Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained: answering your biggest questions

Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

The Spider-Man: No Way Home ending felt like a definitive full stop on Spidey's first era in the MCU, all while setting up a fresh start for the wallcrawler. While the No Fun Stuff re-release hasn't changed anything in the movie's final act, it does include a new post-credits scene that bounces off the movie's surprise conclusion.

So, let's dig into it: there are Spider-Man's most troublesome villains have all come to the MCU thanks to Doctor Strange's spell gone wrong. Then... well, let's not talk about that up here. There's a lot to get into, and we've broken down all the biggest twists, turns, and cameos in the below guide to the Spider-Man: No Way Home ending. We are, of course, going to be dealing with major Spider-Man spoilers!

We're going deep on the biggest questions you have, first explaining the basic plot points that may have been confusing, and then going into detail on those surprise cameos. Again, spoilers are ahead! 

The Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained

Spider-Man No Way Home spoiler warning

(Image credit: Sony)

After his identity is revealed to the world, Peter Parker struggles with his newfound fame. The young soon-to-be-ex-highschooler visits Doctor Strange, hoping the former Sorcerer Supreme (Wong now has that handle after Strange disappeared in the Blip) will cast a spell to make the world forget that he is Spider-Man. However, things go wrong as Peter messes with the spell while Strange casts it, causing the multiverse to rip, dragging in everyone from other universes who *do* know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

Parker and Strange go round up the villains who have appeared in the MCU – Doctor Octopus, Electro, Lizard, Sandman, and a seemingly friendly Green Goblin – and Strange decides to send them back to their universes by undoing the initial spell (neatly trapped in a box). There’s a catch, though: when they return to their original universes, they will die. 

Parker’s moral conscience won’t allow that. He takes the box from Strange, locks the wizard in the Mirror Dimension, and takes the villains to Happy’s apartment where Parker can try and cure the Sinister Five of their evil superpowers – the hope being that, by doing so, when they return to their respective universes, they will no longer die because they are no longer bad. 

Things do not go as planned. Doctor Octopus has his inhibitor chip restored but Green Goblin turns sour. They all escape and Gobbers ends up killing Aunt May with his hovercraft. Before she dies, though, she manages to give Uncle Ben’s classic “with great power comes great responsibility” speech. Cue tears. 

Parker goes missing, his heart broken. Meanwhile, best friend Ned uses Doctor Strange’s portal-maker finger-thing to search for Parker but finds… the wrong Peter Parker. Turns out, not just villains were brought into the MCU: Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s web-heads are here, too. Together with MJ, they quickly manage to find Tom Holland’s Parker and the trio set about creating cures for the villains.

With the three Spider-brainiacs quickly cracking how to help the four remaining evil-doers, they lure the villains to the newly shielded Statue of Liberty. There, they manage to turn Lizard back into a man, de-sand Sandman, and unplug Electro. All that remains is Green Goblin. Holland’s Parker goes one-on-one with Osbourne, and almost kills him, but Maguire’s Parker steps in, only to get stabbed by the Goblin. Holland’s Parker is then flung the cure by Garfield’s Parker, injects Goblin with it, and his aggressive toxins disappear, leaving a broken Norman Oscbourne behind.

At the same time, Strange has broken free from the Mirror Dimension, and Holland’s Parker asks him to undo everything with a spell – one that will make the world forget who Peter Parker is. Strange somewhat reluctantly agrees, casts the spell, and the multiverse-men are all sent back to their worlds. However, MJ and Ned forget Parker’s existence, and after Parker visits MJ and sees that she’s OK, he decides not to reintroduce himself properly. Parker rents an apartment in New York and goes about being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

There’s a tiny bit more: the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene sees Tom Hardy’s Venom talking to a barman (played by Ted Lasso’s Cristo Fernández) about the universe he has been transported to. He’s in disbelief at Thanos and Hulk and Iron Man. Then, poof, Doctor Strange’s "undo" spell kicks in and Venom’s sent back to the Sony-verse – but a speck of the Venom symbiote remains behind. The More Fun Stuff post-credits scene isn't confirmed to be canon, but it doesn't carry too many story ramifications. In it, Peter's fellow Midtown High student Betty Brant presents a highlight reel of student photos from the past few years. Liz is back from Homecoming but Peter is noticeably absent or obscured. Doctor Strange's spell has done the trick: the spell has worked and everyone has forgotten who Peter Parker is.

