If you're going to make a movie featuring Mysterio, a character who was - originally at least - a visual effects maestro, it better have some impressive ideas under the fishbowl. Thankfully, Spider-Man: Far From Home isn't holding back. Last year, Screen Rant visited the Leavesden, UK set of the Homecoming sequel and learned a lot about what's in store come July.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. When we walked on the Spider-Man: Far From Home set, there was only one question we wanted answering: how does this relate to Avengers 4 (that film was yet to get its Endgame subtitle)? The decimation of Avengers: Infinity War was still fresh in our mind and what could be revealed about a new Spider-Man was perplexing. Naturally, the cast and crew were incredibly tight-lipped - even Tom Holland, who batted multiple questions away with a grace Peter Parker would be proud over. The most that was said was that director Jon Watts wasn't worried about following up the MCU culmination and, per producer Eric Carroll, Marvel and Sony hadn't decided how to market a film about a dead hero yet.
It's a moot point now anyway, with Spidey's second MCU solo outing confirmed to set in the aftermath of Thanos' defeat. So, aside from dealing with the death of Tony Stark, what is Spider-Man: Far From Home about? The basic pitch is Peter Parker on a vacation gone wrong, with a school trip to Europe hijacked by Nick Fury, who's on a mission to take down immensely powerful threats. Taking in Venice, the Alps, Prague, the Netherlands and London (all shot on location except the Netherlands, which leans into the cliche of windmills and tulips) with a core cast mixing young breakouts and MCU vets, Spider-Man: Far From Home was described as "Homecoming meets Spectre" by Holland, but it will also deal with first love, the innocence of youth making way for the moral grey of adulthood, and no doubt something to do with great responsibilities.
Needless to say, across our exploration of sets, close-ups with costumes and interviews with executive producer Eric Carroll, director Jon Watts, Tom Holland, Jacob Batolon and Jon Favreau, we uncovered an awful lot. Here's everything we learned on the Spider-Man: Far From Home set.
Everything We Learned About Mysterio (Whether Hero Or Villain)
No, the word "multiverse", which has now become synonymous with Far From Home, wasn't uttered on set once. What was talked about - a lot - was the man who, based on the new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, comes from that multiverse: Mysterio. After much fan anticipation - and a near-miss with Bruce Campbell in Spider-Man 4 - the fishbowled master of illusion is making his big screen debut, although he may be a little different to how most fans know him. Played by Jake Gyllenhaal (also an almost-ran of the Raimi era), Quentin Beck is, for lack of a better word, a good guy; he's on that team of mercenaries put together by Nick Fury's who end up recruiting Spider-Man.
Gyllenhaal wasn't on set for Screen Rant's visit (one suspects by design), but what was there was his beloved costume - and we mean beloved in reference to Jake. Fans may be excited to see that fishbowl and cape recreated carefully from the comic, but that's nothing on the actor, who found the getup so exciting he wore it in scenes he'd originally been intended to wear jeans and a shirt. And, comfort aside, who can blame him: the green body, purple cape and blue lights are (according to SFX costume designed Graham Churyard) inspired design-wise by Vision, Thor and Iron Man respectively, while the rune details all over that will need the best projection to make out mirror his Doctor Strange-like powers (note all that, it'll be important). Five versions were made (a VFX reference, a stunt suit, two normal ones, and a "beauty" one for CGI reference), with plans to augment the already well-done physical design with more effects; the bowl will be all digital.
As for Mysterio's character, all word is that he's a hero. He and Peter form a brotherly relationship according to Holland, with Nick Fury entering the mix as something of a "headteacher". He fights with Peter in Venice and Prague, and presumably factors into the London finale. He's married, evidenced by a wedding ring, and that was about it for tangible backstory or logic.
So, is he the villain? Carroll likened Mysterio's role in the film to Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange, suggesting that he was a conflicted friend who could go dark down the line. But between Holland promising a moment comparable to the Vulture reveal in Homecoming where "audiences will feel like they were punched in the face", Jon Watts likening Mysterio's introduction as a hero to his comic debut (where it was all an illusion) and Carroll suggesting that helmet has "a smokey, elemental quality to it", there's the seeds of something darker (which we'll be exploring deeper in a future feature).
What's Going On With The Elementals In Spider-Man: Far From Home?
If Mysterio isn't (or isn't being presented) as Spider-Man: Far From Home's villain, who is? The answer is the Elementals, but not the Elementals that you'd get if you were to research the group with the same name in Marvel Comics (forget about them). The movie versions are four monsters rooted in real-life elements who appear around the world: sand in Mexico, water in Venice, fire in Prague, and a fourth unknown. Their origins weren't divulged but will be explored in the film.
And, yes, as has been speculated, these are based on B-list superhero villains (the executive producer's words, not ours): the water Elemental is Hydro-Man, fire Elemental Molten Man, and although this wasn't confirmed, we suspect the sand Elemental is Sandman. The logic behind this is simple: some heroes won't get the opportunity to front a film themselves, but they can provide menace (and some increased action - Carroll admitted these fight scenes were designed to address criticisms over Homecoming's lower-paced third act) as part of a bigger threat.
Still, another question: what is that bigger threat? That fourth Elemental remains a mystery, although Carroll hinted that "they sort of come together at the end," which would explain the gigantic monster above Tower Bridge in London from the latest trailer. But, again, that remains the biggest mystery in Far From Home, one that Mysterio - whether it be illusion or multiverse - will have to explain.
