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Sam Raimi reacts to Doc Ock's surprise return in Spider-Man: No Way Home: 'That was beautiful'

By Josh Weiss
Doc Ock Spider-Man: No Way Home

Longtime Spider-Man fans lost their minds last month when Sony and Marvel Studios debuted the first round of footage for No Way Home. Not only did the record-breaking trailer tease a troubled partnership between Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a post-Endgame world, but it also confirmed the return of rogues from the Sam Raimi trilogy.

In addition to a rolling Pumpkin Bomb that seemed to confirm the return of Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, fans also received hard confirmation of Alfred Molina stepping back into the multi-limbed role of Doctor Octopus.

SYFY WIRE was fortunate enough to catch up with Raimi this afternoon and get his exclusive thoughts on getting to see the Spider-Man 2 baddie he introduced show up after all these years.

“That was beautiful," the filmmaker said during a larger conversation about Netflix's Nightbooks. "He looks great, the animation’s great. I’m assuming it’s not puppeted because when we did Doc Ock, we had puppets and animation for his octopus tentacles. But it was smooth and powerful and I loved his costume they kept [from the original]. I think it’s gonna be a great movie."

Molina openly discussed the project in the spring, revealing that he was digitally de-aged for No Way Home. “It was very interesting going back after 17 years to play the same role, given that in the intervening years, I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and ... a slightly dodgy lower back," he admitted.

Sadly, Raimi couldn't divulge any details about next year's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (his first Marvel project since 2007's Spider-Man 3). “They won’t let me say anything," he said. "I guess not...I’m sorry.” By the sound of it, Kevin Feige is keeping spoilers locked away in the eldritch pages of the Darkhold for now. Raimi boarded the magical follow-up in the spring of 2020 after Scott Derrickson decided to part ways with Marvel Studios over creative differences.

Chatting with SYFY WIRE over the summer, Multiverse of Madness screenwriter Michael Waldron — who also serves as head writer and executive producer on Loki — described the upcoming title as "a thrill ride with heart like you’d expect from a Sam Raimi superhero movie. Sam’s a genius and the way he moves the camera is really exciting and he’s not afraid to take chances. I think it’s gonna be a really cool experience for everybody."

While specific plot details for Multiverse of Madness are hard to summon at the moment, it stands to reason that the film is closely tied to the events of No Way Home, which sees Doctor Strange royally messing with fabric of reality just so the world will forget that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are the same person.

Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters everywhere Friday, Dec. 17. The Doctor Strange sequel, on the other hand, is scheduled to portal onto the big screen March 25, 2022.