Contains spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” while being the third time Marvel Studios and Sony have collaborated — as well the ninth theatrical webslinger film to date, not counting his “Avengers” crossovers — has spun a web unlike any of its predecessors, through the integration of magic.
Starring the likes of Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon, “No Way Home” follows directly from the cliffhanger at the end of the previous movie, as Peter faces the destruction of his personal life when his secret identity is outed by J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Peter is hounded by detractors, and even deals with authority figures who believe he is responsible for the murder of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Desperate to help his friends and family, Peter goes to New York’s resident sorcerer, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who tries to cast a spell that will erase the reveal of Spider-Man’s identity from the minds of everyone in the MCU — only to backfire when, thanks to Peter’s interference, it instead brings in the webslinger’s adversaries from other realities.
In typical Spider-Man fashion, the movie is full of heart, triumph, and sacrifice, but the most emotional part (well, other than a certain Aunt May scene) comes at the end, when Peter decides that the only way to prevent multiversal chaos is to allow Doctor Strange to cast a new, even more potent spell — one which will cause everyone on Earth to forget that Peter Parker ever existed, including his loved ones.
This culminates in a scene at the end of the film where Peter’s closest allies — his girlfriend, MJ, and his best friend, Ned — are revealed to still be friends in Peter’s absence. However, how does Strange’s spell impact their memories?
How do MJ and Ned remember their high school experiences?
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” culminates in Peter Parker giving up his close personal relationships with both MJ and Ned in order to save them (and the world) at large. However, how exactly does this impact them — and more specifically, their memories of high school?
Even though both MJ and Ned go to the same high school as Peter, he has been the common thread between them. One of the final scenes of the movie shows that they are still friends, but how exactly would they remember meeting, sans Peter, as well as the events that occurred to them all in Europe? Does MJ remember how she came to possess the black dahlia necklace given to her at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” or is it a mystery to her?
Considering that Ned is Peter’s best friend, his recollections must be the most impacted. It is established early on just how close both Peter and Ned are, and Ned is one of the first people to learn Spider-Man’s true identity.
This scene occurred because Ned wanted to build a Lego Deathstar. So, would his memory be of just him dropping the massive undertaking for no reason? Also, remember, he must have no recollection of his best friend, so his high school memories must seem disjointed and lonely, in general.
Peter contemplates reintroducing himself to both Ned and MJ at the end of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” but ultimately decides against it. This is a classic Peter Parker choice, martyr-complex and all — figuring that it’s better to keep loved ones safe at great cost to himself. Going forward, numerous questions are posed by this new normal, and the next “Spider-Man” movie will have plenty of ground to (re)cover!