Here’s what you might have missed about that back-cracking scene in ‘No Way Home’

Photo via Sony

Spider-Man: No Way Home is an absolute treasure trove of cameos, surprise reveals, and Easter eggs.

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The film, which continues breaking box office records, introduces a mind-bending multiverse rife with familiar faces. Fans of the webhead saw numerous returning favorites, including former versions of Peter Parker himself, played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

Interactions between the trio of Spider-Men that appeared in the film are some of No Way Home’s best moments. Several standout scenes feature the three Spideys simply chatting about the struggles of donning the mask, sharing tips, and reminiscing about old battles.

One of the best scenes in a film absolutely rife with memorable moments came near the end when the three Spideys—separated by more than 20 years and heaps of studio drama—join up for the final fight. A conversation between Tobey Maguire’s Peter, who re-enters the franchise as the older, more world-wise version of Peter, and Andrew Garfield’s Peter, who struggles with the harsher aspects of the superhero life, stood out to many fans.

Maguire’s Spidey takes a moment to stretch out his back during their conversation, which he explains has ongoing issues thanks to years of web-swinging. Then, after noting that his back is hinting toward similar future issues, Garfield offers to crack his back for him, relieving Maguire’s Peter of some discomfort. It is a charming and thoroughly relatable moment—all that swinging would take a toll on one’s back and shoulders—but there was actually a bit more to the scene than meets the eye, according to The Gamer.

That’s because the entire scene was inspired by a long-ago issue that nearly robbed Maguire of his chance to appear in Spider-Man 2 and 3. The scene was, in fact, an inside joke hinting toward lumbar issues that have plagued Maguire since the early Spider-Man films were released back in the early 2000s.

Apparently, ongoing issues with his back prompted Maguire to let the team behind Spider-Man 2 know that he was concerned about some of the stunts he may need to perform in the film. This led Columbia Pictures to nearly recast his role rather than make accommodations, a move that could have seen Jake Gyllenhaal star in the second and third Spider-Man flicks. Thankfully, Columbia Pictures didn’t fall prey to what would have been a massive mistake and stuck it out with Maguire and his bad back.

The inside joke led to a small but deeply memorable scene in No Way Home that shows characters that many of us grew up with interacting like regular people. It humanizes them and provides fans with a tiny glimpse into the deeper lore behind this character.

No Way Home wasn’t the first Spider-Man film to reference Maguire’s lumbar issues, either. A nod to his back pain also appeared in Spider-Man 2, in a scene that sees Peter fall several stories after experiencing issues with his powers. After hitting several obstacles on his way down, Peter limps away down the alley, repeating “my back” in a pained voice and struggling to stand upright.

The No Way Home callback to this scene clearly connected with fans, as seen in the YouTube comments of a brief clip from the 2004 film. The video’s top comments all refer to No Way Home’s back scene, writing “don’t worry guys Andrew Garfield is here to fix his back,” and celebrating that “17 years later he finally got his back fixed.”