[SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen the movie, turn back now. Like, right now.]
Spider-Man: Far From Home did what no other Marvel Cinematic Universe movie has done before: It acknowledged the other Spider-Man movies with the return of J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson.
Far From Home‘s first end-credits scene is a big deal for both Spidey and the MCU. After taking MJ (Zendaya) for a spin on his webs around New York, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man returns to the city streets just as a breaking news announcement plays on building-size screen. On it, Simmons’ J. Jonah appears — hosting an InfoWars-esque The Daily Bugle.net newscast — and reveals to the world (with the help of Mysterio’s doctored footage) that Spider-Man is really Peter Parker. Simmons’ appearance in the MCU marks the first time Marvel Studios has featured an actor or character from any movies pre-MCU, and director Jon Watts explained how they pulled it off.
First, when Watts wanted to bring back J. Jonah Jameson, Simmons was the only actor the production considered. “Yeah, there was never a question. I was like it has to be him or let’s not do it,” Watts told Uproxx. That hardest part was keeping the cameo top secret.
“We didn’t want to say anything to [Simmons] or to anyone because we didn’t want any press to leak out about it, via his agents or whatever,” the director explained to Collider. “So we waited until the very, very last second and called him up, and he came by and he was, ‘Wait, what? You want me to do what?’ It took him a second to understand, but as we pitched the idea he was totally on board and he really loved getting to be the person who finally outs Peter Parker.”
To further preserve the element of surprise, Watts and his crew filmed the scene as late possible. In fact, the end-credits scenes were all filmed within the last month – long after the main shoot had wrapped.
“We just set up a green screen in the conference room at Disney and [Simmons] just came by,” Watts said. “It was very strange for him, too, because the first take he just launches right into that iconic character and I ruined the take because I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so amazing.”
The only thing more amazing is what the cameo suggests: That the Sam Raimi films exist in an alternate dimension parallel to the one home to the MCU films. But Watts wouldn’t confirm or deny that connection.
“Definitely it raises some very interesting questions,” Watts teased to Collider. “But, yeah, it does open up some strange possibilities by having him be the same person.” When pressed if Watts had talked about more specifics with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, Watts remained tight-lipped but optimistic:
“Not really allowed to say, but I would say that all options are on the table. That’s how I like to think of it.”
And fans will spend the rest of the summer thinking about what other pre-MCU movies and characters could impact Marvel’s future slate. Can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters now. Grab your tickets below.