Multiverse or no multiverse: Spider-Man 3’s biggest question

Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME
Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME /

Fans are convinced Spider-Man 3 will crack the MCU multiverse wide open. But just how good are the odds on this theory, really?

What on which Earth is going on in Spider-Man 3?

That is the question as we gear up for a return to the world of supers in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in 2020 becoming the first year without an MCU movie release since Iron Man 2.

While it provided a probably-needed-but-not-necessarily-wanted reprieve from the genre, fans are chomping at the bit to get back to our heroes, and Marvel has been keeping us well-fed with teasers, trailers, and announcements.

This week, all eyes are once again on the MCU’s final release of the year, as it’s been confirmed that Alfred Molina will return to the Spider-Verse to reprise his role as Otto Octavius, better known as Doc Ock, in Spider-Man 3.

For some, this all but confirms that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will be squaring up against the Sinister Six. But for most, the real question is whether this confirms that Marvel and Sony are indeed bringing the Spider-Verse to live action.

Molina’s return is not the first that’s been revealed, and if certain rumors are to be believed, he won’t be the last.

But does that truly confirm the multiverse theory? Not necessarily.

Reprisal castings

Arguably the best surprise in Spider-Man: Far From Home was the return of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.

The actor originated the role in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and played it so expertly that it’s a bit hard to imagine anyone else playing the character.

But the J. Jonah Jameson we see in FFH isn’t exactly the same one we were introduced to in 2002. This Jameson still runs The Daily Bugle, but in the MCU, rather than being a traditional newspaper, it is a controversial online news outlet, and he’s more of an Alex Jones-type figure.

So, while it’s exciting to have Alfred Molina returning as Doc Ock, along with Jamie Foxx’s Electro – first seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, facing off against Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man – it’s not a guarantee that these villains will be the ones we’ve already met.

It could simply mean that the actors’ first runs at the characters were memorable enough to earn them a reprisal.

That said, it is a little hard to believe that these specific villains played by these specific actors isn’t an intentional set-up, given who else is set to star in Spider-Man 3.

The Strange-ness of it all

Let’s not forget, Benedict Cumberbatch is also set to return as Doctor Stephen Strange.

Given the nature of the MCU, this would be easy to pass off as simply a continuity thread, meant solely to keep our living heroes interacting with each other, if it weren’t for the title of Doctor Strange’s next film.

Set to premiere in March of 2022, we’ve got Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. We don’t know much about the sequel, but we do know that it will explore Doctor Strange’s research with the Time Stone.

While the events of Avengers: Endgame would appear to be reason enough for him to delve further into the abilities of the time stone, having the multiverse actually crack open in Spider-Man 3 would be the more logical set-up.

After all, three Spider-Mans, two MJs, and (potentially) six sinister villains across the dimensions would be hard to ignore. Toss in one Daredevil, and New York is looking at total chaos.

Why else would “multiverse” literally be in the title?

But, at the end of the day, there’s no way to know for sure what’s going to happen in Spider-Man 3 until it comes out. The film is being kept tightly under wraps, to the point that we still don’t even have an official title.

So really, our guess is as good as anyone’s. Only Sony and Marvel know the truth of the Spider-Verse, and they’ve yet to officially comment on any of the latest rumors.

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(Please Marvel…please. Just ONE concrete detail on this movie beyond castings. Please?).