It was one of the most stunning Marvel mid-credits sequences in the entire history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: at the end of 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, a webcast frames Spider-Man (Tom Holland) as the villain behind a drone attack in London and the death of the reputed superhero Mysterio, while revealing Spidey’s true identity as Peter Parker to the world.
Except for a change in hairstyle (meaning, none) and the famous Marvel newspaper The Daily Bugle becoming DailyBugle.net, this was essentially the same loud, brash, arrogant Jameson we knew from those movies, which starred Tobey Maguire as Spidey. But how could this be?
Well, as it became clear during the past year, Marvel is venturing into the multiverse — with shows like Loki and movies such as the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home cracking the whole thing wide open. That means this is not exactly the Jameson who irritated the hell out of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in their trilogy of movies together — but nevertheless a version in the MCU who shares the other Jameson’s intense hatred for Spidey and longs to bring him down.
Simmons is reprising the role in No Way Home, and Den of Geek — which spoke with him for his other new movie, Being the Ricardos — asked if it was easy to step back into a character he last played 14 years ago, only this time a slightly altered version of him.
“It was and at times, no, it wasn’t, but to me, it’s absolutely the same guy,” he says. “It’s the same heart and soul, the same loudmouth blowhard who is abusing the power of the press and self-aggrandizing. Lots of bark and not much bite. In terms of the actual playing of him, it was just kind of taking him from the old print medium into the current screen medium. That’s really the only significant adjustment.”
Simmons’ version of Jameson from the Raimi/Maguire movies is considered a definitive screen version of the character. Along with the appearance of Spider-Man villains from three different universes, as well as the heavily rumored arrival of Maguire and Andrew Garfield as their incarnations of Spider-Man himself, this all points to the scale on which Spider-Man: No Way Home is operating.
Simmons filmed his scenes during a “couple of weeks off” from working on Being the Ricardos, and was struck by the size of the Spider-Man production, especially with COVID still raging. “Just looking around at the number of lights and the number of bodies on set, it’s always a stark difference between that and something like Being the Ricardos or National Champions or my wife’s film, a low budget indie which we did shortly after that. It’s the same job at the end of the day. Just more people doing it.”
In fact, advance ticket sales indicate that Spider-Man: No Way Home could be headed for Avengers territory in terms of its box office alone, but its story may also have the same size and ramifications as those behemoths. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson will be right in the middle of it, screaming his head off about Spider-Man — and we can’t wait to see him again.
Spider-Man: No Way Home opens in theaters December 17.