tomei found out how old Aunt May is supposed to be, she flipped out. She feared that producers considered her in that age category. Her brother though, a diehard Marvel fan, put her mind at ease, explaining that May is not a blood relative to Peter. Therefore she could be portrayed as much younger.
This made Tomei feel better about playing “the old lady” — the filmmakers were clearly taking her character in a different direction than the comics.
5. The movie is rife with Easter eggs
As is usually the case with a big comic book movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming is brimming with little hidden references to the comic lore. Aunt May’s license plate is also a hidden Easter egg. It reads, “AMF-1562,” which is a reference to Spider-Man’s first ever comic book appearance: Amazing Fantasy issue 15, published in 1962. Nice touch, right?
The year Peter’s school was founded is noted as 1962, another reference to when Spider-Man was first introduced. Also, the name Bagley appears all over Homecoming’s New York City in the form of graffiti. This is a reference to comic book artist Mark Bagley, who shook up the Spider-Man comics in the 1990s, working on both classic storylines and the rebooted Ultimate Spider-Man rendition of the character.
And when Peter saves Liz in the Washington Monument elevator, she almost suffers the same fate as Gwen Stacy in the comics. In this version though, he manages to sling a web onto her hand, not her neck, so she doesn’t die. Yay!
4. The theme music is familiar
J.J. Abrams’ go-to musical score composer Michael Giacchino, who provided the music for Abrams’ Lost and Star Trek provided the score for Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was his second score for a Marvel movie after last year’s mind-bending Doctor Strange, and he didn’t let them down.
See, rather than create a new theme song that wouldn’t be memorable in the slightest, he instead adapted the classic 1967 theme song from the old animated series, written by Paul Francis Webster and Robert “Bob” Harris. “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can.” Giacchino’s version is orchestral and epic.
3. Stan Lee’s cameo was one of four shot in one day
Stan Lee is getting very old. Like, very old. So, most of his days must be spent at home. He wakes up, eats dry toast and melon slices, sits on his couch and intermittently dozes off, eats some warm soup, and then goes to bed at four o’clock. This means his routine cameos in Marvel movies have to work around his old man schedule.
According to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Lee shot his cameo appearances for four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies — Spider-Man: Homecoming, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and one other movie Gunn refused to name — in just one day of filming.
The unnamed movie is speculated to be Thor: Ragnarok, the next one in the MCU release schedule.
2. This version of Spider-Man is more faithful to the comics
The previous Spider-Man movies by Sony were a little infamous for their lack of faithfulness to the comics. A few of them featured iconic moments from the comics — like the death of Gwen Stacy and the shot of Peter in an alleyway walking away from a trash can with his Spider-Man suit hanging out of it.
But the actual Spider-Man character was lacking in some areas. For starters, the Tobey Maguire incarnation of the character shoots webs directly out of his wrists, where Tom Holland’s version has shooters filled with web fluid, just like in the comics.
Holland’s version also has the underarm web wings, and the adjustable eye holes, which make it easier for him to express emotion. Earlier versions necessitated the actors to take their masks off to show expression. Also, the Spider-Man character in the comics has an introspective nature and often has long thought bubble soliloquies.
These weren’t in the earlier movies, since they’re hard to show in film form. However, the Karen AI that Tony Stark put in his suit made this possible.
1. The sequels will be like Harry Potter
A whole year before Spider-Man: Homecoming was released, studio head Tom Rothman announced that both Sony and Marvel were dedicated to developing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man into a series of standalone movies.
By last October, months before Homecoming came out, Holland said the creative team was in the process of working out “who the villain is going to be and where we’re going” for a possible second movie. Then everyone loved the Homecoming trailer, so Sony set a release date of July 5, 2019 for a sequel.
Executive producer and MCU overlord Kevin Feige said that future Spider-Man movies will follow the way the Harry Potter movies were made. Each movie will follow another school year in the life of Peter Parker.
The studio brass is eager for director Jon Watts to return for the sequel, which will shoot next year. Holland will definitely be back, and Tomei has stated she will happily return to play Aunt May.