spider-man far from home post-credits cameo

Spider-Man: Far From Home takes the webslinger out of his familiar New York haunts and takes him to the far-off shores of Europe. But once he’s back swinging through the skyscrapers of New York, the film reintroduces us to all the familiar faces in Peter Parker’s life — including one face that’s new to Tom Holland‘s Peter, but very recognizable to us.

In the post-credits scene, a jaw-dropping cameo raises all sorts of questions about the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how the Spider-Man series plays into it. Or it’s just too perfect a piece of casting to pass up.

Major spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home follow.

A Not-So New J Jonah Jameson

Yes, you saw that right: that is J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home. The actor, who originated the big-screen role of the blustering newspaper editor with a vendetta against Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the post-credits scene, Simmons appears on a giant digital billboard in New York City to relay the news of Spider-Man’s indiscretions as “revealed” by Mysterio. The billboard plays a news bulletin that sees Jameson screaming at the camera in an InfoWars-inspired video, revealing that Spider-Man’s true identity is Peter Parker. It’s a shocking moment, made all the more amazing by Simmons’ return to a role that you’d think would have been recast in this reboot.

This is the first time that Marvel has brought back an actor who played a character they originated in another iteration of the series. Does this mean that the multiverse exists and Sam Raimi’s J. Jonah Jameson has somehow traveled to this one to start a far-right conspiracy website? Probably not. This may just be a case — like Judi Dench reprising her role as M in Casino Royale despite it being a reboot — of casting that was far too perfect.

Wearing his trademark mustache and putting on that distinct boisterous voice that you’ve imitated so many times to yell, “Get me pictures of Spider-Man!”, Simmons settles easily into the role that he made famous. And you realize what Marvel Studios and president Kevin Feige probably realized: Why fix casting already so perfect? Spider-Man: Homecoming was the second reboot of Spider-Man in less than a decade, and set out to separate itself from its predecessors as much as possible. That meant no origin story, no Green Goblin, and reinterpreted versions of MJ, Aunt May, Flash Thompson, and more. But some casting is too great to pass up, and that was Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. As the newspaperman in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies, he terrorized the webslinger as both Peter Parker and as Spider-Man, and even had a hand in the tragedy that was Peter’s love life. But in Spider-Man: Far From Home, his Jameson is a fresh take on the character that sheds the character’s trademark job at the Daily Bugle for something far more timely.

Waging An Information War

This version of J. Jonah Jameson has traded in the traditional Daily Bugle for a far-right website, something that’s not so new to Spider-Man fans. A similar take on the character actually showed up in the Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 video game, which reimagined J. Jonah Jameson as a shock jock podcaster who uses his platform to constantly criticize Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Far From Home seems like it trades up the podcast for a full-fledged conspiracy website à la Alex Jones, which suits Jameson all the same.

This reimagining makes sense for the character, whose personal and outrageous vendetta against Spider-Man wouldn’t fly in a modern newspaper, when the few print publications left are desperately trying to keep their credibility. But in a conspiracy website, J. Jonah Jameson’s worst blowhard tendencies can flourish — we’ve seen it enough in real life with personalities like Jones, whose wide-reaching platform wields frightening influence. And “fake news”? J. Jonah Jameson practically invented that. This change  makes J. Jonah Jameson even more of an appropriate character for our time and a daunting antagonist for Peter Parker, should Simmons return for a more fleshed out role, and not just a cameo. It’s still uncertain whether this is just a fun Easter egg for Spider-Man fans or a hint at things to come. But one thing’s for sure: we’re finally getting those pictures of Spider-Man.

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