Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained: major cameos, post-credits and more

A screenshot of the opening scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

Massive spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home follow. You’ve been warned.

Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally swung into theaters – and the latest MCU movie is another home run for Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures.

There’s a lot that goes down in the newest Marvel Phase 4 film and, if you’ve seen No Way Home, we imagine that you have plenty of questions about it.

Below, we’ll answer the biggest questions viewers will have about Spider-Man: No Way Home. We also discuss the movie’s major cameos, character deaths, the film’s ending and post-credits scenes, and what it means for the MCU’s future.

This is your final warning: we’re about to cover the biggest spoilers in Spider-Man: No Way Home. If you haven’t seen it yet, you won’t want to read beyond this point.

Spider-Man: No Way Home: are Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the film?

An official image of Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man movie

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. For months, there have been numerous rumors about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s incarnations of Spider-Man appearing in No Way Home. Both actors, alongside current star Tom Holland, have vehemently denied their involvement, but fans haven’t been convinced that they're telling the truth, given that images and snippets of footage have leaked online pre-release.

So, are they in the movie? Yes, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are in No Way Home.

In the movie’s second act, Ned Leeds, Spidey’s best friend, is given Doctor Strange’s sling ring – which allows sorcerers to open portals across time and space – by Spider-Man. 

Later, when Ned and MJ are searching for Peter after he’s defeated by Green Goblin (more on this later), Ned uses the sling ring to try and locate him. The pair end up finding Spider-Man in an alleyway – a scene that’s reminiscent of the famous Spider-Man: No More! storyline, as seen in The Amazing Spider-Man comic issue #50 – but it isn’t the MCU’s version of Spider-Man

In a moment that will make all Spider-Man fans clap and cheer, Andrew Garfield’s webslinger walks through the portal that Ned created. After a funny scene involving Garfield’s Peter Parker, MJ, Ned’s grandmother and Ned, the latter opens another portal to try and find Holland’s Peter and winds up finding another Spider-Man – and this time it’s Tobey Maguire’s version.

Suffice to say, their arrivals in No Way Home will draw the biggest cheers during any screening, and with good reason. Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Men are as beloved as Holland’s, and having the trio humorously interact and team up in the film’s finale is a joy to behold.

Spider-Man: No Way Home: is Charlie Cox’s Daredevil in the MCU movie? 

A promotional image for Netflix's Daredevil TV show starring Charlie Cox

(Image credit: Netflix)

This is another major cameo that’s also been heavily suggested by online speculation.

Yes, Charlie Cox – who portrayed Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Netflix’s Daredevil TV show – is also in No Way Home. He’s only in it for one scene, about 10 minutes in, but it’s another wonderful inclusion nonetheless.

After Holland’s Parker is installed as public enemy number one for supposedly killing Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, he’s arrested and questioned by the authorities. Freed on bail, he hires Cox’s Murdock as his lawyer and, after the latter reviews his case, Murdock says that Peter has a case for plausible deniability. So the charges won’t stand – much to the delight of Peter, his Aunt May, and Happy Hogan.

After a brief chat following that revelation, we also get a glimpse of Murdock’s Daredevil powers. A brick is thrown through Peter’s apartment window, but it’s Murdock who catches it. It’s another delightful scene that’s purely fan service and, when Peter asks Murdock how he was able to catch the brick, Murdock simply replies “I’m a very good lawyer”. Clearly, he doesn't want them to know he's a fellow superhero, which is ironic as Spider-Man is another superpowered being who wishes to re-conceal his identity following Far From Home's events.

Online speculation has suggested that Cox will reprise his role as Murdock/Daredevil in Echo’s forthcoming Disney Plus show, as well as potentially getting his own solo outing in the MCU. Given Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige’s comments that suggest we’ll see more of Murdock down the line (per CinemaBlend), that’s a very distinct possibility.

Spider-Man: No Way Home: who dies in the Marvel movie? 

A screenshot of Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker in 2004's Spider-Man movie

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the darkest of the webslinger’s movies yet – and that means that not everyone survives.

In a sequence that’ll break fans’ hearts, Aunt May dies during the film’s second act. As Spider-Man and Aunt May try to stop the film’s multiple villains from escaping and wreaking havoc on New York, Aunt May is stabbed by Green Goblin’s glider. While it initially appears that she’s simply knocked down, it’s quickly revealed that she’s been fatally wounded.

What follows is an upsetting scene in which Aunt May dies in Peter’s arms. Excruciatingly, he has to leave her when she falls, too, as a SWAT team soon surround their apartment complex to arrest him. Given that the MCU’s version of Spider-Man has already lost his Uncle Ben, this is another emotional hammer-blow to Peter.

Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained 

A screenshot from the second Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

After MJ and Ned introduce Holland’s Peter to Maguire and Garfield’s iterations, the quintet concoct a plan to stop the villains. But not by killing them: instead, they decide to cure them of their villainous ways by stripping their powers.

The three Peters work together to create antidotes for each villain, and then lure them to the Statue of Liberty – using Doctor Strange’s box prison, which contains a spell that would rip the multiverse wide open – to end their reign of terror.

However, the trio are outmatched by Electro, Sandman and Lizard. That is, until Holland’s Peter revises their plan: instead of working alone, the trio must work together to take down a single villain at a time. Putting the plan into action, the Spider-Men overpower and cure the three villains, showing that teamwork really does make the dream work.

