[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”]
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never been shy about introducing game-changing elements in post-credits scenes — remember our first look at Thanos, the ultimate big baddie? That was just a quick hit in a post-credits stinger following “The Avengers” — but “Spider-Man: Far From Home” runs positively wild with the possibility that an entire film, an entire franchise can be impacted by something thrown into the middle of a credit crawl.
While Jon Watts’ “Spider-Man: Far From Home” ends on an upbeat note, well-earned after asking young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) to work his way through his grief over “the snap” and the loss of mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) while also navigating a nutty high school trip to Europe, a pair of post-credits scenes hint at a darker future for the webhead. They also lay the groundwork for both the next chapter in the Spider-Man franchise and hint at far-ranging impacts on the MCU in general.
In short, they’re big, perhaps the biggest Marvel has ever offered in this format, and they’re hard not to get excited over (and, yes, Watts knows just how big they are). At the very least, they imply bigger parts in the franchise for two of indie film’s most beloved character actors, and that’s never a bad thing.
“Pretty early on, you start to get a feeling for if something is part of the main body of the film or if it makes more sense as a tag,” Watts told IndieWire during a recent interview. “It was similar with these, but after the tag we did on the last movie, which was just the Captain America PSA, I felt like I owed it to the fans to do something a little bit more substantial.”
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Ahead, Watts breaks down both of the post-credits scenes in his film and what they mean for his friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (and, yes, the MCU as a whole) going forward.
[One more time: Spoilers ahead for both “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and its post-credits scenes.]
1. An Old Favorite Returns (And a Hero Is Unmasked)
One happy change for Peter: “Far From Home” finally sees him expressing his feelings for MJ (Zendaya), even if it takes some massive battles and a little bit of misdirection. Even better, MJ knows about his secret identity and is totally cool with it, which is why the first post-credits scene sees Peter picking MJ up in midtown Manhattan and going on a swing around the city.
Just as the pair prepare to part outside Madison Square Garden, giddy about their burgeoning relationship and basking in their big secret, a classic loudmouth breaks in to disrupt all that happy calm. And he’s a familiar loudmouth too: J.K. Simmons, reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson, now styled as a fast-talking YouTube personality (yes, The Daily Bugle is now a streaming outfit). Seeing Simmons back in the role he so very much made his own in Sam Raimi’s earlier Spider-Man series is the best kind of shock, even if it temporarily obscures what he’s actually saying.
“There was always the chance that he would say no, but I always wanted that,” Watts said. “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.”
But both Jameson and The Daily Bugle have been reinvented for modern times — and a film that cleverly flirts with the influx of “fake news” throughout its running time — and when he suddenly appears on a giant screen on MSG, he’s not there to issue happy news. Instead, this Jameson is showing off exclusive footage from Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, who was previously revealed to both Peter and the audience as a con man and fraud.
But the rest of the world doesn’t know that. They still think he’s a for-real superhero who died in the heat of battle (a fake battle!), and he’s still got one last trick: a doctored video that “shows” Spider-Man killing him for no apparent reason. Just as both Jameson and his “DailyBugle.net” reveal themselves to be terrifying (and, yes, sort of funny) new enemies, the loudmouth newsman offers one last shocker, as he reveals Spider-Man’s real world identity, as a shocked Peter and MJ look on.
“It’s kind of just strange that this very over the top performance of J. Jonah Jameson from the Sam Raimi films now doesn’t seem as over the top, and there are [now] real world comparisons,” Watts said when asked about threading the needle between realism and wackiness. “So it’s not me, it’s the world!”
So, not only does “Far From Home” end with Peter Parker unmasked, it also ends with Spider-Man cast as a villain. Oh, and now J. Jonah Jameson is running a nutty news outfit that’s hellbent on taking down one of Earth’s biggest heroes. Well, at least some things never change.
2. Nick Fury Needs a Vacation, Too
“I think about [‘Far From Home’] as a con man movie, there’s so many layers of deception throughout the whole movie, that it just felt right to do one last little reveal,” Watts said. “One last little twist at the very end. It all felt on theme.”
That final twist is a potent and funny one, but just like the first post-credits tag, it comes with big implications for the future (and the past). When the scene opens, we’re on a sunny beach and Marvel’s most high-strung stickler Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is kicking back for some much-needed R&R. Like Peter, he’s clearly been in desperate need of a vacation, but the second the beach scene fades away — like so much of the film’s biggest twists, it’s all a simulation — it’s clear that Fury has been enjoying the relaxing life for awhile.
No, really, quite awhile: it wasn’t him in “Far From Home.” Fury, it seems, is trawling through space on a massive Skrull ship (yes, they’re back!), while he and trusty sidekick Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) have been temporarily replaced on Earth by everyone’s favorite shape-shifters.
“After I saw ‘Captain Marvel’ and saw Fury’s origin story in that film, it just made sense,” he said. “We’ve learned so much more about Nick Fury now that ‘Captain Marvel’ has come out, it felt like the right thing to do. It was on theme as a con, but it was also on theme as like, everyone needs a vacation!”
Fury is called back into action by “Captain Marvel” stars Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his wife Soren (Sharon Blynn), who have spent the entire movie pretending to be the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, all the better for the duo to enjoy some free time. Eagle-eyed viewers have likely noticed that the pair seemed a little off their game during the film’s action, but like so many parts of the story, that could easily be chalked up to post-“Endgame” weirdness.
In actuality, their plucky fill-ins have done the best job they can, but now they need the real Fury back in the saddle. And, of course, that begs a few questions: how long have the Skrulls being running these (authorized, still funny) missions for S.H.I.E.L.D.? Where is Fury actually? And what else has happened to the Skrull community after “Captain Marvel”?
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” is in theaters now.