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None of us are ready for the multiversal shenanigans to be found in December's Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Earlier this year, actor Tom Holland called his third solo outing as Peter Parker "the most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made." The film's director, Jon Watts, backed up that claim while speaking to Empire for the magazine's December 2021 issue. "We're definitely trying be ambitious," he said. "It's Spider-Man: Endgame."
A rather apt comparison, given that the film — written by the returning duo of Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers — features an epic collision of different universes and characters when Peter asks Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to magically make the world forget that he's secretly New York's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. The spell goes horribly wrong, tearing apart the very fabric of reality and plopping familiar baddies from Spider-Man films across the multiverse (like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Tom Hardy's Venom) into the MCU.
"Everything we do at Marvel is based on a small group of people sitting around a table going, 'Wouldn't it be cool if...?'" Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige also told Empire. "The multiverse was always a part of that because it's such a big part of the storytelling in the comics."
Rumors have persisted that No Way Home will, at long last, feature the formation of the villainous team-up known as the Sinister Six. Such a development would require the return of several other antagonists, but Watts and Feige remain tight-lipped about the prospects of audiences seeing the likes of Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx's Electro (though casting reports seem to confirm his return in some capacity), Thomas Haden Church's Sandman, Rhys Ifans' Lizard, and Paul Giamatti's Rhino (among others). And that's not even mentioning the whispers about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield appearing as previous iterations of Peter Parker.
"I can confirm those are rumors," Watts said.
"Rumors are fun because many of them are true, and many of them are not true," added Feige. "The danger is when you get into the expectations game of wanting people to be excited about the movie they get, and not disappointed about a movie they don't get."
That doesn't mean we shouldn't expect some surprises along the way. While not the usual wellspring of unintended spoilers he is sometimes known to be, Holland did make mention of "one of the coolest scenes I've ever shot."
The sequence in question finds Peter, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and a mystery character (another Spider-Man perhaps?) "sitting around a table, having a conversation about what it's like to be a superhero" Holland said. "It was amazing. The other day we watched the scene, my brother and I, and our jaws were on the floor."
Though we're just two months away from a gigantic new Spider-Man adventure, the entire enterprise nearly fell apart two years ago when the Disney-owned Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures (which owns the screen rights to Spider-Man) had trouble reaching an amicable financial agreement that would allow them to continue their partnership with regards to the live-action Spider-Verse.
When news of the stalemate first broke, Holland apparently drove over to the home of Sony executive Amy Pascal to discuss Peter's potential future outside of the MCU. "[I] sat with her by her pool and we sat there for hours, just chatting and pitching ideas for movies," the actor recalled. "How would we do a film without Marvel? Does Peter Parker fall through a portal and then he's in the Venom world? Or do we do a Kraven the Hunter film?"
Fortunately, a deal between the two parties was reached and Feige remains optimistic an issue like that won't happen again — at least from a Hollywood studio standpoint (there is currently a lawsuit that, if successful, would see Marvel Entertainment lose all of its creative rights to classic heroes like Spider-Man).
"I don't anticipate us going through that emotional rollercoaster or putting the fans through that emotional rollercoaster again," Feige promised.
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters across the multiverse Friday, Dec. 17.