Why are Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in No Way Home?

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

The secret everyone saw coming: Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The duo are, like the villains, brought into the MCU because Doctor Strange’s spell goes wrong, leading to everyone who knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man throughout the multiverse being brought into this single universe.

Weirdly, there could have potentially been dozens of other Peter Parkers wandering around the world – Ned only happens to call on two Peter Parkers, but what if there were others all over? We will unfortunately never know, as Doctor Strange sent all the multiverse-men packing back to their universes. 

It’s also worth noting that Maguire’s Parker seemingly walks off that stab wound pretty easily, so we can assume he’s safely back home with his Mary Jane. And hopefully Garfield’s back home, too, with a renewed sense of faith in the world.

Why were the villains still young when the Peters were older?

Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony)

There are a few multiversal inconsistencies in No Way Home that the movie attempts to rectify, but you may have missed the explanations. First, there’s Jamie Foxx’s Electro who’s suddenly really suave, despite the villain being a dorky tech-nerd in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Apparently, the electrical energy in the MCU feels different, imbuing him with a new look.

Then there’s the fact that Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus are the same age as when they were killed in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, respectively. Alfred Molina – who plays Otto Octavius – is even de-aged using CGI. Conversely, Maguire’s Peter Parker has aged appropriately as the actor has gotten older. 

Why? This comes down to the idea that the villains were snapped up from their universes just before they die. This version of Doctor Octopus is, for instance, taken from moments before his final death in Spider-Man 2, when he has one of his metal hands around Maguire’s Parker’s neck. Norman Osborne, meanwhile, is taken from just before he impales himself using his own glider in Spider-Man. However, Maguire’s Parker seemingly comes from the current moment as he has not died and is just living out his life post-Sam Raimi's trilogy. Garfield’s Parker is also taken from the current moment just on an alternate timeline. Hence why they have aged, while the villains were frozen in time from the moment before they died.

Why is Venom in the MCU?

still from Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Now, here’s a multiversal inconsistency that’s not explained in a straightforward way. Tom Hardy’s Venom shows up in the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene, having been transported into the MCU – which we already knew had happened because of the Venom 2 post-credits scene. But why was Venom transported over to the MCU when he did not know that Peter Parker was Spider-Man? We may have an answer to that.

Venom, the symbiote, has hive-mind powers. During the post-credits scene for Venom 2, the alien offers to give his host, Eddie Brock, knowledge of his own past. "80 billion light-years of hive knowledge across universes would explode your tiny little brain," Venom says. Apparently, Venom has multiversal knowledge, though this all remains a little confusing. Hopefully, the inevitable release of Venom 3 will offer some answers – and have Venom asking more questions about Thanos.

Why is Electro in the MCU?

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Another multiversal inconsistency: how is Electro in the MCU when he seemingly doesn't know that Spider-Man is Peter Parker? Throughout the events of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Electro remained oblivious to the truth. 

The villain even makes a reference to hoping the man under the mask was Black – a hint towards Miles Morales (more on him later) – which implies he really didn't know Peter was Spider-Man. How comes he's been transported to the MCU, then? This is one plot hole that has yet to be answered. 

What happened to the multiverse characters?

Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Green Goblin, Lizard, Electro, Sandman, and Doctor Octopus are all cured of their villainy by the Spider-Man: No Way Home ending. When they are sent back to their respective universes after Doctor Strange casts a new spell, the Spider-Men hope that – thanks to the five villains no longer being evil – they will not cause any more havoc and therefore will not die in their universes.

A few things to note: Lizard, Green Goblin, and Electro should all now survive their ultimate fates after being cured by the three Spider-Men. However, Doc Ock actually does save New York from his own evil plan – creating a miniature sun in Spider-Man 2 – after having had a change of heart. The unfortunate consequence is that he switches sides too late, and must die alongside his science experiment. Perhaps, thanks to Holland’s Peter’s efforts, Doc Ock will be heroic a little earlier and save the day without having to die.

On Sandman: Flint Marko just wants to go home to his daughter throughout No Way Home. The villain was never killed in Spider-Man 3, and instead went off into the sunrise after Maguire’s Peter Parker lets him live. Curing Flint stops him from causing any issues in the future, but would not have saved Sandman as Sandman was not going to die.

