One of the most-talked-about moments in Spider-Man: No Way Home is the battle on the bridge between Spider-Man and Doc Ock, who just arrived from his universe as the accidental result of Doctor Strange's spell. It was an intense fight between the two characters with the former being very confused about why a man with mechanical limbs was attacking him all of a sudden. As it turns out, that scene was originally longer than what they've ended up showing.
Speaking with Before & Afters, Spider-Man: No Way Home visual effects supervisor Kelly Port addressed the making the visual effects for the bridge scene in the film in which he revealed the intricate process that they've done in order to make the sequence come to life.
"Digital Domain was tasked with doing that sequence, which was a few hundred VFX shots," he said. "Also, the Digital Domain previs team did the previs for the whole movie, which was really cool, led by Matt McClurg. They just did such a great job. There’s so many cool iterations of that sequence that will never see the light of day. It was way longer. At one point in its longest iteration, it was 15 minutes long."
He continued, "We shot in Atlanta at Trilith Studios, which was called Pinewood Atlanta. It was a backlot pad that was made specifically for us. We had 40-foot bluescreens on three sides of that pad, a little bit of roadway with the exit where the assistant vice chancellor was exiting and where most of the action took place. We’d redress the set for when Spidey first lands on a sign, and then he jumps off the sign and tumbles and he is looking for her. He goes through some traffic before he gets to her, so we would redress that same section for up until he gets to where she is. And then that became our main action set piece. But beyond that little piece of road section, Digital Domain built an entire, fully-CG digital environment around that that would include all the other surrounding bridges, the other side of the bridge that they’re on, all the city of Brooklyn and all the area around it, the river, and all the trees, the fall foliage. It just looked great."
Port also revealed that there are some effects in the scene that they did practically including the Iron Spider bust. "My rule of thumb is, if there’s any way possible to shoot something for real, something physical, then we do," he said. "We made an Iron Spider bust from chest to head and shoulders, which was just so, so helpful to get those bright pings for reference. We shot this outdoors, and so it was all about, how does this read on an Alexa camera if we were to actually shoot it Otherwise, you just don’t know. You just guess. And just actually having that there, having physical cars there, too, will help inform our digital cars. Having a practical Iron Spider bust will help inform our fully-animated CG version. We also had pieces of Doc Ock’s claws and tentacles that we would bring out as reference. Anything physical would be super, super helpful. It’s the same thing with the explosions. I love the idea of tying physical elements into the digital world. It just always, always makes them look more believable."
It is curious to see what the longer version of the bridge scene looked like in the assembly cut. Is it more action? More lines from Doc Ock? More exchanges between the two characters? We will never know (at least for now). But we can all agree that we would like to find out more about what the longer version looked like and hopefully, we'll get to see it in the special features of the home video release even if the effects are unfinished.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is still showing in theaters everywhere. You can also check out our streaming guide for the film here.