Spider-Man: No Way Home Actor Defends CG Marvel Villain

Thomas Haden Church insists that there was a very good reason for Flint Marko to stay in Sandman form throughout Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Spider-Man No Way Home Sandman
Photo: Marvel

Whatever your feelings about the still controversial Spider-Man 3, all of us can agree that Thomas Haden Church was inspired casting for Sandman. When Church’s Flint Marko pulls on a pair of brown slacks and a green striped shirt, he looked like he walked right off the comic book page, embodying every aspect of Steve Ditko’s original design (save for that indescribable haircut).

So it was a bit of a disappointment when Haden did not return in the flesh for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Unlike Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, and even Jamie Foxx (albeit in a much more conventionally handsome form), Church and The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Rhys Ifans were voice-only roles, with their characters portrayed entirely in CGI form.

That decision mostly tracks for Ifans’ Lizard, as he was pulled to the MCU shortly before the climax of The Amazing Spider-Man, when Dr. Curt Conners had already transformed himself into his reptilian form. But while Sandman also got pulled from the climax of his film, when he and Topher Grace’s Venom attacked Kirsten Dunst‘s Mary Jane, and while he was a giant sand monster at the time, he showed that he could change back into human form.

According to Church, there’s a very good reason for the lack of a human Flint. “There’s a chain of events where he could not be human,” Church told Pilot Productions. “He can’t be human until the very end when you just see him very briefly … because they kind of wanted to be that throwback thing, where you see him the way he was.” In fact, it was such a throwback that Church didn’t even don the green and brown outfit again as Flint reverted to human form. It “is really a screen grab from Spider-Man 3,” he admitted.

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You may notice that while Church assures us that there is a reason for the choice, he doesn’t actually tell us what that reason might be. That’s information that he cannot share because it may be part of a later Spider-Man film. Church revealed that he had conversations with producers Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige, as well as No Way Home director Jon Watts, about “the possibility of Sandman coming into a future iteration.”

The story would follow the lead of Spider-Man 3, making Flint into a sympathetic character, a flawed person forced into a desperate situation. “The conversation has happened about him coming back, and maybe picking up a more fulfilling story with Flint and being not just Sandman, but returning to human form, because there was a story of that.”

Of course, with Jon Watts off of Spider-Man projects now, having shifted to the Star Wars series Skeleton Crew, those plans may be on the back burner. And while audiences certainly loved seeing returning characters in No Way Home, Disney CEO Bob Iger has called for digging deeper into Marvel’s catalog instead of reusing the same characters. But if they do decide to bring Flint Marko back again, there’s no denying that Church has the right look for it.