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At the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Dr. Strange casts a spell to make everyone forget about Peter Parker. This is described as a memory-affecting spell that would cause literally everyone to no longer know him, so that it would be as if he had never existed.

However, there is plenty of physical information about Peter Parker out there — all the news broadcasts identifying him as Spider-Man, Flash's book, probably hundreds of cellphone videos of him from classmates, photographs, etc.

Do those things still exist, or did the spell also somehow erase them as well?

If they still exist, then a large number of people will quickly know about him again, but if things like that were removed there are other problems....

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    I think it's safe to assume that the spell also removes all physical evidence, since if it didn't, it would be a very useless spell. Also, at the end of Spiderman No Way Home there's a scene where the journalist is talking about Spiderman and showing his image, but no mention is done about Peter Parker or his image.
    – IloneSP
    Dec 24, 2021 at 9:59
  • “if things like that were removed there are other problems” — those problems can probably also be solved by magic, because magic can do anything. Dec 24, 2021 at 11:07
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    I don't think there's currently a canon answer for the MCU, but in the comics, Strange cast a similar spell to make almost everyone forget Spider-Man's secret identity after he publicly unmasked himself during the Civil War storyline, and the spell did extend to physical and digital records. If you're interested in an answer citing comicbook references, let me know and I'll post one. Dec 24, 2021 at 11:17
  • Also recall Roma’s spell on the X-men at end of Fall of the Mutants to continue belief they died, her spell rendered them invisible to all physical surveillance mechanisms, cameras, TV, video, et. al. except direct physical sight. No one tested assisted direct site like a telescope iirc so don’t know if the spell fouled such things. Dec 24, 2021 at 14:15
  • @Roberto "The journalist" is J. Jonah Jameson... Dec 24, 2021 at 19:05

2 Answers 2

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Documents and information have been 'magically redacted'

In an interview with Variety, screenwriters Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna discuss the fallout of Dr Strange's spell:

Since Holland’s Peter still exists in the MCU, his decision has a litany of wide-ranging — and persnickety — problems attached to it: Does this mean all records of him are gone too? Does he still have a social security number? Are the photos of MJ and Ned gone from his phone? And so on.

Asked about these questions, McKenna and Sommers grimace.

“This is the first time that we’ve ever discussed this,” Sommers deadpans.

In truth, the filmmaking team talked at length about the implications of the anti-Peter spell and how the movie could address them. “We were like, do we do a ‘Back to the Future’ kind of thing where you see him fading out of photos?” Sommers says. “Does he still have a driver’s license or a passport? It just led to more questions.”

So they punted. “We decided, let’s try to do it in the most satisfying way and just focus on the emotion of it,” Sommers says. “And then if people have questions about some of those details that didn’t get answered here, we’ll answer them hopefully in another movie somewhere down the line.”

“Obviously, some sort of magical redaction has occurred,” McKenna adds. “At the end of all this, we didn’t want a lot of people trying to do magical math in their head.”

Pascal suggested looking to the 1978 Warren Beatty comedy “Heaven Can Wait” for a solution. “People had these experiences, but they start forgetting the person they knew, but they were still affected by the events that happened,” McKenna explained.

(My emphasis)

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  • Countervening evidence?: If there's no record of him at all, then why should he bother to study for the GED? Clearly he already knows all the material, so there's nothing to be gained unless he has some sort of digital identity. Mar 8, 2022 at 20:03
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Our best guess is, yes.

There's no official word on this, but from the end of No Way Home,

J. Jonah Jameson says that it's been some time since the Statue of Liberty battle.

That much time is enough for a dedicated person, especially Jameson or a Spider-Man enthusiast, to discover the video that Quentin Beck's team released at the end of Far From Home, or Flash Gordon's book, or any related material. So if that material did exist, it would have been found by then.

Strange's spell didn't make everyone forget that Parker was Spider-Man, it made everybody forget Parker, period.

This means that anyone who knew Parker forgot him. And it stands to reason that any material on Parker - this includes census records, Social Security funds, and all material that Peter's friends and his acquaintances had about him.

So, though there is no official ruling or material on it, it's safe to say, all physical and stored material on Parker has been destroyed or removed to some pocket dimension in Kamar-Taj. (Perhaps food for Dormammu? Reading material for Kaecilius and his Zealots?)

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    Makes you wonder if he kept any ID he might have with him, and if he exists in any government records. If he gets arrested will they think he's in the US illegally? Might make for an interesting plot. Dec 26, 2021 at 3:44
  • @LeviC.Olson: Yeah man, his New York accent doesn't even sound authentic. Mar 8, 2022 at 19:59
  • Countervening evidence?: If there's no record of him at all, then why should he bother to study for the GED? Clearly he already knows all the material, so there's nothing to be gained unless he has some sort of digital identity. Mar 8, 2022 at 20:03
  • Creating a new persona, perhaps, we really won't get answers for a while at least Mar 9, 2022 at 2:19
  • The other interesting question is whether the effect continues. Will he be able to create a new identity? Or will the universe continue to anonymize him such that Starbucks will never get his order right?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 21, 2023 at 13:33

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