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If anticipation about a movie can be gauged by how many fan theories surround it, then Spider-Man: No Way Home may be the most anticipated movie of all time.
The new Marvel Cinematic Universe film will once again focus on Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but this is going to be one majorly tangled web. Theories that the movie would weave in different parts of Spidey's cinematic history from across the years started soon after the sequel was announced. The inclusion of J.K. Simmons as an alternate version of J. Jonah Jameson at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home made it seem like everything was on the table. Soon, Alfred Molina revealed that he would reprise his role of Doc Ock (from Spider-Man 2) in the new movie.
***WARNING: If by some chance you have not been spoiled about anything that may or may not happen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, stop reading now. Reading any further will potentially compromise you.***
It was then confirmed by the first teaser; Molina is back as Doc Ock. Based on the full trailer, Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a botched spell have something to do with it. In a normal world, Marvel fans would take the return of Molina as a win and get ready to buy tickets. This is not a normal world.
Fans don’t just want Molina. To quote Gary Oldman’s character in Léon: The Professional, they want “ev-er-y-one!” They want Tobey Maguire from the first Spider-Man trilogy. They want Andrew Garfield from the two Amazing Spider-Man movies. They want Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, and they want Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. They want every villain there is from all of those movies. They also want Charlie Cox back as Matt Murdock (from the Netflix Daredevil series), as well as Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk (from the same series).
Some of that is now guaranteed. A recent poster for the movie and the final trailer teased Willem Dafoe’s return as Green Goblin, his glider and pumpkin bombs included. We also know that Jamie Foxx's Electro and The Amazing Spider-Man's the Lizard are back in action, along with Spider-Man 3's Sandman, who was played by Thomas Haden Church. With these casting rumors hitting the internet before they ultimately panned out, it seems that Marvel Studios has also sprung something of a giant leak. Many of the things that would normally seem like comic book movie pipe dreams now look like they’re really going to happen. The convergence of multiple Spider-gents is the most hoped for thing of all.
Lists of wild theories from a few months ago have now become lists of things to expect. Wish-lists have almost become outlines. We live in a world where the theory that “all three live-action Peter Parkers will appear in the same movie” is not wild; it’s tame. Here are five of the wildest fan theories we’ve come across for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
1. Mysterio Is Alive and Behind Everything
Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) died at the end of the previous movie, but before he died, he leaked Peter's true identity to the world and also implicated Spidey in his murder. So, as far as we know, Quentin “Mysterio” Beck is dead.
But multiple fan theories believe that Mysterio is not dead at all. Not only is Beck alive, he will turn out to be the one behind everything that happens in the new movie. To believe that every thing that is happening in this sequel is at the hands of Mysterio would require some very intricate leaps in logic, even for a comic book movie. Play this tape all the way out: What's more likely, that a villain from the last movie cheated certain death and put in a long, long con that involves skills he does not have to break down the walls separating our reality from others? Or, did a good-intentioned Peter Parker and Dr. Strange mess up on a spell, tore some holes into other realities, and now have to deal with the crossover potential and fallout?
If the movie pulls a “Guess who’s messing up everything, it’s been Mysterio all along!” then we’ll be surprised… and honestly more than a little let down.
2. Uncle Ben will be played by... Tobey Maguire?!
Holland’s Peter Parker has yet to be saddled on-screen with the usual Spidey backstory beats. Sure, he’s got Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) acted as a surrogate father figure for a while, but Uncle Ben (and what happens to him) has yet to be mentioned in the MCU.
Because of this, we haven’t gotten the line: “With great power comes great responsibility.” If Tobey Maguire does show up, many believe that Holland will hear this famous phrase from him in the guise of Uncle Ben.
Many fans theorize that Maguire will be in the movie as both his version of Spidey and as Holland's Uncle Ben. Through a flashback, magic, or whatever, the expectation is that we will finally see what happened to the MCU's Uncle Ben, with Maguire in the role. That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?
We’d love Holland to mention Uncle Ben, but we’ve seen Peter’s origin a few times now and we don’t necessarily need to see another Uncle Ben get shot down. There’s also the notion of Maguire’s Ben being married to Marisa Tomei’s May, which is... something? Once you picture that it’s gonna stay with you. It is more likely that you will get bit by a radioactive spider than see Tobey Maguire take on two different roles in this movie and risk confusing audiences and distracting them from the drama and action Marvel has prepared this time around.
3. The Animated Miles Morales Will Appear
It’s not wild to imagine some version of Miles Morales making at least a cameo in the new movie, as the character was set up in part thanks to Donald Glover playing Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It is wild, though, to think that the animated version of Miles (voiced by Shamiek Moore) from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will appear, but that's a real fan theory.
Just… how? A movie full of Spider-Men is gonna have animated characters start popping in and suddenly become a 2021 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Part of us wants that to happen, but come on. Only so many Spideys can be crammed into one movie, and having animated characters appear would be truly going over the top. Miles showing up for a cameo could happen, but it would almost certainly be live-action. A movie that already looks this insane doesn’t need to add in characters from an animated movie, even if it is one of the greatest animated movies ever made.
4. Leo Will Show Up As Peter Parker
The first Spider-Man movie went through development hell before Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire made it a blockbuster success. Multiple directors and stars were attached at one point or another, such as James Cameron. He had his sights set on his future Titanic star, Leonardo DiCaprio, to play Peter Parker. That’s a fun little bit of film trivia! Oh, what might have been.
Or, what may still be? That’s right, a particular post on Reddit included a fan-art poster for a non-existent DiCaprio Spider-Man movie, and some fan theories are now truly breaking the multiverse with the thought that DiCaprio will show up as yet another Peter Parker. It bears repeating that DiCaprio has never played the role. If the movie is truly going to jam all three Spideys together, then that will probably be enough. Even though a Miles cameo would make this cinematic cup overfloweth, adding in one of the biggest movie stars in the known world simply because he was attached to a version of the character a billion years ago? Utter lunacy.
5. Michael Keaton Will Cameo As Batman
Just in case you thought DiCaprio was as wild as it gets, here comes the Bat. The Bat? Aw c'mon, gimme a break, will ya? (Reference!)
After some fan art was made that depicted Ezra Miller's Barry Allen running alongside Spider-Man, a random fan theory sprung up that Keaton could appear in this movie as Batman. Yes, Keaton famously played the part twice, beginning in 1989's Batman. He is set to reprise the role for the upcoming DC movie starring Miller's The Flash, but there is next to zero chance he will enter the MCU as the Dark Knight.
Now, this fan theory has since been removed, so maybe it was a joke or maybe the author came to their senses. If Keaton does appear in No Way Home, it will be as Vulture, the character he played in Homecoming. Who is already a part of the MCU. Batman comes from DC Comics, and as the name suggests, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is based on Marvel Comics. There’s just no way. There’s zero percent chance that this happens. The chances of Batman appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home are about the same as the chances of Mickey Rourke appearing as Ivan Vanko in The Batman next year. This fan theory is nothing to get serious about.
Spider-Man: No Way Home will lay waste to your local cinema on December 17th.