** Warning – this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home**
Of all the many, many Easter Eggs and comic-book references in Spider-Man: Far From Home (honestly, there are just SO many), perhaps our favourite callback in the new webslinging adventure comes from the very birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more specifically 2008’s original Iron Man.
However, the callback is perhaps so unexpected that some fans could have left the cinema scratching their heads as to what it all means, and with that in mind here at RadioTimes.com we’ve taken it upon ourselves to lay out exactly what was going on. Isn’t that sweet/presumptuous of us?
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Anyway, needless to say this article contains some heavy-ish spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home so unless you’ve seen the movie we’ll have to literally order you to scroll no more. Seriously, just stop – we can tell when you’re lying.
Still here? OK, honest internet user, here we go.
Back in Iron Man, there’s a now-famous scene where Jeff Bridges’ villainous Obadiah Stane berates a lowly technician, who’s just informed his boss that it’s technologically impossible to recreate the miniaturised arc reactor needed to power their rip-off Iron Man suit.
“Tony STARK was able to BUILD this in a cave!” howls Bridges, thrusting aside his flapping tie charismatically. “With a box of scraps!”
“I’m sorry,” replies the technician, who is credited as William Ginter Rivera. “I’m not Tony Stark.”
Now, over a decade later, Spider-Man Far From Home does the seemingly impossible – it brings that technician back! To play a major part in the story! He’s actually super important! And they show the Jeff Bridges clip to explain it!
Yes, it’s as weird and unexpected as it sounds – but speaking officially as an organisation that has long been obsessed with Jeff Bridges yelling about scraps, it was incredibly gratifying to see the technician return.
Warning – even worse spoilers are coming from hereon out.
Anyway, in Far From Home, William the technician teams up with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck/Mysterio, another disgruntled ex-Stark employee, and along with a few others (including British actors Nicholas Gleaves and Claire Rushbrook) he helps sell the grand lie of Mysterio’s superheroic persona – specifically he seems to be the main tech guy, and despite not being Tony Stark we’d say he does a grand old job.
In reality, William is played by former child actor-turned producer and director Peter Billingsley, best known for a starring role in 1983’s A Christmas Story and also for helping make films like Couples Retreat (which he directed), Zathura, Four Christmases and, er, Iron Man, on which he served as an executive producer.
In other words, Billingsley’s first appearance was something of a cameo in itself, making his character’s return a little less surprising – but it’s still a brilliantly deep cut for fans of the MCU, and a sign that even though Tony Stark may be gone, his legacy of annoying other scientists lives on.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in UK cinemas now