When the teaser trailer for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” dropped on Aug. 23, 2021, it felt as if the entire internet exploded. If you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, you might have felt similarly.
The anticipation that everyone had for this teaser trailer was a powerful force.
Even if you are not a fan of the Spider-Man films or the MCU in general, you most likely have heard about the trailer for the film being dropped. At this point, the cultural significance all Marvel movies have is hard to ignore.
Unsurprisingly, the trailer broke the record held by Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” for most views for a trailer within 24 hours. While “Avengers: Endgame” set an impressive record of over 289 million views within the first day, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made the record seem pitiful when it gained over 355 million views within its first 24 hours.
Several of the film’s stars made comments on how awestruck they were by the fans These include Marisa Tomei, who plays Aunt May in the newest Spider-Man films.
In a recent post on Instagram, Tomei thanked fans for all their support of the trailer, while also recognizing how the fans can hardly stand the wait for the film by stating, “Just a few more months, to tease you a little bit more.”
As a fan of the MCU since the original “Iron Man” movie, I can comfortably say that the fanbase has seen many changes within recent years. One quality in particular that I would like to mention is the overwhelming presence of fan theories within the community.
For example, leading up to this trailer fans have been relentlessly theorizing about which characters might make a return for this film. Many fans hoped that some popular villains would return, such as The Green Goblin, and some even hoped that actors would return from past films, such as William Defoe returning for the Green Goblin role.
Fan expectations for any Marvel film’s cast are high, but the theories for the “Spider Man: No Way Home” cast went to a new level. Some fans even went as far to suggest that the actors who have played Spider-Man in the past, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, might also return for the film.
Fan theories such as these have taken such a strong hold on the community that to me it seems as if many of the fans' hopes for the film rely on these theories being realized. This is where I begin to see issues with these fan theories.
On one side of the spectrum, fan theories can be seen in an entirely positive light, as they usually are. They are simply fun, harmless guesses by the fans as to what the MCU has next in store for them. Digging for clues within the many films and television shows within the MCU is what many fans consider to be a good time.
There are many who are completely dedicated to going through all pieces of Marvel media, trying to decipher what the filmmakers have in store. New Rockstars, a popular channel on YouTube with over 3 million subscribers, specializes in this. Their most popular Marvel video, with nearly 12 million views, “Captain America: Civil War Trailer ALL EASTER EGGS” just shows how incredibly popular this detective work is within the fanbase.
However, while there are many positives that fan theories bring about within the fanbase, there are also some negatives. As I mentioned earlier, some fans' expectations ride on the hopes that their theories are correct. If these theories do not end up coming to fruition, they might be disappointed in the film, even if the film itself is objectively very good.
Even I have fallen victim to this. There were so many hopes and theories about Marvel’s “Loki” series that I wanted to see become reality that when I watched the actual show I found myself to be disappointed.
So, can fan theories cause fans to build up unrealistic expectations? Yes, but only if a little too much weight is put on them. Everyone should be able to enjoy the content put out by Marvel, and make as many theories as they want, but whenever a popular theory is being promoted as near fact, problems can arise.
The MCU is a giant of the entertainment industry, so the creators could not possibly cater to the hopes of every fan. My best advice is to enjoy any theories that may arise, hope that they come true, but at the end of the day just hang on for the ride. No matter what Marvel is going to surprise us again and again.
Follow Olivia Davis on Twitter, @0liviadiane
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