Warning: SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, a moment fans have waited 12 years for finally happened: J. Jonah Jameson appeared for the first time since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, and he's played once again by J.K. Simmons! Spider-Man's number one hater shockingly appears in Far From Home's first end-credits scene as the host of the Daily Bugle.net, marking the debut of both Jameson and his reimagined publication in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But because J.K. Simmons is back playing Jonah, does this mean Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy is now canon? The answer to that, of course, is still no.
Fans can't be blamed for being momentarily confused, especially during Spider-Man: Far From Home's ending. After returning from his summer vacation in Europe, Spider-Man takes a celebratory swing across New York City to meet up with MJ (Zendaya), his new girlfriend. Although Spidey briefly swung into Manhattan to help Iron Man fight the Children of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home deliberately kept the web-slinger away from Manhattan's familiar concrete jungle. His return to swinging across NYC was purposely designed to invoke all of the memorable moments from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man movies. As such, the unexpected return of J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson can easily throw fans for a loop - but while it's the same actor, this is definitely not the same Jameson.
The casting of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is one of the superhero movie genre's most perfect fusions of actor and comic book character; it's certainly hard to blame the MCU for choosing to not to recast the role and force comparisons to Simmons' iconic version. Indeed many fans wanted to see Simmons return as the MCU's Jonah (and Simmons himself expressed interest in returning) so Spider-Man: Far From Home made all their wishes come true. But while Simmons is thankfully back in the role, this new Jonah is an entirely different person. It's not even a case of the original Jonah crossing over from the Raimi films since Spider-Man: Far From Home debunked Mysterio's claims that he's from the Multiverse. Rather, this is a brand new J. Jonah Jameson played by a welcome, familiar face. And, in true MCU fashion, they put their own unique spin on J.J.J. to set him apart.
The first and most obvious clue that this is a new iteration of Jonah and not the same abrasive newsman from the Raimi films is that the MCU's Jameson is now bald. He also doesn't run The Daily Bugle as a newspaper; to reflect the evolving nature of media, the Bugle is now an InfoWars-like broadcast called The Daily Bugle.net. One thing that hasn't changed is Jonah's enmity towards Spider-Man (even though they've never met in the MCU) but, thanks to doctored footage by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), the MCU's Jameson managed something his prior incarnation never could: he revealed Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker to the world.
With Peter Parker exposed as Spider-Man, this surely means that the MCU's Peter will never work for Mr. Jameson as a photographer the way Maguire's Peter did. This continues the MCU's purposeful distancing of their Spider-Man from the classic tropes the Raimi films adapted from the comics; for example, the MCU has never depicted Peter's origin story or Uncle Ben's death, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is significantly younger and is now dating Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and Peter's love interest MJ is decidedly not the same Mary Jane Watson played by Kirsten Dunst. Peter has also never met Harry Osborn or his father Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. Speaking of Spider-Man's villains, the MCU has also avoided the rogues gallery that appeared in Raimi's and Marc Webb's movies, opting instead for the Vulture (Michael Keaton) and Mysterio.
Still, it's fantastic to see J.K. Simmons return as J. Jonah Jameson, which is arguably the actor's most beloved role, and how the Daily Bugle's muckraker spiritually links the Raimi trilogy to the MCU's Spider-Man without making the prior films MCU canon. But it will also be fun to see what new ways Jameson uses to make Spidey's life miserable in Spider-Man: Far From Home's sequel.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019