As rumors continue to swirl Andrew Garfield may be returning to the Spider-Man film franchise in its next installment, Spider-Man: No Way Home, past comments Garfield made about his experience working on the films have come back to light—especially the controversy that erupted when Garfield suggested the films explore Spider-Man's sexuality.
According to a 2019 interview Garfield did with The Independent, the actor's 2013 suggestion Spider-Man be bisexual in future installments of the film franchise were apparently so controversial he was "pressured" to apologize for making it.
Many speculated the blowback over his comments led to him being replaced by actor Tom Holland in subsequent installments of the franchise beginning in 2015.
In the interview, Garfield described the furor that ensued when he made his suggestions for modernizing the film series.
"There was an interview I gave where I said, 'Why can't Peter explore his bisexuality in his next film? Why can't [his girlfriend] MJ be a guy?'"
"I was then put under a lot of pressure to retract that and apologize for saying something that is a legitimate thing to think and feel."
Garfield then explicitly called out the subtext of the controversy over his comments.
"So I said, 'OK, so you want me to make sure that we get the bigots and the homophobes to buy their tickets?'"
All in all, Garfield painted a less than rosy picture of his time working on his two Spider-Man films, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man and 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
"I worked harder than I've ever worked on anything and I'm really proud of it, but I didn't feel represented."
Messages revealed in the 2014 email hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the films' studio, made plain the tensions that had arisen between Garfield and producers over his comments. In one email, a staffer complained about Garfield's desire to be "left alone" when it came time to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.
And Spider-Man creator Stan Lee wasn't exactly on Garfield's side either.
Asked about the bisexual suggestion during a 2013 panel appearance, he said:
"[Spider-Man's] becoming bisexual? Who have you been talking to? Seriously, I don't know anything about that."
"And if it's true, I'm going to make a couple of phone calls. I figure one sex is enough for anybody."
The franchise was re-tooled the following year, with Tom Holland replacing Garfield in all subsequent installments to date.
On Twitter, Garfield's comments had many people cheering him on as the one true Spider-Man.
As for the rumors Garfield will appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, if all this renewed controversy weren't enough to dash those hopes, Garfield also confirmed back in September leaked photos of him on set with Tom Holland were Photoshop jobs.
It seems likely Garfield and Spidey's parting of ways is permanent.