|J. Jonah Jameson|
|Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
|Portrayed by||J. K. Simmons|
|Full name||John Jonah Jameson, Senior|
|Title||Hero of the War on Fake News[b]|
|Family||John Jameson (son)[a]|
|Spouse||Julia Jameson (wife)[a]|
J. Jonah Jameson, Sr. is a fictional character portrayed by J. K. Simmons in both Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy produced by Sony Pictures and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise co-produced by Marvel Studios. He is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.
Originally appearing in Spider-Man (2002) and its sequels Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007), Simmons’ portrayal has been universally praised and as a result, he voiced the character in a video game film tie-in, multiple television series and specials including recurring appearances on Robot Chicken, Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, as well as guest appearances on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and The Simpsons.
A new version of the character was later integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Simmons reprising his role two feature films, a web series and a cameo appearance in Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021).
Creation and characterization
J. Jonah Jameson first premiered as a comic book character in the comic book The Amazing Spider-Man issue #1 (March 1963). Stan Lee stated in an interview on Talk of the Nation that he modeled J. Jonah Jameson as a much grumpier version of himself. Later Spider-Man writers Tom DeFalco and Gerry Conway agreed that J. Jonah Jameson was as close as Lee ever came to a self-portrayal, with Conway elaborating that "just like Stan is a very complex and interesting guy who both has a tremendously charismatic part of himself and is an honestly decent guy who cares about people, he also has this incredible ability to go immediately to shallow. Just, BOOM, right to shallow. And that's Jameson". Conway stated that whenever he wrote Jameson's dialogue, he would hear it in Lee's voice, and on one occasion even wrote a Jameson speech that was almost directly quoted from a Stan Lee speech.
A live-action series, The Amazing Spider-Man featured J. Jonah Jameson as a recurring character first portrayed by David White in the pilot and later portrayed by Robert F. Simon for the remainder of the series. It was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and aired from 1977 to 1979.
In 1998, Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the film and television rights to Spider-Man also including 900 characters related to the character. It is perpetual provided that Sony releases a new Spider-Man film at least once every 5.75 years. The character was featured in a trilogy of live-action films directed by Sam Raimi with J. K. Simmons portraying the role of J. Jonah Jameson, with installments released from 2002 to 2007. The character served as a major source of comic relief throughout the series. Portrayed as a blustering, bombastic, obsessed, hyperactive man, this version of Jameson retains his dislike for Spider-Man and takes delight in anything that might discredit or defame him, but remains a good man at his core. In April 2014, Simmons expressed interest in reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson in Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man duology should the studio offer him the role.
For The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), a scene was written and storyboarded, but never filmed for Jameson. It would've had Jameson and Robbie Robertson appear in The Daily Bugle building during Spider-Man and Electro's final showdown, with the hero and villain crashing through the walls and wrecking the office, much to Jameson's loud disdain. While Jameson does not have a physical presence in the final film, it is established that Peter Parker is working for him by providing him with photographs of Spider-Man, and that Jameson is still slandering him.
Sony's licensing agreement with Marvel Studios
In December 2014, following the hacking of Sony Pictures' computers, Sony and Marvel Studios were revealed to have had discussions about allowing Spider-Man to appear in the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Captain America: Civil War while having control of the film rights remaining with Sony. However, on February 9, 2015, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced that Spider-Man and majority of his supporting characters would appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with the character appearing in an MCU film and Sony releasing a Spider-Man film co-produced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Sony Pictures would continue to own, finance, distribute, and exercise final creative control over the Spider-Man films.
Simmons briefly reprises his role as a re-imagined version of J. Jonah Jameson in the live-action film Spider-Man: Far From Home. This makes J. Jonah Jameson the first live-action character to be portrayed by the same actor in two different franchises. However, this version of the character is unrelated to the version that Simmons first portrayed in Raimi's trilogy. Instead, this J. Jonah Jameson appears as the host of TheDailyBugle.net, a sensationalist "InfoWars-type video platform." Director Jon Watts noted that Simmons' performance was over-the-top in Raimi's films, but now that same performance has real-world comparisons, such as Alex Jones. According to Feige, the changes in the real world also meant that moving the character from a newspaper editor to a "radical right news journalist that kind of scream[s] in front of the camera" made more sense. Simmons said he and Watts did not see "eye to eye" on the film's contemporary portrayal of the character versus his performance in Raimi's films.
Simmons announced that he has signed on to play J. Jonah Jameson for more films in the MCU.
