WARNING: In case it wasn’t obvious, there are spoilers about the cast ahead.
Up until the day that Spider-Man: No Way Home hit theaters, fans were still divided over exactly which actors were going to appear onscreen alongside Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The biggest theory was that Marvel’s multiverse would bring the Spider-Man pointing meme to life by having Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire reprise their roles. When the potential reunion was first reported back in October 2020, a Sony rep simply responded that the castings were “not confirmed.” That same month, Jamie Foxx had confirmed his involvement in the movie by posting a quickly deleted image of three Spider-Men. As the movie’s release drew nearer, photos and video footage of Garfield and Maguire in their Spidey suits on set were eventually leaked. And fans also found clues elsewhere, including in merch given to the movie’s film crew, an Instagram post by Garfield’s stunt double, an interview with Maguire’s Spanish voice-dub actor, a marketing clip from Sony’s Latin America division, and even toy designs.
On the one hand, there was all of that evidence. But on the other hand, we had a bunch of actors promising us it wasn’t true! Yes, actors literally pretend for a living. But the constant denials were effective enough to make some people question whether all the speculation was based on Photoshop or wishful thinking. Now, for another spoiler alert: Garfield and Maguire do show up in No Way Home, along with other Marvel alums like Charlie Cox, Rhys Ifans, Willem Dafoe, and Alfred Molina. (Plus, in a post-credits scene, Tom Hardy as Venom.) So, now that fans’ long-held dream of three generations of Spider-Man in one film has become reality, here’s a look back at all the cast members who tried to fool us, starting with the biggest liars.
And You Would Do It Too for a Check
Here are the actors who definitely lied about who is in the cast.
May 4, 2021: Garfield addresses the rumors that he’s returning as Spider-Man for the first time. While guesting on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, he laughs at the idea and recommends that people “chill.”
“They might be doing something, but ain’t like I ain’t got a call,” he says. (The movie wrapped in March 2021.) When pressed, he concedes that he doesn’t want to rule anything out. “Maybe they’re doing like a market research thing,” he suggests innocently.
Entertainment Tonight releases an interview with Garfield on the same day. In it, he pretends he’s “closed the book” on revisiting the role of Spider-Man. “I haven’t had need to think about it, so it’s not something that I’ve really considered,” he lies. “So yeah, that’s my honest answer.”
May 5, 2021: He starts to make a little bit of an emotional appeal. “I hate being given the responsibility of disappointing people,” he tells Access Hollywood. Again, he claims he has not been asked to return, though perhaps to assuage his conscience, he adds, “You know, never say never.”
May 12, 2021: For BuzzFeed’s thirst tweets segment, Garfield reads a message from a fan who says their “bussy” is shaking at the thought of the three Spider-Man actors appearing in a movie together. “I’m afraid it may be shaking in vain,” he replies.
September 8, 2021: Variety reports that Garfield turns red and laughs when asked if he’ll appear in the movie. “It’s important for me to say on the record that this is not something I’m aware I am involved in,” the man who has been spotted on set declares. “But I know I’m not going to be able to say anything that will convince anyone that I don’t know what’s happening. No matter what I say, I’m fucked. It’s either going to be really disappointing for people or it’s going to be really exciting.”
September 13, 2021: Garfield starts getting philosophical. “What can I do? I have to let people be disappointed,” he tells Newsweek. “That’s a big part of my recovery in my life, is I have to allow people to have their own feelings. I can’t mitigate or control anyone else’s experience. That’s a practice of mine. So if they want to create an expectation for themselves, that’s up to them.”
September 14, 2021: Jimmy Fallon brings up the leaked photo of him and Maguire on set. Garfield does an unconvincing eyebrow raise and feigns ignorance. “I did see it, and it’s a Photoshop,” he later bluffs. Putting both hands up, he insists that he’s just trying to manage expectations. Though he jokes that they could still give him a call at this “late, late stage of the game,” he says he’s happy that he gets to experience the movie as a fan — his “preferred position.”
November 15, 2021: Now it’s a matter of professionalism. When the Today show slips in a No Way Home question, Garfield jokes, “You guys are really good at your jobs, but I’m better at mine.” Of course, he again claims that he’s not in the film. “I’m so excited to see what they do with the third one — just like you guys are, to be honest. No, that’s not like a diplomatic answer. Like, I really, really mean it.”
November 19, 2021: In GQ’s “Actually Me” segment, he avoids directly responding to a commenter who says Fallon should have asked about the leaked video, which isn’t as easily explained by Photoshop. “Listen, at this point … I’m done,” Garfield says. “We’ll all find out when the movie comes out. And we’ll either be very disappointed, or we’ll be very happy.” He adds, “I’m sorry in advance.”
