Warning - This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. If you have not yet seen the movie and you care about spoilers, than I would recommend you stop reading. Proceed with caution...
Ever since 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released, the internet has been swarming with rumors that the Peter B. Parker character, the middle-aged Spider-Man from an alternate universe voiced by Jake Johnson who serves as Miles Morales' mentor is the same Spider-Man that Tobey Maguire played in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films from 2002 to 2007, and recently in 2021's Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, alongside other Spider-Man actors Tom Holland and Andrew Garfield.
While there are a few contradicting factors to these rumors, there is all kinds of evidence in the respective characters' histories and references that could truly prove them to be the same Spider-Man. In this blog post, I will be going over how they could be the same, how they couldn't be, and at the end I'll come up with a conclusion on whether or not they derive from the same universe.
How they could be the same Spider-Man
Lots of things point towards these Spider-Men being the same. First of all, their histories are complementary to each other, mainly with their love lives. Throughout the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man is in love with Mary Jane Watson and they have a sort of on-off romance. By the end of the trilogy, they're about ready to get married but tragedy strikes, their best friend dies and things are wrong in their relationship, even if they're married, they're still bummed.
This perfectly segways into where we find Peter B. Parker at the beginning of Into the Spider-Verse. In that movie, the Jake Johnson Peter's arc starts out where he's been Spider-Man for over two decades, he got married to MJ but she wanted kids and Peter got frightened, so they divorced. However, at the end of the movie, when Peter returns to his home dimension he is shown at MJ's door with flowers trying to re-connect.
This now leads into where we meet him in No Way Home, where he tells Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man that him and Mary Jane have been through rough patches but have made it work, so their histories align on that front.
There is also no villain Peter B. Parker recalled the existence of from his home universe that Spider-Man didn't fight in Sam Raimi's trilogy. When he first meets Kathryn Hahn's female Doctor Octopus and she introduces herself as "Olivia Octavius".
He responds to her introduction with "Let me guess, your friends call you Doc Ock" confirming that Doc Ock exists in his universe. This also allows his background to co-exist within the Raimi Spider-Man continuity, because Maguire's version of the Spider-Man character faced off with Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, so Ock existing in both universes gives further potential for Peter B. Parker and Raimiverse Spidey to be the same.
On top of that, before Jake Johnson was cast as Peter B. Parker, Spider-Verse writers Christopher Miller and Phil Lord had the intention of casting Tobey Maguire in that role. So in rougher drafts of the script for Into the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales' mentor figure actually was Raimiverse Spider-Man, and if this remained the intention until the finished version of the film than it's a good piece of evidence that Peter B. Parker is in fact the same Spider-Man from the Sam Raimi trilogy.
How they could be different Spider-Men
While there is tons of proof pointing towards these Spider-Men being the same, there is all kinds of evidence in each of their Spider-Man films proving them to be of separate continuities. One of the most notable of these is Peter B. Parker having web shooters, while Raimiverse Spider-Man's webs are naturally produced by his body so a difference in power sources is proof of them being different characters.
Image Credit - Artie Higgins
There is also a timeline error as well, primarily around the amount of time either character started being Spider-Man. Assuming Into the Spider-Verse takes place in 2018 (because of the year it came out and the popular music used in the movie) and the first Raimi Spider-Man is in 2002 (also based on the year it came out and the real passing of time from movie to movie in the Raimi trilogy), than Raimiverse Spider-Man would have been Spider-Man for 16 years during the events of Into the Spider-Verse. Jake Johnson's Spider-Man contradicts this number when he states that he has been "the one and only Spider-Man" for the past "22 years", so this further proves them to be different Spider-Men.
The most notable difference between the two Spider-Men is their personality. While Maguire's Peter is an awkward and nerdy Peter Parker as well as a heroic Spider-Man who always tries to do the right thing in both positions, Johnson's Peter is more of a tired, wise-cracking stereo-typical middle aged man as both Parker and Spidey, and this isn't just because he's older and been through a lot. When Maguire appears in No Way Home, he acts middle aged for sure like when he complains to Andrew Garfield about his back pain but he still has the same personality as his younger self from the original trilogy and seems very different from Peter B. Parker. Not to mention they don't look like each other nor have the same costume.
Lastly, if Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man was the same as Jake Johnson's, than No Way Home wouldn't have been his introduction to the multiverse.
Because of his exploits from Into the Spider-Verse, he wouldn't be new to interacting with other Spider-People and he probably would've mentioned it if his adventures in No Way Home weren't his first rodeo.
Therefore, there is all sorts of proof that these Spider-Man are different such as inconsistencies in power sets, histories and demeanor.
My final statement is that they are separate Spider-Men from different universes, based on their appearances, powers, personalities and multiversal adventures. While there is of course potential for it to be like a Burton/Schumacher Batman thing where it's kind of continuity but not at the same time, I think it makes more sense if they are each from their own universe but they coincidentally have similar origins, histories and backgrounds which you'll see a lot of in the vast and endless Marvel Multiverse. I mean hey, the Watcher did say it is "a prism of endless possibility".
Do you think that Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man is the same as Jake Johnson's? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you all for reading and remember, with great power comes great responsibility! Happy New Year, everyone!