But the fight isn’t over. Green Goblin shows up and steals Strange’s prison cube. To his surprise, the reformed Doc Ock – who Holland’s Peter saved earlier in the film – stops him from escaping and snatches the cube back. But, to everyone’s shock, Green Goblin has planted a pumpkin bomb inside it. Cue a massive explosion that causes MJ to fall from the Statue of Liberty’s scaffolding, and releases Strange’s multiversal spell.

Holland’s Peter tries to save MJ but is stopped by Green Goblin. In another moment of emotional fan service, though, Garfield’s Spider-Man saves MJ instead – being redeemed, after he failed to save girlfriend Gwen Stacy in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, in the process.

Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Holland’s Spider-Man uses a pumpkin bomb to cause Green Goblin’s glider to crash-land. The pair fight and, after Spider-Man overpowers his foe, he tries to kill Green Goblin using the latter’s own glider. Maguire’s Spider-Man stops him, but is stabbed by Green Goblin (don't worry, though, Maguire's Spider-Man survives). As the villain cackles, Garfield’s Spider-Man throws Green Goblin’s cure to Holland’s webslinger, who injects his adversary with the antidote, causing him to lose his powers and be defeated.

Doctor Strange, who has managed to escape the mirror dimension by this point, struggles to stop the other universes colliding with the MCU. That’s until Holland’s Peter tells him to cast a spell that’ll make everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man. As you’ll remember from earlier in the film, villains from other universes are trying to enter the MCU as after Strange’s botched spell made them aware that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. So, if Strange makes everyone forget he’s Spidey, it’ll stop other villains from trying to cross over into the MCU.

Strange agrees to cast the spell. Peter has a tearful goodbye with the other Spider-Men, MJ and Ned. Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Men, and their respective villains, are sent back to their universes, and Holland’s Spider-Man swings away from the scene as Strange’s spell takes effect.

Some time later, Holland’s Peter visits MJ and Ned at the coffee shop MJ works at. During their aforementioned goodbye, he’d promised that he’d come and find them to explain everything. However, after seeing how normal their lives are without him, he decides against telling them everything that went down. Later, he visits Aunt May’s grave, where he’s joined by Happy, who doesn’t recognize Peter. The pair share a tender moment before Peter leaves.

The movie’s final scene shows Holland’s Peter moving into the first apartment that he’ll rent alone. Despite the sombre ending, though, he smiles, as his future is still bright. He ends up creating a new Spider-Man suit that’s reminiscent of Maguire and Garfield’s costumes, before swinging off into the city, with snow falling around him, to stop an in-progress crime.

Spider-Man: No Way Home mid-credits scene explained 

A promotional image of Venom from Sony's 2018 movie of the same name

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

No Way Home’s mid-credits scene reunites us with Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock/Venom from Sony’s live-action Spider-Verse. He’s sitting at a bar – drunk, no less – and is trying to understand what the barman (Ted Lasso’s Cristo Fernandez) is telling him about Iron Man, Hulk, Thanos and Spider-Man. It’s all done in amusing fashion, with Venom constantly butting in with snide comments and humorous suggestions.

As Brock gets up to go and find Spider-Man, though, he’s whisked back to his own universe by Doctor Strange’s spell. But, surprisingly, a small piece of Brock’s alien symbiote – aka Venom – is left behind on the bar as Brock disappears.

This could set up one of two scenarios. The first may see the symbiote seek out Holland’s Spider-Man and attach itself to him, which would finally give us the MCU’s version of Spider-Man’s black suit. The second, meanwhile, could lead to the MCU’s iteration of Eddie Brock being bonded with the symbiote and give us an MCU version of Venom, who might end up fighting Spider-Man. If Holland sticks around as the webslinger for another movie, then, Spider-Man 4 could see a battle between the wallcrawler and another iconic foe.

Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene explained 

Doctor Strange looks worried in his first MCU movie

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

No Way Home’s post-credits scene is actually a teaser trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – i.e. the next movie on Marvel’s film slate.

In it, we see Strange reunite with Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, who thinks Strange wants to question her on what went down in Westview in the WandaVision TV show. Instead, he asks for her help in finding out more about the multiverse – and it isn’t long before things get really weird.

We get our first glimpse of Xochitl Gomez as MCU newcomer America Chavez, Strange fighting a multidimensional creature known as Gargantos in New York, and the return of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo, who is sporting longer hair than when we last saw him in 2016’s Doctor Strange. We also see Strange, Wanda and Chavez looking out onto the multiverse from behind a pressure-sealed steel door, which you’d ordinarily find on a submarine or ship.

The biggest surprise, though, is saved for last. Mordo informs Strange that the biggest threat to the MCU is actually Strange himself. Cut to a shot of an evil Doctor Strange – aka Doctor Strange Supreme, who fans will recognize from Marvel’s animated What If…? Disney Plus show – telling his counterpart that “things just got out of hand”. Before anything else is revealed, however, the screen cuts to black.

What does this mean for Doctor Strange 2 and the rest of the MCU? It means the multiverse isn’t going anywhere and, if we thought things were surreal now, just wait until Doctor Strange 2 arrives in theaters in May 2022. 

With Spider-Man: No Way Home releasing in multiple territories on December 17 too – it’s already out in the UK – we shouldn’t be waiting very long for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ first teaser to be posted online.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.