The Radio Times logo

New Spider-Man 3 images tease Doctor Strange connection

Just what are Peter, Ned and MJ doing in the Sanctum Santorum?

Published: Wednesday, 24th February 2021 at 2:10 pm

Amidst all the excitement about what the third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie is or isn’t called (personally, we quite liked Home Slice. It’s Pizza time!), it’d be easy to miss some of the real new details announced for the film, which included the debut of three first-look images.


Admittedly, they’re not much to look at – just Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon and Zendaya standing in various rooms – but fans have been quick to notice that there’s more to these pictures than meets the eye. In fact, we’d even say these pictures are a little…. Strange.

To be more specific, they’re a little Doctor Strange, suggesting an upcoming crossover between Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorceror Supreme and the FOS (friends of Spider-Man) in the upcoming Spider-Man 3.

Spider Man sanctum
Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon in the third Marvel Spider-Man movie (Disney)

Look closely at the background on one picture. See those lamps in the background? Well, they bear an uncanny similarity to fittings seen in the Sanctum Santorum occupied by Strange (see below far left), as does the table the lamps are standing on, the tiles on the floor (which can be seen in the original image on Tom Holland's Instagram) and even the sort of woodwork on the walls.

Doctor Strange's Sanctum Santorum (Marvel)

In other words, it seems pretty likely that Spidey and co. are standing in Strange’s home base – but with a twist. By the looks of things the Sanctum has been left open to the elements, snow pouring in and coating the hallway even as our heroes gaze up at its trademark staircase.

Assuming this is the Sanctum, what’s happened here? Was it left abandoned in the years between Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame (remember, Hulk left a hole in the roof), or has some other threat blasted open Strange’s home?

Well, some fans have a theory. For a long time it’s been theorised and rumoured that the third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie would have a multiverse connection, with rumoured roles for Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s former screen wall-crawlers and the return of villains like Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus.

Doctor Strange
A screenshot from Doctor Strange (Marvel)

Meanwhile, we know for sure that Doctor Strange’s next movie – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – will delve into parallel worlds (or ‘the multiverse’) in a big way, following on from the events of WandaVision on Disney+. So who’s to say that Spider-Man 3 isn’t another part of this secret trilogy?

For a long time we’ve heard rumours that Tom Holland will be in Doctor Strange 2, and we know Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff definitely will be. Somehow, we’re betting the next Spider-Man film feeds into what’s next in a big way.

Which leads us to the theory fans have – what if this is the Sanctum Santorum, but not the one we know? What if somehow, in the third Spider-Man film Peter, MJ and Ned find themselves thrown into other worlds – worlds where Peter might try to find Strange for help (remember, they spent a lot of time together in the recent Avengers movies), only to discover a darker alternative reality for his old ally?

Doctor Strange

In other words, what if these photos are from a reality where Doctor Strange has already been destroyed by some great threat – or, in classic Mirrorverse Star Trek style, is actually evil himself (he already has the goatee)? Certainly, someone has to be coming down the stairs that Peter, MJ and Ned are all gazing at.

Of course, this is all rather a lot to draw from a lamp in the background of a photo, but such is the lot of a modern Marvel fan. Given how much everything is connected in the marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s hard not to see even the smallest coincidences as Earth-shattering reveals.

And even if we’re way off the mark with these predictions, it certainly seems like there must be something Strange coming to our Neighbourhood (Spider-Man). Lamps don’t lie.

Spider-Man 3 will be released in December 2021, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to arrive in March 2022. Visit our Sci-Fi hub for all the latest news.


Want to watch something now? Check out our full TV Guide.


Sponsored content