There’s no rest for the weary, if Spider-Man: Far From Home’s one-two punch of after credits scene are any indication.
In a few short years, Queens’ friendly neighborhood Spider-Man joined Tony Stark’s fight against Captain America, took down the Vulture’s alien-arms-dealing operation, aided in the fight against Thanos, found himself blipped out of the universe for five years, reappeared on the edge of apocalypse, then rode a Pegasus in a final battle against Chitauri horde. His gift was a European vacation ... which was ultimately upended by Nick Fury’s request to defeat a set of Elementals. Mind you, Peter Parker still needs to graduate from high school.
If Avengers: Endgame was the culmination of the “Infinity Saga,” Spider-Man: Far From Home was the coda. The world is back to normal(-ish). The villains, so far, are manageable for a kid with super strength, sticky hands, and web shooters. And by the final battle — and the two plot bombs dropped in the mid- and post-credit scenes — we have a clearer sense of Peter’s arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuum, and reason to think he’s never going to sleep again.
“Bitch, please, you’ve been space,” it turns out, is not the prerequisite for dealing with all of life’s problems (and whatever’s coming in Phase 4).
[Ed. note: this post contains major post-credit spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home]
Spider-Man: Far From Home’s mid-credits scene and J. Jonah Jameson
The sheer magnitude of Far From Home’s first after credits moment, which brings J.K. Simmons back as an Alex Jones-like iteration of Daily Bugle (dot net!) newsman J. Jonah Jameson, is so giddy in delivering a fan service moment that the magnitude of what actually happens might get a little lost.
In true 2019 fashion, Spider-Man finds himself caught in a web of fake news. Mysterio evidently used his dying moments to orchestrate yet another illusion: Peter killing Quentin Beck, “the hero,” with the EDITH drone technology. Though NY1’s Pat Kiernan has been a stalwart of the MCU since Tony Stark’s early days, he’s duped by J. Jonah Jameson’s yet-to-be-banned-on-YouTube talking-head BS. James airs the video supplied by Mysterio, which both fingers Spider-Man for murder and outs Peter Parker as the teen under the mask.
The scene gives a third Spider-Man movie — Spider-Man: Homesick? Spider-Man: Home Away From Home? Spider-Man: Home Is Where the Heart Is? — a clear, character-based destination that pushes everything we thought we knew about Peter being “the next Tony Stark” to dangerous territory. In Far From Home, our hero wonders if he could have his “I’m Iron Man” moment. By the time he returns from Europe, there’s no real point; his loved ones (MJ, Ned, Aunt May) already know the truth. Then J. Jonah Jameson implodes his world. In a world where brave teenagers stand up to radicalized, partisan voices on a daily basis, it’s a highly political turn for Marvel that puts Spider-Man at the center of the earthbound-hero drama.
Oh, and the multiverse may exist? Despite Mysterio’s alternate universe origins being total bunk, the return of J.K. Simmons as JJJ could be read as a straight love letter to Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy or a suggestion that maybe Quentin Beck’s fiction wasn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. Spider-Man: Far From Home will always be a Sony movie, not a proper Marvel Studios/Disney joint. The pockets of Marvel that house Into the Spider-verse are technically out there (which also nods to the Raimi films in a more direct, dimension-crossing way) and there have been more than few rumors of Tom Holland appearing in Tom Hardy’s unlikely Venom franchise. I don’t want to sound too much like a guy screaming conspiracy theories at my webcam then posting them on the internet, but HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES, SHEEPLE?
Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene, Nick Fury, Talos, and a space odyssey
Spider-Man: Far From Home was the last movie I expected to have a Sixth Sense-level I-need-to-go-back-and-watch-this-immediately twist, but just as the audience resumes breathing after the appearance of J. Jonah Jameson, the movie completely reframes itself.
Nick Fury and Maria Hill were not Nick Fury and Maria Hill, but Talos and Soren, the Skrull couple introduced in Captain Marvel, in disguise. The cheeky scene explains why Fury may have fallen so hard for Mysterio, and a number of other weird tics I’m sure fans will suss out on their umpteenth reviewing.
For anyone who can remember back to March, approximately 800 years ago in 2019 time, the scene offers some comfort after Captain Marvel. At the end of that film, Talos and his people zipped off into space to find refuge on a new planet. Twenty-eight years later (assuming Captain Marvel takes place in 1995 and Far From Home in five-years-after-the-snap 2023), the Skrulls clearly made it, while still being pursued by the Kree. Talos, as Fury, mentions the recent appearance of Kree sleeper cells, hinting at more conflict to come. It’s hard to imagine Marvel Studios pulling off an adaptation of Secret Invasion with the Skrulls on the side of the good guys, but plenty of other arcs could build towards an Endgame-like conclusion that brings an end to the conflict.
The rude awakening of the Talos and Soren stinger is that Spider-Man is extremely alone on Earth. Fury, as we learn, is off with the Skrulls, taking a much needed vacation (even if vacation means a hologram beach projected just behind an alien starship construction yard). Whether he’s teaming up with his old pal Captain Marvel on an undisclosed threat or mounting a SHIELD-replacing version of SWORD is anyone’s guess — but his single eye is pointed to the stars.
Meanwhile, Talos-as-Fury establishes early on why the other Avengers aren’t swooping in to aid him in the fight against the Elementals: They just aren’t! Doctor Strange had plans. Thor was off-world. Captain Marvel — “Don’t even invoke her name.” With Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow out of the picture, most of the mere-mortal heroes are out of commission, leaving Spider-Man to swing solo on Earth-199999. With Phase 4 set to bring the cosmic saga of The Eternals to life, and a Black Widow presumed-prequel filling the more grounded side of the storytelling in the immediate future, Spider-Man’s story — now one of survival — becomes a lynchpin of what’s going on at home.
Marvel is expected to return to San Diego Comic-Con later this month to, in theory, announce what’s next. But for now, Far From Home’s layered post-credit moments are the clearest, and most exciting, look at the future of the MCU. For the first time in a long time, anything seems possible.