Then there’s Maguire and Garfield’s Parkers, who also head back to their own universes. They just go back to doing whatever they were doing – by the sounds of it, Maguire’s Parker is living happily with Mary Jane, while Garfield’s Parker now has a renewed sense of enthusiasm for saving the day having been in a depression after Gwen’s death in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

Finally, we have Venom, who is presumably back in the Sony-verse and away from the MCU for good.

Is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man still an Avenger? 

Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

By the end of No Way Home, everyone – even MJ, Ned, and Happy – have forgotten who Peter Parker is. Yet, as J. Jonah Jameson makes clear, the world still knows that Spider-Man exists. Which means that Spider-Man is a member of the Avengers, it’s just that his teammates don’t know his alias.

Having everyone forget about Peter Parker also acts as an exciting new launch pad for Holland’s Spider-Man. With no more existential worries about potential villains attacking loved ones, Parker swings out of his new apartment to stop local crime in New York.

Will Tom Holland be in Spider-Man 4? 

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Tom Holland has remained coy about whether he will return as Spider-Man. "I don't know," Holland told Total Film when asked about playing the character again in the future. "Looking beyond Marvel or Sony, I’m very excited. I just think there are endless opportunities for me to do what I want, and doing what I want might not be in the film industry. It might be completely separate."

And while producer Amy Pascal previously said that they were “getting ready to make the next Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland and Marvel”, she has since walked back those comments, saying on the No Way Home premiere’s red carpet: "As long as [Holland] wants to make Spider-Man movies, we will make Spider-Man movies… But I'm a producer, and I always think everything's going to work out."

If contract negotiations do work out, then there are a few directions the MCU’s version of Spider-Man can go in. First, Spider-Man really is a low-key local neighborhood hero now, and could just swing around New York saving the day. Holland’s Spider-Man is basically in the same situation Maguire's Spider-Man was in during the first Spider-Man movie. Watching him beat criminals and try to win back MJ would be a fun, lower-stakes Marvel movie.

Then there’s the possibility of Holland’s Spider-Man training up someone new: namely Miles Morales. We’ve already seen Morales’ uncle, played by Donald Glover, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. A new Spider-Man movie with Parker as a mentor figure could send the Spider-Man legacy down a fresh new path. In tandem with that, Holland’s Parker could easily lead a new Avengers group – perhaps the Young Avengers with Kate Bishop and Yelana and Ms. Marvel. There are plenty of possibilities.

Whatever happens, though, if Holland does return then he will have a new villain to face...

Are there two Venoms now?

Venom 2

(Image credit: Sony)

Tom Hardy’s Venom showing up in the post-credits was hardly a surprise following the Venom 2 post-credits scene. However, seeing the character disappear back to the Sony-verse so suddenly was certainly a shock – and then there’s the fact that a trace of the symbiote was left behind. In other words, we should expect to see Venom attach himself to someone new and cause chaos in the MCU.

That also means there are potentially two versions of Venom, one played by Tom Hardy in the Sony-verse and another portrayed by someone else in the MCU. Who could the symbiote latch onto this time? If Marvel wanted Hardy in the next movie, they could have Venom attach himself to the MCU’s Eddie Brock variant, but that would be more than a little confusing. 

In the comics, Flash Thompson famously became the superhero Agent Venom, which could be another possibility. After all, Flash is Spider-Man’s biggest fan, and that would create an interesting dynamic between the two characters.

The answer could be right in front of us. Cristo Fernández plays the barman who’s talking to Eddie as he disappears. The actor, best known for playing Dani Rojas in Ted Lasso, is a recognisable face to those who have watched the beloved Apple TV Plus show. Merely a nice casting choice for an extra – or does Fernández have a bigger MCU future ahead of him? Let’s hope so. We demand Venom shouting “Football is life!”

Is Charlie Cox playing Daredevil from the Netflix shows in Spider-Man: No Way Home?

Charlie Cox in Daredevil

(Image credit: Netflix)

One cameo we have not spoken about is Charlie Cox. We get multiple mentions of the character’s name, Matt, and we see the lawyer use his excellent reflexes to grab a flying brick ("I’m a very good lawyer"). That means that, yes, this is indeed Matt Murdoch, AKA Daredevil, who was last seen in the apparently still-canon Netflix shows.

Spoiler warning for Hawkeye episode 5! We're touching on what's happened in the Disney Plus show, so skip the rest of this section to avoid spoilers.

