Since the post-credit scene of 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” fans have been wondering what shenanigans Tom Holland’s Peter Parker would get into now that he no longer has a secret identity or a protective guardian figure (post Iron Man’s death and Mysterio’s betrayal). After waiting for what seemed like a year (about seven months), fans finally learned the next film’s title — “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” This was revealed in a meta video after the main actors “accidentally” posted the wrong titles to their social media accounts. Theories went rampant after the title dropped, but months went by, and we still didn’t have a trailer.
The only confirmed facts about the film were the puzzling re-appearances of Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, Jamie Foxx’s Electro and a key that made everything a little clearer, the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange. Marvel president Kevin Feige also announced that the film would directly connect to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The buzz for the latest Spider-Man installment was at an all-time high, especially considering the rumor that under his contract, the film would be Holland’s last solo.
Films traditionally follow a set schedule for promotions: teaser trailer, official poster art, ancillary toy product line drops (i.e. Funko Pops) and, finally, the finale trailer. Promotions would also include a series of 30-second TV commercials. The teaser trailer would drop roughly six months before the film’s release at the earliest. However, the genre of the film impacts the trailer dates, as well as whether the film is a sequel or part of a larger franchise. Considering the MCU’s continuity and Spider-Man’s role in it, fans expected summer trailers to go as followed: “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Eternals” and then “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
With the title dropping in February, the release date moved from July to December; since the other film trailers already dropped by mid-August, fans wondered why Sony was waiting so long. Since February there hadn’t been a promotional campaign for the film at all, but the bigger question was: Did they need to have one? During the summer, the film was known as Hollywood’s worst-kept secret as more and more rumors and theories kept getting confirmed by cast members. Does a film of this caliber even need a trailer?
Things were not looking good for Spider-Man fans when COVID-19 cases started rising again and thoughts of another fall lockdown happening grew more urgent. The light at the end of the tunnel was Cinema Con, which was set to be held on Aug. 23. This was a fan convention smaller than Comic-Con but big enough to warrant a two-hour panel by Sony. This had industry insiders belting out that the wait was finally over and that the teaser trailer would be played during the panel — but it was still unknown whether it would be released to the public.
Then, on Aug. 22, something strange happened. Of all places, a raw, unedited version of the “No Way Home” trailer had been uploaded to and gone viral on TikTok. Fans went nuts debating whether they should watch the trailer or just wait a mere 20 hours more — I mean, this was already the longest trailer slow burn ever, so how much more pain could a few hours inflict? Besides, the leaked trailer was bad; it was a low-quality video of the unedited trailer, but some fans ate it up because they just couldn’t wait any longer.
Whether they were planning on dropping the trailer to the public during Cinema Con or not, the leak gave Sony no other choice. Aug. 23 came, my first day of school, and I spent the day glancing at my phone every hour, hoping with fingers crossed that it wouldn’t drop while I was in a lecture. Finally, that evening, my phone started chirping. My favorite YouTuber, Warren Thompson aka The Cosmic Wonder, tweeted, “ITS OUT ITS OUT ITS OUT” with the trailer’s link attached. I immediately watched it three times in a row.
The trailer picked up right after the previous film’s post-credit cliffhanger and broke down the assumed consequences Peter might face after being accused of murder. After some time has passed, he seeks help from Dr. Strange, requesting that he cast a spell that will hide his identity once more — a spell so strong that his wizard companion Wong strongly advises him not to. Dr. Strange says he won’t, but winks at Peter; the trailer then cuts to the spell being performed. Peter realizes that the people he loves most will forget his secret and starts panicking, disrupting both Dr. Strange and the spell. Everything around them explodes into complete chaos.
The multiverse, a concept begun this summer by the Disney+ show “Loki,” is completely ripped open. We see a Green Goblin pumpkin bomb beautifully layered with Willem Dafoe’s iconic goblin laughter from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise. The trailer features a montage of subtle references to different villains, from lightning bolts presumably linked to Jamie Foxx’s Electro (from the Marc Webb films) to rising sand possibly marking a return of Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman. However, the big money shot — the oh-crap-it’s-finally-happening moment — is when Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus reached one mechanical tentacle up to a bridge, bringing him into the frame as he spoke two words that caused fans around the globe to scream: “Hello, Peter.”
Within 12 hours it became the fifth most-watched trailer, and 24 hours after its release it was officially the most-watched trailer of all time with 355 million views and counting. This beat the “Avengers: Endgame” trailer’s record by more than 1 million views. Knowing that the multiverse plays a factor in this film, there is no doubt that all three Spider-Man actors will share the screen, fighting a slew of villains together. “No Way Home” has the potential to break pre-COVID box office records and will no doubt be the highest-grossing film since “Avengers: Endgame.”
We still don’t have an official poster and I don’t think we’ll see the other Spider-Men until the final trailer, but the wait is finally over. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is coming exclusively to theaters and should definitely get people out of their homes.