Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ Villain Doc Ock Finds New Actor

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Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (2021)

Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

A new challenge for the web-slinger surfaces!

Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (2021)
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Star Addresses New Sam Raimi ‘Spider-Man 4’ Movie

The story of Peter Parker — a young New Yorker who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, leading to his transformation into the legendary superhero Spider-Man, is a universally known tale. At its core, this narrative carries the profound lesson that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Bringing together well-known characters such as Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborne, the Green Goblin, and Doc Ock, the Spider-Man narrative is an iconic tale that has undergone reinterpretation in diverse forms of media, spanning from animated adaptations to live-action films and more.

(right to left) Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire variants of Peter Parker/Spider-Man with Spider-Man logo; Marvel Studios
Credit: Inside the Magic

Over the years, various actors have assumed the iconic Spider-Man role in movies inspired by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics. Tobey Maguire featured in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man, followed by Andrew Garfield in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man.

Tom Holland, introduced into Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Captain America: Civil War (2016), headlined his Spider-Man films starting with Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017. He also appeared in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and the 2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home, alongside Maguire and Garfield — all under the watchful eye of Marvel President Kevin Feige.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker grieving Tony Stark's death
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Spider-Man’s Own Definitive Ranking of the ‘Spider-Man’ Movies

Spider-Man’s Future at Marvel Studios

The future of this character is more diverse than you can possibly imagine.

That is to say, as the character of Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics is particularly well-known for having many Multiversal counterparts (and interacting with them!), there is every indication that the MCU is bringing these “Multiversal Variants” of Spidey into the MCU picture — at least at a certain point.

Miles Morales Spider-Man with live-action Spider-Men in the background
Credit: Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures

Tom Holland’s rendition of Spider-Man within the MCU now finds himself without a sense of belonging, without any family connections or companionship. Due to an error in a spell cast by Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the entirety of the MCU universe has no recollection of Peter Parker’s existence. In effect, this spell has essentially negated the shocking reveal from the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), where J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle (JK Simmons) publicly discloses Spider-Man’s true identity as Peter Parker.

Coming into Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, Feige has planned a huge blowout (literally) of superhero proportions. The Marvel President has also stated that Holland’s Spider-Man and Charlie Cox‘s Daredevil/Matt Murdock is set to lead the “street-level” Avengers team, a lot of work has to be done to bring the character back into the MCU fold.

J.K. Simmons laughing as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man
Credit: Sony Pictures

Not only is the Multiverse expanding, with Alfred Molina’s “Doctor Octopus” Doc Ock/Otto Octavius and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin/Norman Osborn returning in No Way Home seems to only have been the beginning.

Not only is the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) slated to be grandfathered into the MCU, but there are hints that Sony’s Spider-Verse franchise is as well, so far consisting of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) and the yet to be released Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. This is highly likely as MCU live-action characters have shown up in Spider-Verse.

(left to right) Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire variants of Peter Parker/Spider-Man edited with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse background marvel
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

Spider-Man: Freshman Year is an upcoming animated TV series centered on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name. This series marks the twenty-fifth TV series and the third animated one within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Produced by Marvel Studios, it is slated for release on Disney+.

This initial season serves as the twelfth installment in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is scheduled to debut on November 2, 2024.

With all these animated stories and Marvel films coming into being, it’s clear that the MCU is headed for that crazy Secret Wars plan, just as Kevin Feige has planned.

The New Doc Ock

It seems like Marvel Studios has decided that it’s time to recast Doctor Octopus, in a sense.

A new US Copyright Office listing has revealed that the upcoming Spider-Man: Freshman Year will bring in a brand-new Doc Ock Variant into the Multiverse — portrayed by none other than Hannibal, Ella Enchanted, and 2022’s Law and Order reboot star Hugh Dancy.

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal NBC
Credit: NBC

Currently, the role is animated — but as Dancy has a history of doing stellar work in the live-action film side of things, it’s not too far-fetched to imagine the actor taking over from Molina in some ways. Interestingly, live-action Daredevil actor Charlie Cox is lending his voice to the same character in Spider-Man: Freshman Year while also starring in the upcoming live-action Disney+ (Disney Plus) solo show, Daredevil: Born Again.

This is all especially likely as Secret Wars is allegedly set to explode the MCU as we know it, and reboot the entire universe.

All of the different Spider-Man costumes
Credit: Marvel Studios

The cast of Spider-Man: Freshman Year features Hudson Thames as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Eugene Byrd as Lonnie Lincoln, Grace Song as Nico Minoru, Hugh Dancy as Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus, Kari Wahlgren as May Parker, and Zeno Robinson as Harry Osborn. The recurring cast includes Paul F. Tompkins as Bentley Wittman and of course, Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil.

What do you think of Hugh Dancy being cast as the new Doc Ock? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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