SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!
As Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home unfolds, it becomes apparent that not everything is going to be tied up with a neat bow at the end of the third act. Events of extreme consequence transpire in the blockbuster – both involving the personal life of Peter Parker and regarding the tear in the multiverse he causes – and it’s made clear throughout the story that some bells cannot be unrung. Ultimately, this feeling winds up being proven correct, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie's ending wraps in a place that radically changes the life of the hero played by Tom Holland.
The ending is a lot to process coming out of the film, especially when it comes to thinking about what it could mean for the future of the franchise – but in that regard we’ve got you covered. Do you have questions about the way things turn out in the movie and what it means for Spider-Man going forward? We’ve put together this feature to directly address any and all confusion. There’s a lot to dissect, so let’s start with a recap of exactly what happens at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
What Happens At The End Of Spider-Man: Far From Home
As the big third act battle sequence comes to an end in Spider-Man: No Way Home, a classic good news/bad news situation emerges. The good news is that Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) are all able to successfully cure the collection of multiverse villains of their various afflictions and turn them back into normal humans – including Norman Osborn a.k.a. Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). The bad news is that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is finding it impossible to mend the tears in reality, and as a result the world is close to being invaded by a vast collection of strangers from other universes.
MCU Spider-Man (a.k.a. Spider-Man 1) is unwilling to let either everything fall apart or let all the good that has been accomplished be erased, and so he does the big hero thing: he sacrifices his life to save everybody else. The only way that Doctor Strange can fix things is by completing the spell that will result in everyone in the world forgetting who Peter Parker is, and the teenage hero agrees to let it happen. As the sun rises on New York and the destroyed additions to the Statue of Liberty, Peter says his tearful goodbyes to his fellow Spider-Men, M.J. (Zendaya), and Ned (Jacob Batalon), and Strange casts his enchantment.
In the aftermath of the spell, Peter is hopeful that he can remind his girlfriend and his best pal who he is, and he prepares a whole written speech to deliver to try and convince them. He goes to the doughnut shop where M.J. works, and for a moment he thinks she recognizes him – but she is actually looking at Ned coming up behind him. He nervously prepares to try and explain everything, but he hesitates as he recognizes how happy M.J. and Ned are as they talk about being accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He internally decides that they are better off not knowing him, so he pockets his speech, orders a coffee, and leaves.
Peter’s next stop is to the cemetery so that he can visit the grave of Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Standing by his side is a mourning Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), though he also has no idea who Peter is. Happy asks how he knew May, and he lies by saying that he knew her through Spider-Man.
No longer having an identity, Peter has to start a new life alone. Though it’s not exactly clear how, he rents a crappy, run-down apartment as a living space – and one of the first things he does is get to work with a sewing machine. Making himself a brand new blue-and-red Spider-Man costume, he suits up and heads out to the streets of New York, ready to do Aunt May proud by accepting the great responsibility that comes with his great power.
It’s a big downer ending to be sure, and looking ahead it will clearly have a massive impact on the protagonist – both in his life as Peter Parker and his life as Spider-Man.
What Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Ending Means For Peter Parker
Fans love Peter Parker because of his expressive, youthful energy and ability to sling a witty quip just as quickly as a shot of webbing, but Spider-Man: No Way Home taps into what is an un-ignorable aspect of the character: his life is frequently miserable. He’s perpetually unsuccessful at balancing the two incompatible aspects of his existence – being a normal teenager/young adult and being a superhero – and he frequently has to face his struggles alone because doing otherwise would mean putting those he cares about in harm’s way.
Thanks to Peter’s budding relationship with M.J. and collaborations with the Avengers, these elements of the hero have not been prominently featured thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe… but that era is now over. His choice to let Doctor Strange cast his memory spell now means that every conflict he faces will be alone, and he clearly aims to keep it that way in order to keep safe those he loves.
Where Peter Parker is now is reminiscent of where Tobey Maguire’s incarnation was at the start of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 – though the difference with that film is that at least Peter had Harry Osborn (James Franco), Mary Jane (Kirstin Dunst), and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) in his life to keep at arm’s length. The only people who are going to be a part of MCU Peter’s life going forward are those he specifically chooses to let in, and he doesn’t appear to be ready for that to happen at all right now.
Of course, his lack of interpersonal relationships represents just one seriously scary part of his life right now. If nobody knows who he is, that presumably means that he is no longer enrolled at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, which classifies him as a high school dropout. This means that he isn’t going to be able to go to college, and he is going to need to get a job so that he can pay for rent and food (perhaps the Daily Bugle is hiring freelance videographers?). His adult life is instantly starting too early, and he has no support system whatsoever to help him adjust.
Life as Peter Parker is going to be sad for a good minute, but at least he can temporarily escape from his troubles by throwing on his new costume…
What Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Ending Means For Spider-Man
Compared to the other live-action Spider-Men we’ve seen on the big screen in the 20th century, the MCU incarnation started off his superhero career with a pretty privileged existence. While it’s true that he spent a brief period swinging around New York in a homemade suit, his friendship with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) meant that he had access to endless resources – and even after Tony’s death that continued thanks to the wall-crawler’s association with Happy Hogan. He was given extremely advanced technologies that were built directly into his suit, and the use of machines with the capacity to build anything he could imagine.
Again, though, that particular era is now over. The only resources that Spider-Man has now are his aforementioned sewing machine and his impressive intellect.
Is Spider-Man going to potentially be less effective now than he used to be? That seems like a given. Not only does his latest suit contain exactly zero bells and whistles (no more drone, nano-bots, or extra legs), but he’s also going to need to figure out a way that he can produce vast quantities of web fluid so that he doesn’t constantly run out while swinging around. Spider-Man: Homecoming suggests that the formula for the stuff isn’t particularly complicated, as we see him make a batch in a drawer during chemistry class, but he’s still going to need access to a lab.
The one and only big plus is that now absolutely nobody in the world knows that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. This includes not just casual civilians and former friends, but also antagonists such as Adrian Toomes a.k.a. Vulture (Michael Keaton) and J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Eventually someone will find out, but for now he’s operating with a clean slate.
As for when we’ll actually get to see the next chapter of Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s story, that’s a question we can’t presently answer. The character isn’t expected to show up in any of the films set to be released between now and May 2023, and Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have not yet announced their plans for producing the next solo movie. The safe bet is that the film will be part of the slate of titles that come out in 2024, but right now we have no official word regarding what that slate looks like.
For now we can all just enjoy Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is playing in theaters everywhere. To learn about all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that are set to be released in the next few years, check out our upcoming Marvel movies guide, and if you’re planning a big rewatch in the wake of the new blockbuster, you should give our Marvel movies in order feature a look.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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