Coinciding with Cox’s reappearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home is Vincent D'Onofrio returning as Kingpin in Hawkeye. That means that two key characters from the Daredevil show are now back in the MCU. The question, though, is does that mean the Netflix shows are still canon? Or are these new versions of the same characters? We will no doubt have to see more of them to get a proper answer.

Does Spider-Man: No Way Home tie into Loki?

Loki Season 1 image

(Image credit: Disney)

No Way Home brought the multiverse to the big-screen, yet Loki already introduced the idea of multiple timelines and universes and variants. At the end of the Loki series on Disney Plus, a female Loki variant, Sylvie, along with a version of Loki plucked from midway through the events of the Avengers, reach the end of time, where He Who Remains (played by Jonathan Majors) awaits. After some back and forth, something mysterious happens where He Who Remains can no longer see into the future. Sylvie then stabs him, leading to the main timeline breaking down and a version of He Who Remains – called Kang the Conqueror – is seemingly now in charge of the flow of time. You can read more about the Loki ending here.

Does the multiverse break in Loki or Spider-Man: No Way Home? Perhaps the two are linked. That point where He Who Remains cannot see past may very well be the moment Doctor Strange rips apart the multiverse. It’s not entirely clear, but with Tom Hiddleston's Loki rumored to appear in Doctor Strange 2, there could very likely be a connection.

Was that a Doctor Strange 2 trailer at the end? 

What If...?

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The second Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene was not a classic post-credits scene, but instead a Doctor Strange 2 trailer. Marvel has done similar before, with the post-credits sequence to the first Captain America movie being an Avengers trailer.

So, what will happen in Doctor Strange 2? Well, it appears Stephen is dealing with the aftermath of nearly tearing apart the multiverse and needs Wanda to help save the day. The main villain appears to be an alternate version of Strange, known as Supreme Strange, who was seen in the Disney Plus animated show What If…? Doctor Strange 2, then, looks to have major ties to Marvel’s ongoing streaming shows, which will no doubt lead to a whole lot of references for MCU fans to stew over.

Who dies in Spider-Man: No Way Home? 

Spider-Man: Far From Home

(Image credit: Sony/Marvel)

Aunt May is dead. Marisa Tomei’s version of the character did, however, deliver the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech that we had not heard in the MCU before. That, therefore, leads to another question: did Uncle Ben ever give the same speech in the MCU? 

We had confirmation in What If…? that Ben Parker was a part of Peter’s life, and Peter’s bag in Spider-Men: Far From Home had the initials B.F.P. on them. However, Uncle Ben was seemingly not quite as pivotal in Spider-Man’s origins as he was for the other two Peter Parkers, with May being the creator and molder of his conscience this time around.

Wait, did they really just reference that meme?

"I'm something of a scientist myself"

(Image credit: Sony)

"I’m something of a scientist myself," Norman Osborn famously said in the first Spider-Man movie. And again, here, he delivers the same line.

And that Spider-Man pointing meme?! 

The Spider-Man pointing meme

(Image credit: Sony)

When Ned shouts Peter’s name, he gets all three Spider-Men wondering which one he was talking to – and they all point at each other, just like in that other Spider-Man meme. Unfortunately, Bully Maguire never came out in No Way Home.

Will Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return as Spider-Man?

Toby Maguire as Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony )

We can dream, right? Spider-Man: No Way Home leaves the door wide open to multiple possibilities, including a potential return from Maguire or Garfield back as Spider-Man in their own movies. After all, Garfield’s Spidey has a renewed sense of optimism, which makes him prime for a new adventure and perhaps an attempt to find his own MJ. There’s even the possibility that Garfield’s Parker could cross over with Hardy’s Venom, as the two have poofed back to their own universes – and what if they both happen to be in the same world?

There’s so much potential, but the bigger question would be whether either Maguire or Garfield would want to return. Maguire seems like the less likely case, having long left the role behind and his version of the character now having a few back problems. Garfield gives a stunning performance in No Way Home and seems more primed for a comeback. Now, let’s all cross our fingers that Sony offers the actor enough money to return as the web-crawler once again for his own outing.

Those are the biggest questions about the Spider-Man: No Way Home ending answered. There are even more multiversal shenanigans heading our way soon, so be sure to keep up to date with all the latest on Marvel Phase 4 through our guide.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.