‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Filmmakers Explain Surprise Cameos
Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige have elaborated on the surprise cameos we got in the film. In case that wasn’t clear enough, Far From Home spoilers follow.
Marvel fans were very surprised to find out that the new Spider-Man film has a couple of significant cameos; one very easy to spot, the other not so much. The main cameo that has everyone talking is J. K. Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson in the film’s mid-credit scene, where he appears on a gigantic billboard broadcasting doctored footage manipulatively edited to reveal that Spider-Man ordered drones to execute people during his fight with Mysterio in London. As if that wasn’t enough, the footage then shows Mysterio revealing to the world that Spider-Man’s real identity is Peter Parker.
It’s not at all common for an actor to reprise a role in a rebooted franchise (with Lou Ferrigno’s cameo and voice role in The Incredible Hulk, along with collaborating with Mark Ruffalo for his scenes as the Hulk from that movie onward, being the only example in the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until now), so it’s safe to say that no one saw J. K. Simmons coming, in spite of the wishes of many fans should the character make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jon Watts has revealed a few details around the surprise cameo and how they ended up casting Simmons again:
“We always knew we wanted Spider-Man’s identity to be revealed. It felt like it had to be on some sort of news outlet. And then you start talking about, ‘Well, what is the main news outlet in Spider-Man’s world?’ And it’s always been The Daily Bugle. And when you start talking about The Daily Bugle, you start talking about J. Jonah Jameson. We thought if we’re going to have J. Jonah Jameson, it had to be J.K. Simmons…There was never any discussion about it being anyone else because it just wouldn’t have felt right. There was always the chance that he would say no, but I always wanted that. There was maybe a brief conversation about like, oh, is there a way to reinvent what The Daily Bugle is and who J. Jonah Jameson would be? But it just felt wrong. It’s gotta be him. Like, if it wasn’t him, it wasn’t worth doing.”
Kevin Feige approved of the casting, but was adamant that this didn’t confirm the existence of a multiverse in the MCU despite recasting the same actor, before also going into why they made Jameson an internet broadcaster and not a newspaper publisher, like in his original role in previous Spider-Man films and in the comics:
“The thing is, J.K. Simmons is such a versatile actor. Look at what he’s done over the years since his iconic portrayal of this character in the Sam Raimi films, and then all of his work, Whiplash being one of the biggest ones. It can be the same actor with that somewhat similar voice inflection, but with a totally different persona. That had never been done before. We really liked the idea that it’s a new Jameson, he’s not from another dimension or multiverse or something like that. It’s a new Jameson in this world played by the same actor. The notion of the powerful publisher doesn’t exist anymore. Selling newspapers, ‘Get ’em out, they gotta go to print!’ is a very romanticized notion that doesn’t exist anymore. So, you know, in the Ultimates there was the Daily Bugle website and things like that. But taking it into an even more contemporary radical left and radical right news journalist that kind of scream in front of the camera. And thinking, ‘Who could do it?'”
But that wasn’t the only cameo in Spider-Man: Far From Home, though it perhaps wasn’t as beloved as J. Jonah Jameson. In a surprise turn, Peter Billingsley returns as the scientist William Ginter Riva, who is perhaps most known for being screamed at by Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) in Iron Man when he admits he can’t recreate Tony Stark’s mini-arc reactor that he built in a cave… With a box of scraps. In an interview with Digital Spy, Jon Watts explained that it all had to do with Mysterio’s new background as a former Stark employee:
“I mean, it’s his weird crew. Beck’s weird crew. First of all, yeah, if you’re a Spider-Man fan, you know that Mysterio’s got more up his sleeve, so I never thought of that, for at least Spider-Man fans, as an ‘Oh shit, he’s bad.’ I think, ‘Maybe I can fool some people in the audience that he’s genuinely a good guy until that midpoint.’ In the end, it made most sense to tie it directly to the technology. To have Beck be the person who developed the holographic technology and to have [William Ginter Riva] be the guy who created the weaponized drone technology”
It seemed once he figured out that Mysterio’s powers came from Stark technology, then he wanted to bring one or two minor characters back.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now playing in theaters, and it is doing very well for itself.