After months of anticipation following leaked set photos and rumors regarding plot, casting, and other aspects of the production, the first official trailer for Marvel’s long-awaited upcoming film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, has arrived.
The exciting first look at the film shows Tom Holland’s Peter Parker dealing with the aftermath of the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which his identity is revealed. Struggling to cope, he asks Doctor Strange to cast a spell so that everyone forgets that he is Spider-Man. However, as the trailer suggests, things do not go according to plan.
The movie is the third Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has been in the works as early as 2017, when Far From Home, the second movie in the franchise, was released; however, development of the project stalled due to negotiations between Marvel and Sony over the rights to the beloved comic book character. The two companies ultimately reached a compromise in September 2019 that allowed Spiderman to remain in the MCU.
Rumors about the potential plot of the film began to swirl in October 2020, beginning with the news that Benedict Cumberbatch would be reprising his Marvel Cinematic Universe role of Dr. Stephen Strange. Fans were quick to point out that the character’s next appearance after the then-untitled Spider-Man movie would be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Given the potential for multiple universes and, consequently, multiple versions of the same character, fans began to theorize that the new film might tie into Sony’s two live-action Spider-Man franchises. The first was a trilogy directed by Sam Raimi that starred Tobey Maguire in the titular role. The second was a duology featuring Andrew Garfield as the lead.
Speculation intensified in late 2020, when it was revealed that Jamie Foxx would be reprising his role as Electro from Sony’s 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Alfred Molina would be reprising his role as Doctor Octopus from Sony’s 2004 Spider-Man 2. Fans quickly grew convinced that Maguire and Garfield would similarly return, featuring as Spider-Men from other universes alongside Tom Holland’s MCU Spider-Man.
Although it remains unclear whether fans will see all three Spider-Men together on the big screen, Marvel has already paved the way for such coexistence of different versions of the same character—on the small screen.
Throughout 2021, the MCU has released original series on Disney+ that tie into its films. These live-action shows each have fewer than 10 episodes and amount to several hours of screen time. The most recent series, Loki, directly featured or hinted at nearly a dozen versions, or variants, of the titular character in addition to the “main” version played by Tom Hiddleston. Notably, Loki’s finale also confirmed the existence of the MCU multiverse.
While this does not guarantee that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will similarly appear as Spider-Man “variants” in No Way Home, the fact that other cast members and characters from their franchises will be appearing in the film makes it a real and exciting possibility.
Indeed, the trailer gives fans confirmation of the appearance of the multiverse, with flashes of lightning signaling Electro’s return and the actual appearance of Doctor Octopus. The brief clip also hints at the return of Green Goblin, another villain from the Sam Raimi trilogy.
However, Marvel fans wondering what this means for the MCU’s Spider-Man, and the future of the franchise as a whole, will have to wait until the film’s premiere on Dec. 17 to find out.