'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Brings J. Jonah Jameson to MCU By Way Of Logan Paul And Kim Kardashian

The executive producer of Spider-Man: Far From Home has confirmed that J. Jonah Jameson will officially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Only, this time, he'll be some variety of social media influencer or new media figure. While visiting the set of Spider-Man: Far From Home in London, Slashfilm sat in on a Q&A with the movie's executive producer, Eric Hauserman Carroll, who described, a tad cryptically, how Jameson will fit into the post-Thanos media environment.

"We've absolutely talked and thought about those characters a lot, specifically in reference to this film. We just want to make sure we're [presenting] them in a way that doesn't make you feel instantly like you've seen them before," Carroll said. "If we had an 'in' for the Daily Bugle that wasn't just your traditional newspaper…"

While Carroll didn't get into specifics, there are indications Jameson will be a radically different character in Far From Home. "We want to take as much of the mythology that people love and present it in a way that's totally faithful to what people love about it, but in a different way," Carroll said. Totally faithful … but in a different way: a contradiction that emphasizes the latter quality, with the "totally faithful" primarily there to mollify fans looking for the cigar-chomping newshound and Manhattan bullpen bully they've known for decades.

In Far From Home (and the wider MCU) Jameson could be introduced as a fellow teen with a big social media platform, or a tech CEO with a gossip app. They could be a Logan Paul or a Paul Joseph Watson or a Kourtney Kardashian. (Thankfully, the era where every journalist character in movies is a gossip blogger appears to have ended.)

spider-man-far-from-home-mcu-jonah-jameson
What would old J. Jonah Jameson think of a new Jameson? Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images/Sony Pictures

Carroll also describes how Spider-Man: Far From Home is working the relationship from both sides, portraying a version of Jameson designed to mesh with Tom Holland's depiction of Peter Parker. "Peter Parker: there's this cool, weird thing happening where being a photographer isn't necessarily a mark of distinction anymore," Carroll said. "We all have better cameras in our pockets than most people even owned ten years ago. So how do we get Peter or somebody into that world without it feeling like, do kids really aspire to go be photographers for The New York Times anymore? Or do they aspire to have their tweets reposted, and so on?"

It's a good point, and yet another reason for reinventing Jameson, since he's a type that barely exists anymore. It certainly doesn't help that J.K. Simmons gave the definitive Jameson performance in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007), placing a similar follow-up performance in mortal danger of pulling a Jared Leto. But capturing the spirit of what Jameson represents for Spider-Man isn't as easy as turning the Daily Bugle into a TikTok account.

Jameson embodies mainstream contempt for Spider-Man. His paper, the Daily Bugle, is tabloid-style and inflammatory, most clearly modelled after Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. New Yorkers generally seem to like Spider-Man much more than Jameson or the Bugle, but the paper is still meant to represent a significant slice of Spider-Man's society, standing in for the day-to-day sentiments of a mostly unseen swathe of people. Jameson, like most rich media trash peddlers, cavorts with high society while presuming to speak for the hoi polloi.

These are all traits that are specific to a particular conception of the 20th century newspaper mogul that doesn't map on to their new media scions. An Instagram celebrity can have a wide reach, but speak only for themselves (by design). Podcasters depend upon building a parasocial relationship with their audience, closing the distance by upselling their subjectivity and downplaying their institutional authority —the exact opposite of how a newspaper maintains the trust of its readers.

Twitter, which Carroll used as an example, allows nobodies to "ratio" the rich, influential and powerful, denying Jameson the bully pulpit which has forever defined the character. Jameson could be a great Twitter provocateur—the guy was born for Meltdown May, tweeting through it and getting mad, red and nude online—but it wouldn't be the same Jameson, with the same ability to define the boundaries of discourse or embody the mainstream, as the Bugle does, because Twitter provocateurs typically succeed from the outside by attacking mainstream pieties.

We've seen the limitations of a new media Jameson before. Jameson is a podcaster in Marvel's Spider-Man on PlayStation 4, which shrinks him into an Alex Jones pest, rather than a force reminding Parker that, no matter what he does, some portion of people will always resent his efforts (and he'll have to kowtow to those same people to pay rent). There's nothing wrong with Jameson as a podcaster, but it is a diminution of what Jameson has long meant for Parker's life.

None of these pitfalls are meant to suggest that Spider-Man: Far From Home is doomed to failure in its reinvention of J. Jonah. Spider-Man: Homecoming's great strength was its broad ensemble, which placed Spider-Man in a believable high school context completely unlike the more world-spanning or even cosmic concerns of other MCU protagonists. It succeeded with major changes to beloved characters, including a young Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and an MJ named Michelle (Zendaya). Characters, the new Jameson included, are likely to be Far From Home's great strength as well. But Jameson as a new media darling means more than swapping the fedora for a Supreme cap, so it may be time to for Marvel fans to reckon with it: the cantankerous gray fox with the tie clip and suspenders likely isn't coming back.

'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Brings J. Jonah Jameson to MCU By Way Of Logan Paul And Kim Kardashian | Culture