Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home ahead.
Spider-Man: Far From Home introduced an iconic character in its mid-credits scene, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explains how that major creative development came to be. The Marvel Cinematic Universe closes out its year with a much smaller narrative compared to Avengers: Endgame in Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) second solo outing. But that doesn't mean that the movie doesn't have massive implications not just in terms of the web-slinging hero's place in the universe, but in the franchise as a whole.
After skipping the mandatory stingers in Endgame, the post-credit scenes are back in Far From Home, and they're arguably some of the best ones Marvel Studios have put out to date. In the mid-credit sequence, Peter is back from his European trip with a renewed sense of confidence and enthusiasm as a superhero. After a swing around Manhattan with MJ (Zendaya), he stops to watch a newscast on a billboard broadcasting Mysterio's (Jake Gyllenhaal) final message framing the young hero for his death and outing his real identity. But the surprises don't stop there, as toward the end of the video, it turns out that the clip was from The Daily Bugle website, complete with an appearance by J. Jonah Jameson, played by JK Simmons.
Fans of Spider-Man know how big of a deal this is when it comes to the trajectory of this version of the character. During an interview with Screen Rant for Far From Home, Feige talks about how that whole sequence came to fruition, specifically the decision to bring Jameson into the MCU. Apparently, that was always the plan, but they didn't feel it was appropriate for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and its sequel was a better fit for what they wanted to do. As for bringing Simmons back, Feige chalked it up to Simmons simply being a very versatile actor.
It was one of the early ideas when we started working with Amy and Sony on the Spider-Man franchise and the kind of things we wanted to do. A younger high school-based Peter, taking him to places he hasn’t been before, interacting with the other MCU characters. J. Jonah Jameson was one of them. He wasn’t in either of the two Amazing [Spider-Man films], so we felt like we had to do that at some point. Homecoming didn’t seem like the right idea, and then 95% of Far From Home takes place outside the city. So it felt like that was the opportunity to do a number of things. One: to have Mysterio win in a way that you’re not expecting, to have Mysterio pull one last trick on him. And in those conversations with Jameson, it was always about how the notion of the powerful publisher doesn’t exist anymore. Selling newspapers, “get ‘em out, they gotta go to print!” is a very romanticized notion that doesn’t exist anymore. So, you know, in the Ultimates there was the Daily Bugle website and things like that. But taking it into an even more contemporary radical left and radical right news journalist that kind of scream in front of the camera. And thinking, “Who could do it?”
The thing is, JK Simmons is such a versatile actor. Look at what he’s done over the years since his iconic portrayal of this character in the Sam Raimi films. And then all of his work, Whiplash being one of the biggest ones. It can be the same actor with that somewhat similar voice inflection, but with a totally different persona. That had never been done before. We really liked the idea that it’s a new Jameson, he’s not from another dimension or multiverse or something like that. It’s a new Jameson in this world played by the same actor.
Fans have always had an inkling that somehow, Jameson would find his way into the MCU, but certainly not this way. While Simmons has always been a fan-favorite as the character, Marvel Studios tends to go for a different actor when approaching a key role that was previously seen onscreen. Aside from that, Simmons is technically still attached to Warner Bros. and DC as Commissioner Gordon. While there's no news yet on his status in that universe after he debuted in Justice League, his arrival in the MCU is definitely unexpected. That said, with James Gunn booking gigs for both companies recently, maybe the floodgates are opening on such things.
As Feige noted, Simmons playing the same role he did in the Sam Raimi trilogy in the 2000s doesn't mean that there's a connection between the Tobey Maguire version and Holland. And while he's playing the same character, fans can expect him to be quite different in the MCU. Fans already have a tease of that, with the Spider-Man: Far From Home broadcast portraying him as someone with conspiratorial views reminiscent of people like Alex Jones, and as fans know, Marvel Studios likes their characters and narratives to be socially and culturally relevant. Given this, Jameson's new persona will likely be an important aspect of his MCU characterization going forward.