If you’ve been living above a rock for the past few months, you would know there are few things the internet wanted more than a teaser trailer for Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: No Way Home. To the delight of the insatiable, the trailer finally made its grand debut earlier this week and was met with uproarious approval by fans. From a major identity crisis to multiversal shenanigans, the sneak peek was chock-full of things that even the most die-hard Spidey enthusiasts never thought would make it to the big screen. However, that doesn’t mean these events have no basis in the pages of Marvel’s vast comic universe.
Most of what we were shown in the trailer’s nearly three-minute runtime can be traced back to a collection of moments from famous comic arcs. While not all of the source material is universally loved, it does make for a rather intriguing mass of inspiration. As such, I’ve taken the time to break it all down and present you with a guide to the origins of the trailer’s biggest moments, in case anyone should want to do a little reading before No Way Home drops in December.
The War at Home
That’s right, it looks like Marvel Studios isn’t done pulling from Mark Millar’s Civil War comic just yet. The big, unforgettable surprise at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home was the worldwide revelation that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. While there had been concerns from fans that No Way Home might brush this plotline aside, the trailer made sure to highlight that it would actually be a major driving aspect of the third film’s story.
Peter Parker has had his identity outed more than once in the comics, but the occasion with the most staying power was undoubtedly the one from 2006’s popular event series. The major difference between page and screen is that comic Peter took the mask off himself, while MCU Peter was mortified when Mysterio dropped his big secret from beyond the grave. A more comic-accurate depiction from the teaser was the shots of Peter being hounded by the media and law enforcement, which bring to mind the events of the Civil War tie-in arc, The War at Home.
Taking place in The Amazing Spider-Man #532-538, written by J. Michael Straczynski, the arc deals with the fallout of Peter’s identity going public and the way it affects the life of those around him. The story also features Peter revolting against the Registration Act, which places him on the wrong side of the law and in the sights of multiple government-sponsored supervillains.
One More Day & One Moment in Time
Maybe the most controversial Spider-Man arc ever written, the influence of J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada‘s One More Day is ever-present in the first half of No Way Home‘s trailer. It may need no introduction for most, but for the few who missed that particular boat, One More Day is the infamous story in which Peter Parker makes a deal with the devil. To save a dying Aunt May, Peter makes an agreement with Mephisto that trades away his entire history with Mary Jane Watson. It’s a bold, rash move, and its spirit can be felt in the trailer moment when Peter asks Doctor Strange to hide his identity from the world without realizing what that means for his time with Zendaya‘s MJ.
Alongside One More Day came a companion piece from Quesada titled One Moment in Time. This short arc detailed the exact changes made by Mephisto in erasing Peter’s marriage to MJ. The most surprising retcon comes when it’s revealed that Mephisto did not restore Peter’s secret identity as previously believed. Instead, it’s shown that Parker had gone to Doctor Strange to fix his identity crisis, and even had a moment of weakness during the spell casting where he begged for Mary Jane to still remember his identity. This additional storytelling helped reset the Spider-Man status quo going forward in the comics, albeit with some forewarned dire consequences.
Of all the trailer inspiration, the one fans may have least expected to see was a loose adaptation of Straczynski‘s centennial Happy Birthday arc. Beginning in The Amazing Spider-Man #57 and concluding in the re-numbered #500 issue, the surprisingly emotional plot concerns Spider-Man teaming up with Doctor Strange, and a few other heroes, to stop Dormammu and the Mindless Ones from taking over the world. Unfortunately for Spidey and that ‘ole Parker luck, his attempts to aid Strange actually interfere with the complicated spell being cast.
As a result, Peter is sent flying outside of time and reality, forced to confront a multitude of enemies from his past and witness a tragic potential future for himself. As previously mentioned, the No Way Home teaser makes a concerted effort to hint at Peter’s involvement with Strange’s spell bringing in more than a couple of villains from (a version of) his past. And who knows, the movie may even give him that glimpse at an older Parker by the time the credits roll.