After months of anticipation, the second trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home was released last month, and fans were finally given a closer look at the newest Marvel film. If you were amongst the millions who anxiously waited for the trailer to drop online that night or if you at all tuned in to watch fan reaction videos after the fact, you may have felt that despite fan excitement for the new flick, many fan reactions seemed mixed. Marvel fans can agree that though the trailer looked epic, everyone seemed to be holding out and waiting for it to reveal something very specific: confirmation for the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
With the multiverse now confirmed and real in this upcoming movie, along with the return of villains from both the Maguire and Garfield films, it has led to some speculation if the Spider-Mans of these other universes could have also returned. This second trailer does raise the question of whether we can expect to see some Spider-Men of the past, at least this is what fans seem to be hoping for.
As much as I am excited to see this movie and, as much as any fan, want to see all three Spidey’s come together on the big screen, a piece of me is worried that this could all go sideways. If Tobey and Andrew do make cameos, fans are going to lose it. But what if they don’t? What if it will be just the return of past villains, nothing more? Fans are still going to lose it, but I fear not in the best of ways.
Fandoms have been around for years, but they only started going mainstream around the 2010s, roughly the same time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off. Since then, fandoms have been on the rise. Now, more than ever, people are embracing their favorite fandoms by attending cons and heading to theatres on opening nights decked out in cosplay and nerdy t-shirts. It is truly a wonderful time to be a fan. However, it cannot go unnoticed that fan culture has an ugly side. We need to pull back the curtain a little and take a closer look.
Enthusiasm, passion, and backfire
When it comes to fan dissatisfaction and backfire, can we still call it that?
In May of 2019, when the final two episodes of the last season of Game of Thrones aired, fans were furious with what they were given, so much so, a petition was signed by more than 1.7 million people to remake season 8.
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in 2017, it received major criticism for several different reasons. One of the issues with the film was attributed to when Rey’s true ancestry was revealed, resulting in the dismantling of years of built-up fan theories. As a result, fans began posting bad reviews and started a petition for Disney to remove the film from the official canon.
Another issue that some fans seemed to have with the film, had to do with the inclusion and casting of more women and people of color. Some “fans” went as far as to relentlessly harass Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in the film, to the point where she ended up quitting social media altogether.
And how could we forget the effect of fan power with the release of the first Sonic the Hedgehog trailer? The first look at the CGI’d Sega character had fans in an online uproar, mainly thanks to the human-like teeth that creators decided to give him. With such negative feedback, film creators responded to fan outcries, saying that their concerns had been heard and they would be going back to the drawing board to rethink the look of Sonic. They did exactly this and fans were much more pleased with the result.
Are fans justified in their objections?
Fan feedback is important. They bring the hype, and they are there to be entertained and to have some of their fan wishes hopefully granted too. The amazing thing about fandoms is the sense of community they provide. They provide spaces where one can be accepted amongst like-minded people and can share your fan theories and opinions on your favorite fandoms, worry-free.
But are fans reacting to fandom disappointments in the best of ways? Not always, and in some cases, like with Kelly Marie Tran, they are being downright disgusting.
Maybe you think I’m worrying too much about Spider-Man: No Way Home, but I think based on these past situations, it seems inevitable that there will be a protest if fan theories don’t come true. The power of fandom is real and so is the fear of fan rejection. In some instances, fan creative control is also very real. There was once a time when creators never listened to fans’ raised concerns, and in some cases today, they still don’t. There is no denying though that more and more creators are now starting to listen to fan input, and in some circumstances, it is starting to influence fandoms directly.
Using the famous words of great Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility,” but are we as fans being responsible with that power, or are we just using it in ways that tear people down when we don’t get what we want? Have we reached a point where fans are taking things maybe just a little too far?
Here’s something we as fans need to remember: They are fans also. They are going to try and stay true to the fandom, but are also going to write their interpretation of things. That is the beauty of fandoms! We are given multiple universes, worlds, and stories. If it wasn’t for creators with different visions, we would have never been blessed with three different Spider-Man’s in three different universes. If we just stuck to Tobey’s version, we would never have been graced with Andrew Garfield, nor Tom Holland.
I am a fan just like anyone else. I too can hardly contain my excitement for Spider-Man: No Way Home. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for our meme-dreams to come true and for us to have our three Spider-Man’s unite in this final flick. But I’m not going to hold my breath. Because despite me being a big Marvel fan and all, the reality is we haven’t been promised anything.
And so, I’m calling on all Marvel fans to show up to this film. Critique it, form opinions, gush over it. But please, for the sake of all things Marvel, if you call yourself a fan, then be a fan. Be respectful, be kind, cry if you have to (I know I probably will), but do it all with class.