How Spider-Man's Life Is Different In Far From Home
Discussing how Spider-Man is a loaded proposition given how much the character (and the MCU world) changed in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, but it's very clear this is an evolved character. Indeed, Peter sounds to have almost done a u-turn on Spider-Man: instead of being excited by his powers, per Holland, he wants to live a normal life - on that is "very much love-driven" - over being a superhero.
For Peter, that balance is hard before Nick Fury comes on the scene. On suggestion from Marisa Tomei, Aunt May has adapted to learning her nephew is the "spider guy" from the end of Homecoming in a surprising way, pushing him to embrace his heroism, do altruistic things, and sell his Xbox (there's no time for gaming when you're a superhero). Zendeya's Michelle has become a proper love interest (and modern MJ) for Peter, with the third point of a love triangle provided by Remy Hii's Brad (a complication that leads to Peter misuing Fury drones in a bid to embarrass him). Ned falls for Betty Brandt on the flight over to Europe, leading to a classic comic romance. And Flash remains as bullish as ever, still not realizing Peter's secret (Tony Revolori got some great improv in a scene we saw the group rehearsing).
There's a lot rooted in the comics there - even May's intriguing POV comes from her Red Cross involvement - but one thing that it's unclear if it'll be amongst them is the Daily Bugle. "Being a photographer isn't necessarily a mark of distinction anymore," according to Carroll, who said a lot of thought was put into this aspect, with Instagram posts namechecked, and wouldn't rule out some adaptation. Yes, that means J.B Smoove isn't J. Jonah Jameson. But don't worry, he's still got a great role: Mr. Dell, a teacher inspired by the actor's Audi commercial for Homecoming, who provides an overexcited counterpart to Martin Starr's returning Mr. Harrington on the Europe trip.
Little was said about Tony Stark's legacy, but Happy Hogan's presence is definitely felt. He's something of the Hagrid of Far From Home (after being Nick Fury in Homecoming, according to Favreau), and has now ended up protecting Spider-Man's friends while Peter's elsewhere. His role is smaller than previously - expect it to be bookends - but will still see him involved in the finale protecting Happy Hogan, MJ, Ned, Betty Brant and Flash Thompson in the Tower of London (and professing his love for a certain Aunt).
Nick Fury's Spider-Man: Far From Home Role Is Morally Questionable
When Nick Fury does turn up - in Venice after the Hydro-Man fight - it's a different story. This was in Eric Carroll's "very, very, very first pitch" for the movie, rooted in contrast: "Tony Stark is like the cool, supportive rich uncle. Nick Fury is more like the mean, new stepdad."
Jackson is a key player in the film, likely even more so than Robert Downey, Jr. in Homecoming. The movie actually opens on Fury, along with Maria Hill, on a mission to Mexico where the face off with the sand Elemental. This sparks him to form a team of mercenaries to chase other outbreaks and try to contact Spider-Man. He eventually catches up with him in Venice and begins seriously messing with the reluctant Peter's school trip to get Spider-Man on board; they're even diverted to Prague for this purpose.
Although there's awe, Peter's hardly excited. The mentor's colder approach is a divide between Peter and Fury - one that makes the teenager gravitate towards the warmer Mysterio - and there were hints that the relationship will eventually sour.
Spider-Man's New Suits In Far From Home Both Have Cool Origins
This is also where the new suits come in. In addition to the Iron Spider from Infinity War and Stark suit from Homecoming, Peter will have two key new looks in Spider-Man: Far From Home. First is the Stealth Suit, which Nick Fury provides when Peter worries about his identity being revealed due to Spider-Man appearing along the route of his trip (which is, after all, how Vulture figured out his secret). Designed after the Spider-Man Noir and Big Time comic costumes, this is in-universe derived from standard S.H.I.E.L.D. armor, but with some Parker twists - like the flip up Spidey visors, designed to be intentionally awkward - that mean it's a rather basic, if tactical, get up.
Even more exciting is the red-and-black Spider-Man suit that Peter sports in the finale. Watts had wanted to keep it a secret but the New York City shoot made that impossible, although still wouldn't reveal it's origin, instead stopping at promising "one of the best parts of the movie". Based on the Stark jet set we saw with a mysterious, high-tech workstation - and subsequent trailer shots of Peter playing Iron Man in the same location - it would seem he makes it after parting ways with Fury, completing his rise to be a self-sustaining hero.
Don't Expect Other Villains In Spider-Man: Far From Home
There are potentially five villains in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but what you shouldn't expect is that number to increase by a sinister single digit. When asked directly, Eric Carroll stated that the Sinister Six was "not something we're specifically building to at the moment," although wouldn't rule it out in the future.
And this is one area of Spider-Man: Far From Home is where you shouldn't believe everything you hear. Michael Keaton's Vulture, Michael Mando's Scorpion and Donald Glover's Prowler (nor Miles Morales) will all be sitting out Far From Home. And, while Numan Acar's character is indeed called Dimitri, director Jon Watts was vague on if he's Chameleon as theorized: "We're not specifically saying that he's... but we're not not saying." From what was revealed of his role - he's on Nick Fury's team and takes over as bus driver to reroute the kids from the Alps to Prague - it may be a more loose inspiration.
There's a lot of Spider-Man right now. Far From Home is the seventh movie featuring the character (or a related villain) since 2016 and will be Tom Holland's fifth time playing the webhead - after Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame - two more than previous record-holder Tobey Maguire. And yet there's no sense of fatigue, with each new adventure pushing forward and outwards, multiverse or no.
Tom Holland said he'd happily "make 20 of these movies", and if Spider-Man: Far From Home can deliver on its promise, audiences will come along for the swing.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019