Spidey spoilers ahead.
Now that you’ve seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and had the appropriate time to mourn the death of Emma Stone’s character (R.I.P., Gwen), you might well wonder why Peter Parker’s doomed girlfriend didn’t die like she did in the comics – from falling off a bridge and/or getting whiplash from Spider-Man’s attempt to save her. (We say either/or because it’s an unresolved question that is the subject of much fan debate, oddly enough.) Yes, Gwen plummets to her death, but this time, it’s in a clock tower, and there can be no debate – Peter gets to her too late. Was the change made purely to sidestep the issue? Producer Avi Arad chuckled when asked this at the Amazing Spider-Man 2 premiere in New York. “You know, when you make a movie, you try and tip your hat as close as possible to the origin,” he told Vulture. “And frankly, we’ve had bridges. Enough bridges. And I think we found more of a dramatic way to show that in this movie, a lot of it is about time.”
While some fans have found all the foreshadowing about eminent death in the film, Arad points to the dialogue about time – about time being luck, time being fast, how it’s time to be friends, or, as Stacy puts it, it’s time for her to go to England. “So a lot of that had to do with the clock, and the passage of time,” he said. “I think intellectually, we had a good connection. And the clock was special, because it’s the ultimate ticking clock.” The slo-mo in the scene, he said, made it more visually stunning, because “it gave you the opportunity to see the almost-moments.” From a design perspective and a script perspective, Arad said, “it was very successful.”
That’s not to say that he doesn’t appreciate the what-if aspects that the comics provide, a debate he refuses to take sides in. “No one will ever know, and part of it is that Peter will never know,” he said. “That’s what makes it so devastating. It’s not something you can walk away from. You’ll always think, What if she wasn’t there? I couldn’t let her do it. I had to try and save her. Is my attempt to save her what did it?” And some of those moral quandaries could still affect our movie Spidey in subsequent films, Arad said. “It will probably come up one day. ‘You killed her.’ ‘No, you killed her.’ It gives us a great literary license to play with.”