Spider-Man: No Way Home director spills secrets about his Spidey trilogy

Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in the poster for Spider-Man No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Entertainment)

Spider-Man: No Way Home wasn't just one of the most-talked about movies of 2021, it's still one of the most buzzed about movies now that it's out. While we wait to find out when No Way Home hits digital or Disney Plus, director Jon Watts has emerged to talk about both this movie and the other chapters of the Tom Holland Spider-Man trilogy (which we've referred to internally as Spider-Man's Home trilogy).

The director gave his first big interview to Variety, and even revealed how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted production. "We planned a big New York location shoot with tons of extras," Watts said, but "That became impossible. Even the most basic shot, of Peter Parker walking down the street, became a multilayered VFX shot." 

But they still managed to get it done in layers, filming the streets of New York, and then adding in actors and crowds in post-production. Could you tell? I couldn't.

A "therapy session" for the Spider-Man actors

Watts revealed that before he put the three Spider-Man actors on camera together, he arranged for something he calls "a Spider-Man therapy session." Watts, Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Jacob Batalon and Zendaya all gathered in folding chairs arranged in a circle (something Zendaya does a lot on Euphoria) to "talk about the story, how the pieces fit together and what Spider-Man meant to them."

This he said seemed to have enhanced the filming process when all three of the Spider-Man movie actors were filmed together for the first time, as Watts said "Because we had done that work ahead of time, when filming that first scene with everyone, it was great to take a step back and see the crew watching, like they were watching the movie."

The running thread of Watts' Spider-Man movies

While Spider-Man: No Way Home is tied to the previous Sam Raimi and Marc Webb-directed films via some decent cinematic webbing, Watts explained the true through-line of his Spider-movies: the director's own fears. While this explanation seems a bit stretched, here's what he said:

Spider-Man: Homecoming, Watts claims, "is about a kid who gets a huge opportunity and is so afraid he’ll miss his chance, that he creates a disaster," which reflects what Watts was thinking getting to direct such a big film. 

Then Far From Home was about — you guessed it — Watts' fear of screwing up this movie too, because "Peter Parker is given a mission [stop the elementals] and he doesn’t want to take a risk [and gave Tony Stark's glasses to Mysterio]," as Watts could have stuck too close to the formula of the first movie.

Lastly, you've got No Way Home, which Watts says "is about trying to finish this origin story and the responsibility that comes with this. Peter Parker and Spider-Man mean so much to people and I felt that responsibility." It's all pretty meta, right?

Could Spider-Man: No Way Home get an Oscar?

The interview, though, feels like a piece of Marvel Studios' campaign to get Spider-Man: No Way Home taken seriously by the Academy of Motion Pictures for Oscar contention. 

Not only is Watts making the case for their technical achievements to be taken seriously, but Tim Gray it ends with "Films don’t direct themselves, and they are not directed by committee. So Watts and the film need to be considered. What do you say Academy voters?"

So, do you think Spider-Man: No Way Home is Oscar-worthy? Let us know.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.