There has been strong speculation in recent months that the third entry in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man saga will include a multi-verse storyline – and the latest piece of casting news has further fueled those rumours.
Alfred Molina, who was first reported to be joining the cast back in December 2020, has now confirmed that he will be reprising his role as Doctor Octopus from 2004’s Spider-Man 2, making his first appearance in the MCU.
It’s the latest piece of exciting news relating to the project, more details of which have been gradually been announced in recent months.
It has also been rumoured that the film will feature appearances from former Spideys Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, although this remains unconfirmed – and indeed Holland has recently hit back against the idea, telling both Esquire and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that neither of the former Spidey stars will feature in this particular blockbuster.
However, one interesting inconsistency is that Holland claims to have read the entire script from beginning to end on The Tonight Show, while in a separate interview with Collider he states the production is “figuring it out as we go”.
Therefore, we can’t rule out the possibility that Holland is attempting to hide some plot secrets, particularly considering his earlier claim of No Way Home being the “most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made” (via Variety).
The first official images from No Way Home have also been released, which see Peter, MJ and Ned exploring a mysterious locale that might just be home to Doctor Strange…
With this upcoming movie being the character’s sixth appearance in the MCU and possibly drawing inspiration from past iterations, now might be a good time to check out our guide on how to watch Spider-Man films in order.
Alternatively, read on for everything we know so far about Spider-Man: No Way Home, part of a slate of upcoming Marvel movies.
Read more: Marvel movies in order
Spider-Man: No Way Home release date
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Spider-Man: No Way Home has been delayed by roughly one month to 17th December 2021, moving from an earlier date in November.
In addition to the chaos that COVID-19 has wreaked on virtually every aspect of modern life, it has also affected the entire Marvel phase four release schedule, meaning this latest target date is subject to change again.
For now, it seems that production is going relatively smoothly, barring a minor knee injury suffered by Tom Holland which required him to take a few days off to rest (via Den of Geek).
We’ll keep this page updated with the latest information on Spider-Man: No Way Home’s release date as it comes in.
What will the next Spider-Man movie be called?
CONFIRMED: After months of speculation, we finally know that the third entry in Tom Holland’s superhero saga will be titled Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The news comes shortly after Holland joined forces with his co-stars Jacob Batalon and Zendaya to release three fake names for the film – Phone Home, Home Wrecker and Home Slice – which succeeded in fooling some fans.
This prank was seemingly part of Sony’s publicity strategy for the much-anticipated project, as it is referenced in this official clip unveiling the true title.
The reveal of Spider-Man: No Way Home has sparked fresh speculation that this movie will see the wallcrawler swinging into a Spider-Verse story, as it suggests he could find himself trapped in an alternate universe.
Prior to this announcement, fans had put forward their own comedy suggestions, which included Home Run, Work From Home and Homesick.
Spider-Man: No Way Home plot theories
As is typical for an MCU movie, plot details are few and far between right now, although there is heavy fan speculation that we could get a live-action Spider-Verse storyline in this third outing.
The return of Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange very much fuelled this fan theory, with the Sorcerer Supreme potentially guiding Peter Parker through the multiverse.
Speaking about how Doctor Octopus would be able to return despite his death in Spider-Man 2, Molina explained that he was told by director Jon Watts, “In this universe, no one really dies” and that his storyline would pick up from his drowning in the East River at the end of the 2004 film – which again hints that a multiverse angle is certainly possible.
Both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire have been associated with this blockbuster sequel too, but they remain unconfirmed at the time of writing and Holland has recently denied their involvement.
Besides, there may not be time for a full Spider-Verse saga when the sequel will also have to resolve the cliffhanger ending of Far from Home, which saw Peter Parker unmasked as Spider-Man in a viral report by conspiracy theorist J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons).
If that wasn’t bad enough, he was also framed as a murderer in doctored footage leaked by the late Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), meaning he could find himself in hot water with law enforcement.
Another possibility for the third film includes the prospect of the Sinister Six (Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, Sandman and Kraven the Hunter) appearing on-screen together, something which has been teased by producer Amy Pascal.
Given that Sony and Marvel’s new deal currently only extends to one more solo movie, it could also be that the film will have to give a reason for Peter leaving the MCU after that. We’re calling multiverse shenanigans again.
Spider-Man: No Way Home cast
While we don’t have a complete cast list just yet, we do know that Tom Holland will be back in the role of Peter Parker, while Zendaya and Jacob Balaton are returning as love interest MJ and best friend Ned respectively.
In addition, Marisa Tomei is a likely candidate to reappear as Parker’s Aunt May, while Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange has been announced for the cast in another mentor role.
But of course, the announcements that have gained the most attention are the return of two Spidey villains from previous films set outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jamie Foxx is confirmed to be returning as Electro (from 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Alfred Molina will reprise his Doctor Octopus role (from 2004’s Spider-Man 2).
This has sparked rumours that Marvel could be looking to crossover their pre-MCU films for a Spider-Verse story, with original Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield widely speculated to also be involved.
As if that weren’t enough, industry pundit Grace Randolph claims that Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone could also return as love interests Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy.