November 22, 2021: Garfield reiterates to GQ that he is not in the movie. The outlet reports that the actor actually hasn’t “worked intensively” since 2018 and has become comfortable not working.
December 7, 2021: Of course Spider-Man comes up in the top web searches about himself that he has to address in an interview with Wired. “Oh, you almost got me,” he says. “No, I’m not. I’m not! Crying out loud. But I’m really excited to see what they’re gonna do with the next movie because I just love them.”
February 9, 2021: In an Esquire interview, Holland claims that Garfield and Maguire will not appear in No Way Home. “Unless they have hidden the most massive piece of information from me, which I think is too big of a secret for them to keep from me,” he says of Marvel. “But as of yet, no. It’ll be a continuation of the Spider-Man movies that we’ve been making.” The outlet reports that there’s almost a twinge of disappointment in his voice — nice touch, Holland.
February 23, 2021: Holland tells Jimmy Fallon that he’s read the whole script from beginning to end and Garfield and Maguire aren’t in it. “It would be a miracle if they could’ve kept that from me,” he claims. “But at the moment there is no cameo from the two boys.”
April 15, 2021: Speaking to GQ, he denies that Garfield and Maguire were on set or in the movie. “But I am being asked that question a lot,” he says. “If you see a red dot on my head, it’s a Sony or Marvel sniper about to blow my head off.”
November 9, 2021: Holland vaguely tells Total Film that it was “interesting having those guys come in because they have a certain ownership over Spider-Man in their own way.” After a pause, he clarifies that he’s talking about already announced Spider-Man alums Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx. “People don’t believe me when I say that Maguire and Garfield are not coming back,” he says. “But people are going to have to believe me at some point.”
November 17, 2021: He addresses the Garfield and Maguire rumors to GQ in a brief quote: “No one believes me, but they’re not in the film.”
December 8, 2021: Seated next to his poker-faced co-stars Jacob Batalon and Zendaya, Holland tells the AP that he would love to share the screen with Garfield and Maguire one day. “Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to wear the suits together, but it would be nice to make a film with both of them,” he lies.
Ask Me No Questions and I’ll Tell You No Lies
Here are the actors who probably didn’t lie or who refused to comment at all.
April 30, 2020: Cox tells ComicBook.com that he is not in the next Spider-Man movie. “I hadn’t heard those rumors, but it’s certainly not with my Daredevil. I’m not involved in it,” he says. “If that’s true, it’s not with me. It’s with another actor.” No Way Home hadn’t started filming yet, so it’s possible that he really doesn’t know that he’s in it.
September 1, 2021: Fans believe they catch a glimpse of Cox as Matt Murdock, Daredevil’s alter ego, in the No Way Home trailer. “I can promise you those are not my forearms,” Cox insists to ComicBook.com. (And he’s right — these are actually the arms of Agent Albert Cleary, played by Succession’s Arian Moayed.) This response allows him to dodge the real question of whether he is in the movie.
September 21, 2021: Cox offers Forbes a more open-ended answer when asked about his future with Spider-Man and the MCU. “I don’t want to ruin anything for fans either way,” he says. “My answer is no comment; I don’t know what’s going to happen. I genuinely don’t know. If there was a chance of that happening in the future, I don’t want to say something that could potentially jeopardize those chances.”
December 4, 2020: Jimmy Kimmel asks her if there are three Spider-Men in the movie. “I can neither confirm nor deny,” the actress who plays MJ replies. Kimmel then slips in a question about if she spent Thanksgiving “with Spider-Men.” Though she starts to say yes, she immediately stops herself and says she can’t answer.
December 12, 2021: Less than a week before the film’s release, Ifans still isn’t confirming his return as Lizard. According to Murphy’s Multiverse, the actor says with a big grin on his face that “like most Christmas presents, the good thing is not knowing what’s in them until it’s time to open them.”
August 12, 2021: The actor, who portrays the Green Goblin in the film, avoids answering the Wrap’s question about No Way Home. “I got lots of stuff happening now,” he says. “And, you know, I always feel like when a film comes out, that’s when it’s time to talk about it.”
December 1, 2021: When pressed by USA Today to spill any details about the film, Cumberbatch replies, “You know it’s a dead end.” The Doctor Strange star adds that he hasn’t actually read the whole script for the film anyway.
June 26, 2021: A fan (whose account has since been deleted) posts a selfie with Maguire on Instagram. The fan claims that when he asked Maguire if he would be in No Way Home, the actor replied that he couldn’t talk about it, but winked. ;)
Honesty Is the Best Policy
And finally, here’s an actor who apparently doesn’t care to lie at all.
April 16, 2021: Molina decides to break the news of his return as Doctor Octopus to Variety. “When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret,” he says with a laugh. “But, you know, it’s all over the internet. I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!”
More on Spider-Man: No Way Home
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