After a tumultuous couple of years for the movie industry, one bright light at the end of 2021 is the return of Tom Holland in the next installment of the web-slinging caper, Spider-Man: No Way Home. This third entry into the Spider-Man MCU trilogy comes after the blockbuster hits Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) — the latter having wrapped up Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking place after the historic Avengers: Endgame (2019). It also revealed JK Simmons’s return from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) during a mind-blowing post credits scene.
No Way Home is highly anticipated, not just due to Holland’s return as the geeky, lovable Peter Parker, but for the way it is going to expand the Multiverse and bring back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — actors who played the titular character in the other Spider-Man movies, Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), respectively. The Sony and Marvel team-up — who brokered a deal to share the Spider-Man character rights — will also see the confirmed return of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, Zendaya as MJ, Marisa Tomei as Peter’s Aunt May, Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro and a reported appearance from Tony Stark’s old assistant, Happy Hogan, played by seasoned actor and director Jon Favreau.
If that cast isn’t a Marvel fan’s dream, then the latest reported addition — which came at the end of last year — brings another famous villain back to the big screen, also seemingly suggesting how much the role of the Multiverse will play in No Way Home. You will recall the Academy Award winning animated Miles Morales feature film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), which successfully played with the Multiverse and introduced a variety of Peter Parker/Spider-Man incarnations from across Marvel history. Well, with Jamie Foxx coming back from the world of Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, it only made sense for a villain from Sam Raimi’s trilogy to return too. It’s all about balance, right?
Alfred Molina, who played the infamous fan-favorite villain, Dr. Otto Octavious AKA Doctor Octopus (“Doc Ock”) in Spider-Man 2 (2004) confirmed he will return for Spider-Man: No Way Home last year, but now he has detailed how he will come back to our screens.
What did Molina say?
In a recent interview with Variety, Molina not only confirmed his return but detailed some of the things we are expected to see in the upcoming movie:
“When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret [..] But, you know, it’s all over the internet. I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!”
On reprising an almost two-decade old role, Molina shared:
“It was wonderful […] It was very interesting going back after 17 years to play the same role, given that in the intervening years, I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and a slightly a slightly dodgy lower back.”
Molina also reported that when he asked No Way Home director Jon Watts — who is also attached to direct the highly anticipated MCU Fantastic Four reboot — about how “Doc Ock” could possibly return, he says Watts told him “In this universe, no one really dies.” Watts statement is very interesting considering the big losses the Avengers faced in their final showdown against Josh Brolin’s Thanos. We’re looking at you, Black Widow.
The veteran actor — who has just starred in Emerald Fennell’s award-winning Promising Young Woman (2020) alongside Carey Mulligan — also revealed that Doctor Octopus’ story will pick up directly after he drowns himself in the East River at the end of Sam Raimi’s sophomore Spider-Man film. Molina apparently questioned Watts on this return of an inevitably younger incarnation of the character, with the director going on to suggest they would be using CGI de-aging technology as they did for Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War (2016) — which also saw Tom Holland in his Spider-Man MCU debut — and for Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel (2019).
The news of how Molina will return caused both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Spider-Man 2 to trend online as fans reminisced about their favorite movie and favorite Peter Parker. As the world begins to adjust to Marvel’s Phase 4 — which began with the record-breaking WandaVision and now The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — it would seem that there is no stopping Kevin Feige’s blockbuster behemoth.
With the return of characters from both the Raimi and Webb Spider-Man cycles alongside fan-favorite Tom Holland, it looks like Marvel and Sony are outperforming fan expectations while setting up a significant path into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022). The next Doctor Strange outing will also include Elizabeth Olsen as Avenger Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and see Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong reprise their roles as Christine Palmer and Wong, respectively. If you love Spidey, then this will be the movie event of the year.
Are you excited to see worlds collide in Spider-Man: No Way Home?