While we’ve already broken out and dived deeper into some of the newsiest interview talking points you’ll read below — including the J.K. Simmons cameo as J. Jonah Jameson, Nick Fury Skrulls twist, whether Insomniac’s PS4 game influenced the movie and a Mysterio deleted scene — we know there is enough interest around Spider-Man: Far From Home within IGN’s audience that we wanted to share the full Jon Watts Q&A in its entirety.
Below, you’ll read more about Mysterio and how they made his illusions plot hole-proof, the many misdirects in Far From Home’s marketing campaign, and more details about how the movie’s actors pulled off its biggest reveals. Enjoy!
IGN: You lean so heavily into this promise of Mysterio being from a different universe, that the multiverse exists within the MCU, and we find out, obviously, that is a lie for his story. But, does this mean that a multiverse does actually exist within the MCU, or is this saying that doesn’t exist?
Watts: I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s an impossibility, for sure. We didn’t specifically talk about whether or not it does exist, or it doesn’t exist. But, I like to think the fact that Maria and Fury (who aren’t actually Maria and Fury) the fact that they buy this multiverse story, to me it lends some credence to the fact that there may actually be a multiverse — maybe we don’t know about it, but it seems like kind of the Skrulls do. At Marvel, you feel like everything is on the table, which is very fun.
IGN: I love that he says he’s from that were in Earth-616 which of course all of us were like, “Yeah, that’s not the MCU universe.” But, I am curious, how did you choose which ones to name drop?
Watts: People were mad about that because I was like, “Just wait, just wait, everyone. I definitely know the different names for the different universes.” It was a clue. 616 is the most recognizable one, I thought. So knowing that a line like that would also probably end up in the trailer, you wanted to pick one that people would lean into immediately. And then he says he’s from 833, which is Spider-UK.
IGN: When Peter has that vision of Tony’s grave and then a zombie comes out, was that intentionally your nod to Marvel Zombies?
Watts: [laughs] I would say that’s a coincidence, but I do love the Marvel Zombies, so I don’t know. What’s amazing about Marvel and Marvel comics especially is that any idea you come up with, someone has done it somewhere. Everything you think of that’s an original idea, you just go back and do a tiny bit of research and then you find, “Oh, someone did that. Here’s a panel that someone had drawn that is exactly like what you were pitching.” So, there’s like an infinite library to draw from in that way.
IGN: Of course, we have to talk about the Skrulls reveal at the end. I was curious in terms of the timeline, like I can tell it was Talos at the beginning in Mexico, but his comment about Tony’s funeral, does this mean that canonically it was Talos as Fury at Tony Stark’s funeral?
Watts: I think it real Nick Fury at the funeral, and I think Talos got a debrief from Nick Fury about this is the last time they saw each other. Talos is really good, so he would have gotten a lot of tips along the way how to play this character. But also, it’s cool that you noticed that in the opening, and there’s a couple other lines like that, and there’s a couple other moments where if you know that they’re Skrulls, the scene plays totally differently.
IGN: How much did you work with Sam on making Nick Fury feel just a bit off in this movie?
Watts: You don’t have to ever really give Sam any kind of notes like that. He’s so good at fine-tuning his performance, and it’s all out of the box ready when he gets there. So, you just see them doing these little things, and it’s just so amazing to see how it all adds up, especially in the end.
IGN: Before Berlin, were any of Peter’s visions of Nick Fury illusions, or were those all actually happening?
Watts: I think some of that… I don’t want to say definitively because I want to leave it at the time to open to interpretation and see how people put the different pieces together. But, there are little moments here and there, if you watch the first half of the movie, where you can spot things that you would never notice if you didn’t realize that it was all part of the illusion. I don’t know if you saw any of those, but it’s a very fun second viewing kind of situation.
IGN: How did you guys kind of construct that so that it didn’t feel like they were plot holes upon repeat viewing that it all kind of tracked with the illusion tech that we know Mysterio was using?
Watts: Well, once you crack how the illusions and the drones are going to work together, you just design the sequences with that in mind. You want to make sure it’s as good of an action scene and good of a con as possible, and then you build it from there. I always think of the Hydro Man sequence and the Molton Man sequences as they have like a video game structure. And it’s for Peter, because it’s all for the purpose of pulling Peter. Secondary is fooling the world and all of that, but he’s the main audience member. He’s the mark for this giant con.
IGN: Is Quentin Beck actually his name, or is that a fake name? Because we were like, “How to no one check up on this guy and not notice that he worked for Tony?”
Watts: Some of these are deleted scenes as well, but you have to think that, in addition to all this technology he was using, that there was a way that he was able to mask himself and his background and change all of that. So, I think what’s good about Mysterio that it doesn’t all remain mysterious. There’s a lot of questions at the end of the movie that are part of what makes Mysterio fun.
IGN: And, so I’m not mischaracterizing you, are you saying it’s a deleted scene of kind of getting into how he’s masking his identity?
