Why did Peter Parker stay away from Gwen Stacy?
10 years ago, the Spider-Man franchise was rebooted with The New Spider-Man movie starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. “The New Spider-Man 2” followed two years later, but like her comic book counterpart in the 70s, Gwen Stone met an untimely demise caused by the Green Goblin. As it turned out, during the filming of Gwen’s death scene for The New Spider-Man 2, Garfield ignored Stone for a whole week.
Sean O’Connell, has released a new book dedicated to the history of Spider-Man films, titled “With Great Power: How Spider-Man conquered Hollywood in the golden Age of blockbuster comics”, which can be purchased on Amazon (opens in a new tab) and other book sellers. Among the people he interviewed was Jerome Chen, the visual effects supervisor on both “The New Spider-Man” films, who recalled the unorthodox way Andrew Garfield prepared to shoot the big death scene in “The New Spider-Man 2” with Emma Stone. As Chen recalled:
I remember when this scene was filmed, Andrew and Emma deliberately didn’t see each other for a whole week. Andrey said: “I don’t want to see you! When we get to this scene, you have to pretend like you’re dead to me.” It was very quiet. It was almost always very quiet on the set. Mark likes to work very hard. So it was a very quiet, completely enclosed set. And I just remember Andrew coming in and just crying uncontrollably. It was just a watch. It was exhausting, but powerful.
The circumstances surrounding Gwen Stacy’s death in The New Spider-Man 2 did have some notable differences from what happened in the comics, including it happened in the clock tower, not on the bridge, and Harry Osborne was the Green Goblin in question, not his father Norman. But the end result was the same: Gwen fell from a great height caused by the Green Goblin, Peter tried to stop her fall with one of his webs, but his efforts accidentally led to her death, although her head hit the floor, and not the whip breaks her neck. Considering that it was such a tragic moment, Andrew Garfield decided that in order to get into a proper emotional state, he needed to ignore Emma Stone for a week. As Jerome Chen noted, this led to the fact that the silence became even stronger when it came time to shoot Gwen’s death, compared to other scenes that director Mark Webb supervised.
Also keep in mind that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone started dating in 2010 (one of many cases of romantic relationships of colleagues in films) and were still together during the filming of “The New Spider-Man 2”. So it wasn’t just that Garfield was avoiding a female co-star; he had to stay away from his then-girlfriend for seven days! However, these efforts paid off, because although “The New Spider-Man 2” was met with mixed criticism, this scene is one of the outstanding moments of the sequel.
Plans to create a “New Spider-Man 3” were canceled due to the unsatisfactory theatrical presentation of the 2014 film, but later Andrew Garfield reprised the role of Peter Parker in the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Home, where we learned that the death of Gwen Stacy pushed him to treat criminals. more violent and spends more time in a masked image, rather than as a civilian. However, Peter was able to achieve some spiritual redemption when he prevented MJ Zendai from the same fate as the late love of his life.
Check out With Great Power to learn more behind-the-scenes stories about Spider-Man’s Hollywood antics, including how the writers of the movie “The First Avenger: Civil War” never discussed the character’s origin story. You can also check out our guide showing ranked Spider-Man movies and keep following updates on what’s happening with Tom Holland’s next Spider-Man trilogy.