A Major Character Dies in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’—Here’s How the Death Affects the MCU

"Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing / © Marvel Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

Warning: Spider-Man: No Way Home spoilers ahead: If you’ve read the latest Spider-Man spoilers, you may want to know if the rumor that Aunt May dies in Spider-Man: No Way Home is true. Well, the answer is ahead. But prepare yourself because what happens in Spider-Man: No Way Home is an emotional rollercoaster.

Spider-Man: No Way Home—a sequel of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home—is the third Spider-Man movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 27th film in the franchise overall. The movie stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man), a high school student with spider-like superpowers. The film is set after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which saw Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) expose Peter as Spider-Man and frame him for his murder. Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter ask Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help to restore his life and secret identity. However, Dr. Strange’s spell doesn’t go as planned and the magic breaks open the multiverse to allow supervillains from alternate realities who fought other versions of Spider-Man to arrive in the MCU’s Spider-Verse.

In an interview with Uproxx in February 2021, Holland, who has a reputation among fans for spoiling MCU movies, confirmed that some details about Spider-Man: No Way Home had been leaked before its premiere while others stayed a secret. “It’s a tricky situation…sometimes the fans figure out what’s going on, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they figure out one thing, and it opens up a whole world of possibilities and they go off on a tangent, which could not be more different or more correct to what we’re making,” he said. “It’s a shame, sometimes, that things get leaked and things get ruined. But at the moment, with this film, I think we’re doing a very, very good job of keeping the things that need to be a secret a secret. And I’m sure there are things that are going on that I have no idea about. I mean, I’m usually the last person to find out what’s going on, because of this ridiculous rumor that I spoil movies!”

He continued, “But, I think, the tricky thing about those questions is: it’s a question that’s going to get a reaction regardless of what the answer is. So it’s one of those things where you just have to figure out, how is the best way to handle this? Shall I lie? Shall I tell the truth? Shall I just say, ‘I can’t say anything.’ Shall I say, ‘I can neither confirm nor deny’? There’s nothing you can really say that won’t spark a reaction from the fans. So, it’s a double-edged sword. It can be great. It can be a great thing, but sometimes it can be quite a damaging thing.”

So…does Aunt May die in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Read on to find out if Aunt May dies in Spider-Man: No Way Home and other characters that came close to getting killed off.

Does Aunt May die in Spider-Man: No Way Home?

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Image: Courtesy of Sony. Marvel.

Does Aunt May die in Spider-Man: No Way Home? The answer is yes. Aunt May’s death was first leaked in 2020 when Reddit users claimed that the character was killed by Green Goblin—the villain in 2002’s Spider-Man—who is transported to the MCU’s Spider-Verse after Doctor Strange’s spell to restore Spider-Man’s secret identity as Peter Parker goes wrong. Instead, the spell causes people who knew Spider-Man in other universes to come to the MCU. According to the users, Green Goblin betrayed Peter. The Reddit users also reported that Aunt May told Peter the famous Spider-Man line—”With great power comes great responsibility”—before her death. The users reported that the scene was used in a similar way to Uncle Ben’s death in 2002’s Spider-Man, which motivated Peter to do good.

In an interview with Backstage OL in 2021, Marisa Tomei—who has played Aunt May in five MCU movies—revealed that no one in her life is “impressed” by her starring in the Spider-Man films. “I don’t think anyone gives a shit except for my nephew, who’s like, six,” she said. “I mean, honestly, I don’t think anyone’s too impressed with me.”

How does Aunt May die in Spider-Man: No Way Home?

"Spider-Man: No Way Home"

Image: Courtesy of Sony. Marvel.

How does Aunt May die in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Aunt May is killed by Green Goblin (Norman Osborne) in the middle of Spider-Man: No Way Home after a fight between him and Spider-Man (Peter Parker). The fight starts at Happy Hogan’s apartment, which Peter took the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man villains—Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Sandman (Flint Marko), Lizard (Curt Connors) and Electro (Max Dillon)—to in hopes that he can cure them of their powers and what makes them evil. After he successfully cures Doctor Octopus and is in the process of curing Electro of his powers, Norman’s Green Goblin alternate personality comes forward and takes control. He stops Electro before he’s cured and convinces the other villains to become evil again and not follow Peter’s plan to cure them and return them to their original universes.

