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A brief history of Andrew Garfield swearing he is not in Spider-Man: No Way Home

I approve of these potential lies

Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man Photo: Sony Pictures
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

A new trailer for December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home has revealed a clever way of finally doing a Sinister Six movie, but held back on one predicted mega-twist: the team up between Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker from Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker from The Amazing Spider-Man. After months of speculation and “spy photo” leaks, everyone assumed the trio would pop up in the trailer courtesy of a spacetime-warping spell from Doctor Strange. They did not.

While I think it’s entirely possible the actors appear in No Way Home, it also seems entirely possible that the multiversal action begins and ends with the villains. The lineup includes Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, and Jamie Foxx’s Electro, along with CG versions of Sandman, Lizard, and a second Green Goblin. That should be fun in its own right. But people on the internet really wanted to see a bunch of Spider-Mans running around fighting crime. They did not get their wish. I imagine screaming will ensue.

Garfield tried to warn us. While the actor is gunning for Oscars nomination for his powerful work Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick... Boom!, he’s also been putting another tougher performance all year: fielding questions on Spider-Man: No Way Home with a straight face. In October 2020, rumors blew up that Maguire and Garfield would both return for the movie. There’s never been confirmation — and there still isn’t after the film’s last big trailer. So, over the last year, Garfield’s been trying to temper expectations, which he’ll likely have to do until the Dec. 17 release day. Unlike Maguire, who has mostly veered off into producing, and has not appeared in a film since 2014’s Pawn Sacrifice, Garfield has been ready and available for interviews, putting him in the crosshairs of folks who might finally break him and bag a coveted answer. It’s intense.

I mean, just look at the work this guy’s putting in:

May 4, 2021, on the Happy Sad Confused podcast

There isn’t anything to ruin. I have to just quickly cut you off because there’s nothing to ruin. It’s fucking hilarious to me because I do have this Twitter account and I see how often Spider-Man is trending and it’s people freaking out about a thing […] I wish I could be able to speak to everyone and say, ‘I recommend that you chill!’ I can’t speak to anything else but myself. They might be doing something. I ain’t got a call. Have you ever played the game Werewolf? Or Mafia? You’re convincing everyone you’re not in the mafia. I feel like I’m in a game of fucking Werewolf or Mafia where I’m like ‘I’m not the werewolf! I promise you I am not the werewolf!’ and everyone’s like ‘You’re the werewolf! You’re the fucking werewolf!’

Sept. 8, 2021, in Variety

I understand why people are freaking out about the concept of that because I’m a fan as well. You can’t help but imagine scenes and moments of ‘Oh, my God, how fucking cool would it be if they did that? But it’s important for me to say on the record that this is not something I’m aware I am involved in. But I know I’m not going to be able to say anything that will convince anyone that I don’t know what’s happening. No matter what I say, I’m fucked. It’s either going to be really disappointing for people or it’s going to be really exciting.

Sept. 14, 2021, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, responding to a photo of him and Tobey Maguire supposedly on the set of No Way Home

I’ve heard about it. And I did see it. It’s a PhotoShop … I’m trying to manage expectations. If they want to give me a call at this late stage in the game, I’m sitting here in my tracksuit [...] I have [seen the trailer] and I’m excited, and I think that Tom Holland is just the perfect Peter Parker and Spider-Man so I’m just super stoked. And I get to just be a fan again, which is my preferred position.

Nov. 15, 2021, on The Today Show

Just like you are, to be honest. That’s not the diplomatic answer, I really, really mean it. I love Tom Holland, I love [director] Jon Watts, I love [producers] Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige, and what they’ve done with those movies and that character. It’s an important character to me. So I’m just really excited to see what happens in the third one, as you guys are.

Even known spoilerer Tom Holland tried to stop the rumor mill early on:

Feb. 24, 2021, Tom Holland on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

I’ve read the script from beginning to the end, so it’ll be a miracle if they could’ve kept that from me. But, at the moment, there is no cameo from the two boys.

No cameo from the two boys! Possibly because their appearance is much more than a cameo. Or possibly because they are not in the Spider-Man movie.

Are Garfield’s responses legit or all an act? Probably the latter. At this point, how could they not be? But unlike the sour taste left from J.J. Abrams and (Spider-Man: No Way Home star) Benedict Cumberbatch lying through their teeth to keep the groan-worthy secrets of “John Harrison” aka Khan under wraps in the lead up to Star Trek Into Darkness, if Garfield’s fibbing, it all feels like part of his own personal excitement for what’s to come. I will never forget the guy showing up to The Amazing Spider-Man’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, taking the mic in costume, and revealing himself to be a massive Spidey fan to the roaring cheers of those who felt the exact same way. Playing Spidey is an honor. Keeping any ounce of wow factor in a movie like No Way Home is, too. Even if we all know what’s coming, Garfield gets why he can’t admit it until the time is right.

Or maybe he’s not in the movie. Twist!

Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on Dec. 17.

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