As played by Marisa Tomei, the characterization of Aunt May in the most recent onscreen take on Peter Parker's story is much different than the guardian fans of the comics and previous franchises were used to. While previous versions of the character have been older, more protective, and less active, Aunt May's storyline in Spider-Man: Far From Home shows what an asset a younger, hipper Aunt May is to her superhero nephew. In the exclusive featurette below, Tom Holland and the filmmakers explain how she pushes Peter to do better and why this reimagining of the iconic family member was the right choice for this series.
By the end of 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, May has found out that her nephew is Spider-Man. And in Far From Home, we see how she handles it. Whereas in the comics, Peter is afraid that his elderly Aunt May might die if she found out about him moonlighting as a superhero, that's not a factor here. "I thought it could be more fun if she finds out that he's Spider-Man and she's okay with it," director Jon Watts says in the clip.
"She's become a fan of the fact that he does this stuff, and they've kind of become a little bit of a team," Holland says. Producer Amy Pascal adds, "Instead of what we've seen Aunt May do in the past, which is worry about Peter, this Auntie May has put him to work."
In Far From Home, May uses her intimate connection with Spider-Man for the community's benefit. He makes appearances at her charity events for those displaced from what she calls "the blip" — meaning more publicity and more donors.
And while the cautious Aunt May in the comics and in the previous Spider-Man movies warns Peter against going on missions to save the world, this one does quite the opposite. "Rather than discouraging him from doing this, she's encouraging him to do the right thing, and be a productive member of his community," Watts says. In Far From Home, as Holland points out in the video, when Peter chooses to leave his suit at home to go on vacation, May still packs it for him — complete with a cheeky yellow sticky note that says, "You almost forgot this!!" This almost gives Peter at heart attack at Italian customs, but it's all good in the end.
May's awareness of Peter's powers also makes for some funny moments in the film, where she seems to tease him about his abilities. "She knows he has Spidey sense," Watts explains. "She knows that he can dodge bullets." In a running joke, she — and Happy (Jon Favreau), eventually — refer to it as his "Peter tingle."
But when it comes down to the important stuff, this rebooted Aunt May is still the person holding the Parker household together and raising Peter right — especially now that his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is also gone. She's just doing it in a more modern, empowered way.
This featurette and more special features are included in the Spider-Man: Far From Home digital release (out Sept. 17) and Blu-ray (out Oct. 1).