Watts: There’s a little bit more of like seeing behind the scenes of how they put everything together. But, it’s just things that didn’t make it for time. I want to see how people interpret it and see if people come up with what we can offer.
IGN: Well, check out the IGN Comments because I know our readers will love to speculate!
Watts: Oh yeah. Oh, I’m very familiar with the IGN comments section. It’s a good place to start.
IGN: I wanted to ask you about some of the nods to Marvel’s Spider-Man in the ending. You have the selfie from the PS4 game, but I was wondering if anything else — how you’re characterizing J. Jonah Jameson, and even some of the swinging mechanics and cityscapes — came as inspiration from the Insomniac game?
Watts: It didn’t, only because I started playing the game while we were shooting. And I played it just one weekend on my day off on a weekend. and I was I can’t do this. I can’t let my break time from Spider-Man also be Spider-Man. I need to find another game to play.
IGN: So what did you play?
Watts: I played God of War. That was my main game when I was [directing].
IGN: Another awesome Sony game.
Watts: Oh yeah. I made them give me a PlayStation too which was great. But that was while we were shooting. And then during post, we played Red Dead [Redemption]. There was something very comforting about you’d be editing all day and then you’d go home and get some stew and pet your horse.
IGN: I love that. Find the perfect facial hair that only you can come up with for your character.
Watts: Oh yeah. And, that’s the only thing where it starts to mirror real life is when your character just turns into Jake Gyllenhaal. Do you know that whole thing? That’s the multiplayer game, but you can make your character look exactly like Jake Gyllenhaal, so that was the only thing where it felt like Mysterio was invading my life.
IGN: That’s amazing. Back to the ending, how did you decide to include, first of all, the character of J. Jonah Jameson at the end, and was there any debate with Marvel about whether to recast or to once again bring back J.K. Simmons?
Watts: Well, we always knew that we wanted Spider-Man’s identity to be revealed, and we’re playing with all these ideas of truth and fiction and mystery, so it made sense that you’d use the Daily Bugle as the outlet to have this big reveal. And, honestly, there was no discussion. Everyone was in complete agreement the moment that the idea was suggested. Like, it wasn’t even an idea. It was: and we’ll have J. Jonah Jameson, and it will be J.K. Simmons.
IGN: What was his response to getting the call?
Watts: [laughs] I mean, you’d have to ask him, but I think initially he was a little weirded out. Like, “What are you guys doing? Those are different movies. How are we going to do this?” But, we explained the story to him, and he really liked the idea. And, it was definitely surreal for him because we shot at very, very, very late because we didn’t want anyone to find out. So it was one of the very last things that we shot, and it was just in a conference room at Disney. We set up the green screen and his desk, and he just jumped right back into the character and it must’ve been so surreal for him to suddenly be doing that voice again and reading that kind of dialogue. It was so fun.
I can’t imagine it being anyone else, and it’s really nice to end the movie with this big swing. We didn’t one it in the last movie intentionally because it was like you did that every Spider-Man movie. So I felt like we had to earn back a lot of these iconic Spider-Man moments. And, so to have all of that come together” there’s a little bit of voiceover at the end of Far From Home, but it’s feels very reminiscent of the Raimi films, and then we have the big swing, and then we have J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah.
IGN: You end the movie with the biggest “oh my god “that can possibly happen in a Spider-Man movie, which is people know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Talk about what you’re kind of trying to cue up there. Is that something that you’re hoping to catch on the other side and have it be the crux of a third Spider-Man movie, or what are you kind of envisioning that setting up for the future?
Watts: Well, without revealing too much, I mean it definitely puts us into uncharted territory, and that’s the goal is always to try to show people things they’ve never seen before. And, for me, there’s something great about not even having that choice. At the end of the Iron Man, Tony Stark chose to reveal his identity to the world, and that set him off on a very unique path. But poor Peter Parker, he has the worst luck. He doesn’t even get the chance to choose to make that decision; it happens to him. And putting him in a difficult situation is just, you know, that’s my job.
IGN: Considering this is the final movie in Phase 3, that callback to Iron Man’s ending, I thought, was a really like poetic way to kind of bring it all back together.
Watts: Yeah, thanks. I’m glad. I’m proud that people are picking up on that.
IGN: Speculation will run rampant about where Nick Fury is at the end. And, I know we have some theories, but my question to you is: Is where he is someplace that’s taken directly from the comics? Or, is this something that you guys have kind of invented new for the MCU?
Watts: I can’t say.
IGN: [laughs] I was trying to be so vague!
Watts: I know, but I know where you’re going with that one. I don’t want to confirm or deny.
For more on Spider-Man: Far From Home, find out how many Spider-Man movies Tom Holland has in his contract, all of the movie’s Easter eggs, callbacks and cameos, and why it was important that Spider-Man has one of the only secret identities in the MCU.Terri Schwartz is Editor-in-Chief of Entertainment at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.