Chaos ensues and Peter tells Aunt May to run. Aunt May takes Green Goblin’s cure before she runs down the apartment’s stairwell. Electro, Sandman and Lizard (who is kept in a truck in front of the apartment building) escape as Green Goblin and Spider-Man fight. Green Goblin and Spider-Man’s fight take them to the lobby of the apartment, where Aunt May finds them. Just as Green Goblin is about to kill Spider-Man, Aunt May jabs the cure into his neck, but it doesn’t work. Green Goblin then calls for his Goblin Glider, which strikes Aunt May from behind and shatters the window behind her. As he hops on his Goblin Glider to escape Spider-Man, he throws a Pumpkin Bomb at Aunt May. But before Spider-Man can catch the bomb, it explodes and blasts him and Aunt May into the rubble in the lobby.

Aunt May is the first to wake up and find Peter. They hug and make sure each other is OK. Peter apologizes for what happened, believing that the whole fight was his fault for believing that he could cure the Spider-Man villains. Aunt May then tells Peter that he didn’t do anything wrong for wanting to help others and reminds him of his “gift.” She then tells Peter the famous Spider-Man line: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Before Aunt May and Peter can leave the apartment, however, Aunt May collapses. Peter tells her that they can go to a doctor once they leave. But as he tries to help her up, he notices blood on his gloves and realizes that Aunt May is severely bleeding from her side. As Aunt May’s eyes gloss over, Peter, now crying, tries to wake her up but has no success. Happy then arrives at the apartment and sees Peter and a dead Aunt May in the lobby. Soon after, the police come and, believing that Peter was responsible for the destruction of the apartment building, shoot at him as Happy exits his car with his hands up.

Later in the movie, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parkers find the MCU Peter on a rooftop with Ned and MJ, where they tell him about the loved ones they lost in their universes. Maguire’s Peter tells Holland’s Peter about how his Uncle Ben died, while Garfield’s Peter tells Peter about how he couldn’t save his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and the guilt that he carries because of that. As Holland’s Peter talks about how he wants revenge on Green Goblin, Maguire’s Peter tells him about how he once killed someone and didn’t make him feel better. Maguire and Garfield’s Peters then tell Holland’s Peter that “great power comes great responsibility,” which leads Holland’s Peter to ask where they also heard that line. They tell him that they heard the line from Uncle Ben, which makes Holland’s Peter realize that Maguire and Garfield’s Peters relate to him more than he thought. The talk motivates Holland’s Peter to think of a plan to return the Spider-Man villains to their universes.

The three Spider-Men bait the villains to come to the Statue of Liberty, where they—along with MJ, Ned and Doctor Strange—cure them. Green Goblin is the last villain to be cured. He and Peter get into a fight on a re-creation of Captain America’s shield. Just as Peter is about to kill Green Goblin with the sharp end of his Goblin Glider to avenge Aunt May, Maguire’s Peter stops him. Green Goblin then stabs Maguire’s Peter in the back. Peter, sparing Green Goblin’s life, cures him before all the Spider-Man villains, as well as Garfield and Maguire’s Peters (who both survive), are sent back to their universes. To return them to their universes, however, Doctor Strange must cast a spell for the world to forget Peter Parker. Spider-Man: No Way Home ends with Peter seeing MJ and Ned at the coffee shop where she works and confirming that they no longer remember who he is. The scene is followed by Peter visiting Aunt May’s gravestone where he runs into Happy, who also doesn’t remember him. When Happy asks Peter how he knew Aunt May, Peter tells him that he knew her through Spider-Man.

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"Spider-Man: The Definitive Comic Art Collection"

Image: Courtesy of Marvel. Insight Editions.

Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular: The Definitive Comic Art Collection

For more about Spider-Man, check out Marvel’s special edition book, Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular: The Definitive Comic Art Collection, which takes readers through 50 years of Spider-Man. The deluxe art book—which includes exclusive interviews and content from the writers and illustrators that brought the Marvel superhero to life half a century ago—follows Spider-Man’s history, from his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962 to how he went from being Marvel’s chronic underdog to the amazing and spectacular superhero fans know today. The book—which also includes a deep dive into Spider-Man’s superpowers, including his spider-like strength, genius mind and webslingers (not to mention his “fully loaded arsenal of quips—Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular also features never-before-seen art of the friendly neighborhood superhero, and behind-the-scene details from creators like Brian Michael Bendis, Gerry Conway and Tom DeFalco, as well as others who helped bring Peter Parker to life. Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular is a must-read for any Marvel superfan.

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