If internet rumours are to be believed, Spider-Man: No Way Home won’t be so much the third film in Tom Holland’s Marvel Cinematic Universe take on the masked wallcrawler, as a veritable smörgåsbord of arachnid-shaped delights from every movie that has hit the box office since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002.
We already knew that villains from the Sony era, such as Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from 2004’s Spider-Man 2, and Jamie Foxx’s Electro from 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, would be turning up in an episode that will play heavily off the saga’s newly introduced multiverse. But if you delve into the geekier corners of the blogosphere, you’ll find suggestions that everyone from Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker mark one) to Willem Dafoe (Green Goblin mark one) will be making an appearance this time out.
This week, the Netflix Daredevil TV show’s Deborah Ann Woll, who played Karen Page, was forced to deny suggestions she had been snapped by a paparazzo alongside Kirsten Dunst (AKA Mary Jane Watson from the Maguire Spidey flicks) supposedly after reshoots for the movie. There have already been heavy hints that Daredevil himself, Charlie Cox, might turn up in the new film.
If Marvel really wants to sear our peepers with major laser stunt casting, why not reach back even further into the past and bring back Ben Affleck as the blind lawyer-cum-superhero? Or maybe Spider-Ham, the pig-nosed, Looney Tunes-style animated wallcrawler from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, could turn up for a cameo? Does anyone have Ed Norton’s number for a reprise of his role as the Hulk, or how about Wesley Snipes as Blade? Who knows how far this multiverse thing really goes, given we’ve just witnessed a Loki variant who’s female on Disney+ and JK Simmons has already turned up as a different version of J Jonah Jameson (the character he also played in the Sam Raimi Sony movies) in Spider-Man: Far from Home?
If the rumours are to be believed, No Way Home is going to be a seriously complex, multilayered 3D jigsaw puzzle of a movie. Marvel has already proven with the recent Avengers films that the studio’s screenwriters are more than capable of pulling together into one movie dozens of interlinking storylines and characters, even entire directorial styles from different episodes. But at least all the disparate ingredients of Infinity War and Endgame were wrenched from the same, central Marvel store cupboard. The Sony movies are an entirely different proposition.
There is also an obvious disconnect here between the idea that the Marvel multiverse is just opening up into several new Sony-tinged strands, and hints from Holland’s co-star Zendaya that the “Home” trilogy could mark the end of the current Spider-Man and his amazing friends as we know them.
“We don’t know if we’re gonna do another one,” the actor (who plays MJ) told E!Online. “Is it just going to be three and done? Like, kind of normally you do three movies, and that’s pretty much it.”
“We were all just absorbing and taking the time to just enjoy the moment,” she added. “Being with each other and being so grateful for that experience.”
This all sounds pretty final, and we know Marvel and Sony (which still controls the rights) have had their differences over profits from the recent movies. It would not be any surprise to see the latter studio withdrawing once again from the arrangement and wrenching the webslinger from the Marvel multiverse just as he’s begun to get used to it. If so, No Way Home had better be one hell of a last Spider-hurrah. Perhaps they had better wheel out Affleck for shock value after all.