However, in its latest statement on the matter, Sony Pictures said that any potential No Way Home casting is not yet confirmed, so fans should take these reports with a pinch of salt for now.
It’s also been rumoured that JK Simmons will reprise his role as J Jonah Jameson, a role he originally played in Sam Raimi’s original trilogy, before returning for an unforgettable post-credits appearance in 2019’s Far From Home.
Speaking to Collider, the actor said: “There is a distinct chance, there have been discussions, and I’m not going to say anything definitive because I don’t know if I’m allowed to. But yes, I’m very optimistic that I’ll have some more JJJ in my future.”
Will Daredevil appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home?
It has long been rumoured that Charlie Cox’s crime-fighting lawyer Daredevil could finally make the jump from Netflix to the big screen in Spider-Man: No Way Home – but we’re still agonisingly waiting for confirmation.
Back in April 2020, Cox responded to early speculation of his involvement with a firm rebuttal, even suggesting that Marvel could be recasting the role with another actor (via Comic Book).
However, in December 2020, fresh reports emerged that Cox would appear in No Way Home, accompanied by a flurry of all-new rumours that he could be in the running for a Disney Plus appearance.
The topic came up once again in February 2021, when Sony Pictures released a casting call for actors to appear in a courtroom scene in the upcoming blockbuster. Fans wasted no time connecting this to the hopeful return of the MCU’s most prolific practicing lawyer: Matt Murdock.
Again, there’s no official word yet on the return of Daredevil so you would be wise not to get your hopes up too high – although given how enthusiastic the response was on social media, it might be too late for that.
Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer
Fans are understandably keen to feast their eyes on the first footage from Marvel Studios’ latest Spider-Man sequel, but there’s no word yet on when that will officially arrive.
The film is working towards a release date in December, but of course, with the coronavirus pandemic still causing disruption around the world, that is subject to change.
Sony Pictures has said that the film will not be released until such time as cinemas are operating at significant capacity once again, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed.
Assuming that vaccine rollouts are successful and cases of COVID-19 drop substantially over the course of the year, the film could very well make its planned release date.
If it does, expect the first trailer to drop roughly five or six months before, with RadioTimes.com predicting a possible teaser in July 2021 – roughly two years on from the release of Far From Home.
In the meantime, the first official images from the film were released in February 2021, showing Peter, MJ and Ned back investigating a mysterious location – is it something we’ve seen before?
Some fans have speculated that this could be a dilapidated version of Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum as Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to appear here, but that remains unconfirmed at present.
First official look at 'Spider-Man 3' 📸 pic.twitter.com/mXxbkn9DWS— Fandom (@getFANDOM) February 23, 2021
What happened with Sony and Marvel?
Essentially what happened was that after three years of making Spider-Man movies together, Sony and Marvel’s coproduction deal fell apart, with sources suggesting Disney wanted a bigger slice of the profits than Sony were willing to give.
There was a huge fan backlash against the change with many pinning the blame on Sony, and for a while it seemed unlikely that a new deal would be made.
However, a few months later the two studios struck a new deal to create one last solo Spider-Man movie together, and to include Tom Holland’s webbed wonder in at least one more MCU team-up movie. After that, who knows?
“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” said Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige in a statement.
“Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”
“This is terrific,” added Sony exec Amy Pascal. “Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in Far From Home and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.
“This has been a winning partnership for the studios, the franchise and the fans and I’m overjoyed it will continue.”
In a surprise twist, apparently it may have been Holland who saved the partnership, with reports suggesting the deal was “100 percent dead” until the young actor used his influence at Sony and Disney to thaw relations and get people back around the table (via Hollywood Reporter).
Will the next Spider-Man movie star Venom and Morbius?
While Spider-Man is part of the MCU, Sony has already been developing its own franchise of Spidey villains unconnected to that franchise, starting with Tom Hardy’s Venom in 2018 and continuing with Morbius (starring Jared Leto).
Now that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe again, it seems unlikely he’ll meet up with Sony’s antiheroes just yet – though after the new deal concludes, it could be that he’ll then appear.
Will there be a Spider-Man Sinister Six movie?
Rumour has it that long-dead plans for a Sony movie based around the Sinister Six – a loose collection of Spider-Man villains that often includes Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio and Sandman – could be back on the cards.
Sony executive Amy Pascal has hinted that the presence of Vulture, Mysterio and sometime team member Shocker in the recent Spider-Man movies could point towards a team-up in the future.
“These villains we now have in our universe happen to be characters that are in the Sinister Six,” Pascal said. “There may be something that happens with that.”
Previously, Sony had worked on a script with writer-director Drew Goddard to be spun out of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man incarnation, but when that film series was called off the idea was mothballed.
But as recently as last December Pascal had suggested she fancied bringing the idea back to life.
“I’m just waiting for Drew to be ready to direct it,” Pascal told Vanity Fair. “I would do anything with Drew Goddard. I’m just waiting for him to tell me he wants to.”
Spider-Man: No Way Home is scheduled for release in cinemas in December 2021. Find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.