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So does 'No Way Home' mean we won't see MCU versions of those huge Spider-Man rogues?
There's no doubt No Way Home was awesome, but it also complicates the next phase of the MCU.
The story of Spider-Man: No Way Home was the culmination of three generations of Spider-Man eras, and answered a ton of questions along the way — but it also left us with a few big ones we’re still asking about the next phase of Peter Parker’s journey.
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home**
Though the film was a rollicking adventure all its own, the story also served as a greatest hits compilation of moments, lines, villains — and yes, Spider-Men — from the two previous big screen incarnations of Peter Parker. It was a wild trip down memory lane, giving the MCU’s version of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) a chance to tangle with beloved Spider-Man villains from the past two eras, weaving in all the Spider-Man lore that came before into a web-slinging tapestry of multiverse-busting proportions.
But it also begs the question: With versions of The Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, The Lizard, and Sandman (not to mention Venom, though he was too busy swigging margaritas to join in on the big fight) all jumping over from previous film incarnations, does that mean we’ll never get to see straight-up MCU versions of those characters adapted now?
It was made abundantly clear when Norman Osborn popped up in the MCU that no one had ever heard of him, and Oscorp doesn’t exist in this world. They also get a good chuckle out of Dr. Otto Octavius’ name, and it seems — once again — no one has ever heard of this famed scientist within the continuity of the MCU. The same goes for Electro and Lizard, as Tom Holland’s version of Peter is now well aware of who those characters are and how to take them out (at least when it comes to their alt-universe versions).
Though No Way Home made for an event-sized film that paid off three different versions of Spider-Man stories, it also further muddied the continuity of the MCU and made it a bit … well, awkward when it comes to bringing MCU versions of those characters to life. What happens if a new college-aged Peter heads to school and meets his new roommate Harry Osborn (gulp), or takes a class from Dr. Curtis Connors, or writes a paper on Dr. Otto Octavius? He’s now fully aware of who these people are, which kind of takes the mystery away if the MCU ever opts to adapt those iconic Spider-Man stories.
Not to mention Gwen Stacy — Peter is also now aware that Gwen could’ve been the love of his life in another reality, so what if he meets a Gwen who turns out to be his lab partner down the line? Yeah, he’s bringing a whole lot of baggage and information to that potential relationship.
Of course, you’d have to think that Kevin Feige and the brain trust at Marvel Studios have hashed all that out already. Feige said as much in a recent interview with Film Is Now, noting they made the conscious decision not to rehash previous baddies, as "those had been done before." He rightfully added: "You can't get better than Alfred Molina as Doc Ock. Stepping into those shoes would be very difficult and it wouldn't be fun. If you were ever going to bring Doc Ock back it would have to be Alfred Molina." Which, yeah, fair point there.
Under that mandate the MCU story of Spider-Man has taken different twists and turns than previous tellings, using new villains like Mysterio and The Vulture. Even if the MCU doesn’t do its own version of Doc Ock or Goblin anytime soon, there are still plenty of fresh rogues on the roster like Kraven, Black Cat, or (ahem) the newly-reintroduced Kingpin to consider that can keep Spider-Man in action for a new trilogy and beyond. Plus that post-credit scene with a bit of symbiote left behind implies we'll certainly get a Venom story down the line.
But it’d still be a shame if Holland’s Peter never had a chance to have his own friendship and story with Harry Osborn, mentorship with Dr. Connors, or a potential love story with Gwen Stacy down the line. Whichever direction Marvel and Sony decide to take Spider-Man next, there’s no doubt the events of No Way Home took some avenues off the table and made things a bit more complicated for those next chapters.
That said — getting the opportunity to see the MCU’s Spider-Man play in all those universes in No Way Home? Well worth whatever the cost when it comes to the planning purposes for the next phase of the MCU.