Fictional character biography
Sam Raimi film series
J. Jonah Jameson is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle, with a personal disliking of the vigilante Spider-Man, considering him a "menace". He hires Peter Parker as a freelance photographer due to Parker taking clear photos of the vigilante (himself), and the Bugle's sales get higher due to Spider-Man. Jameson is also shown to have a cynical, avuncular attitude and brusque manner with his staff, though he willingly protects Peter when the Green Goblin demands to know the identity of Spider-Man's photographer.
Two years later, Jameson admits that Spider-Man is a hero, but refuses to talk openly about it. After Peter is persuaded to give up his life as Spider-Man and abandoned his suit in an alley, a garbage man[c] finds it and sells it to Jameson who is believes it was him who convinced Spider-Man to quit, publicly announcing it in his newspaper. However, after crime and danger is noted as subsequently on the rise and his son John's fiancée, Mary Jane Watson, is kidnapped by Doctor Octopus, Jameson publicly admits to his staff that Spider-Man is a hero, but once the vigilante returns, taking his suit back from Jameson's office, he recants his statements. After Mary Jane is rescued by Spider-Man, at the wedding of his son John, Mary Jane leaves John at the altar, to which Jameson (having paid for the wedding) asks his wife to get a refund on the food.
One year later, Jameson orders Peter and new hire Eddie Brock to obtain a photograph of Spider-Man proving his true criminal nature in exchange for earning a secure staff job in place of their usual freelance work, which Brock seemingly obtains. After Peter exposes Brock as having doctored his photo from one of Peter's own, Jameson immediately fires him and has the newspaper print their first retraction in 20 years. During a subsequent fight between Brock (now bound to a symbiote as Venom) and the Sandman against Spider-Man and the New Goblin, Jameson, unable to locate Parker, reluctantly buys a camera from a little girl in the surrounding crowd for one hundred dollars. After Jameson attempts to take a photograph of the battle, he finds that the camera contains no film, which the smiling little girl says will cost "extra", infuriating Jameson.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
In a different reality, Jameson is the executive reporter of the sensationalist news website TheDailyBugle.net. In 2024, Jameson is provided a doctored video exposing Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker by an anonymous former working associate of Mysterio, prompting him to broadcast it to the entire world. He frames Parker for the attack on London, claiming Mysterio as a hero, and Spider-Man as a murderer; a later broadcast of Jameson's is seen by a universe-displaced Venom and Eddie Brock.
In other media
- After the success of Raimi's first film, a CGI animated series/spin-off was released in 2003, featuring Keith Carradine as J. Jonah Jameson. This series served as a loose alternate continuation to the first Spider-Man film and was considerably darker, grittier, adult-oriented and mature in tone and direction, compared to other Spider-Man adaptations. It received a generally positive reception from critics and audiences.
- J. K. Simmons reprises his role as J. Jonah Jameson in the The Simpsons episode "Moe'N'a Lisa" and the Family Guy crossover episode "The Simpsons Guy", also voicing a parody of the character named JJ Gruff in "3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a Marriage".
- J.K. Simmons has also voiced the character in numerous Marvel-related media outside his incarnations featured in the live action films:
- Simmons portrayed Jameson vocally in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the episode "Along Came a Spider", where he was depicted as writing slander on costumed vigilantes, particularly antagonizing Spider-Man on a regular basis, and incriminating Captain America for allegedly collaborating with the Skrulls during the events of the Secret Invasion
- Simmons reprised his role as Jameson in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, first appearing in the episode "Great Power". He never physically appears over the duration of the series, but is prominently displayed on every television and screen throughout New York City voicing his distaste for the hero.
- J. Jonah Jameson appears in a level exclusive to the Xbox version of the Spider-Man tie-in game, voiced by Jay Gordon.
- J. Jonah Jameson appears in the Spider-Man 2 tie-in game, voiced again Jay Gordon in the home console version. While Simmons reprises his role from the film in the PSP version.
- J. Jonah Jameson appears in the Spider-Man 3 tie-in game, with Simmons reprising his role from the film.
- J. Jonah Jameson appears in the six-episode Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) web series TheDailyBugle.net, with J. K. Simmons reprising his role. Following on from the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), the series stars Jameson as he continues reporting on the revelation of Spider-Man's true identity as Peter Parker and the apparent murderer of Mysterio.
Simmons’ performance as J. Jonah Jameson in both live-action and in animation has been universally praised by both audiences and critics.
Far From Home director Jon Watts explained that they approached Simmons "as late as possible" before the film's release to ask him to reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film trilogy, hoping to keep the cameo a surprise for fans. Watts stated that he never considered another actor, saying, "It's gotta be him. Like, if it wasn't him, it wasn't worth doing."
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