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The cinematic event of 2021 is almost upon us! That would be the glory of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is just two measly weeks away from our eyeballs. Whether you have tickets for opening night or plan to wait until the hype dies down a little, we decided to spin a helpful web of everything you need to know about Tom Holland's third solo outing as Spider-Man.
So pop open a cold one, sit back, and enjoy the grand implosion of the Marvel Multiverse.
When is it out?
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters everywhere on Friday, Dec. 17 (the same day that Season 2 of The Witcher premieres on Netflix). Like every other blockbuster released over the last year-and-a-half, the film was postponed more than once by the theatrical and box office uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally penciled in for summer 2021, No Way Home was first delayed to Nov. 5, 2021 before Sony Pictures settled on a final date of Dec. 17, 2021. As a result, it'll be right in the middle of that Christmas sweet spot when everyone is on break and free to visit their local movie theater.
Where you can watch it
Sony is committed to the exclusive theatrical model at all costs, which means No Way Home will only be available to watch on the big screen.
"I don't think we'll be in the day-and-date release business," studio CEO Tony Vinciquerra said last December, referring to the hybrid release models adopted by other major studios like Disney and Warner Bros. "I think the economic model for very big budget movies require the windows that are in the flow now and will continue with that. I think every film released will have an individual negotiation with the exhibitors, but look, we think a 30-day window is probably the best. It'll allow us to advertise our marketing over the two windows, theatrical and home entertainment. So we think that's the way to go."
If you're hoping to check out the movie on opening night, you might be out of luck. Early tickets went on sale earlier this week, with sites like Fandango and Atom Tickets reporting major outages and hour-long wait times as excited fans attempted to reserve seats all at once (a phenomenon we haven't seen since the feverish anticipation for Avengers: Endgame over two years ago). Opening night tickets are available on eBay for massive sums of money, so unless you've got an extra $25,000 to blow on a single moviegoing experience, we'd suggest settling for a different day of screenings.
Given this competitive influx of ticket purchases several weeks before the title has even opened, No Way Home could very well be the first movie of the pandemic era to break $100 million domestically in its very first weekend. Moreover, it could be the first tentpole of the COVID era to surpass $1 billion at the global box office. Numbers like that haven't been recorded since the global health crisis first began.
"As arguably the most-anticipated movie of the pandemic era, it should come as no surprise that Spider-Man: No Way Home lit up the virtual ticket booth as passionate fans snapped up their seats at the multiplex and in the process may be making box office history," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, told SYFY WIRE this week. "Notably, it has been almost two years since a movie opened to over $100 million in its opening weekend in North America, so the stage is set for a grand debut for the latest web-slinging extravaganza."
"Spider-Man: No Way Home has long been circled on the calendar as the biggest event movie of the pandemic era thus far. Its pre-sale demand confirms as much, and then some, with intense fan interest rivaling that of pre-COVID mega-events like the Avengers and Star Wars blockbusters," added Shawn Robbins, Chief Analyst for Boxoffice Pro. "With pandemic considerations still in mind, No Way Home is shaping up to be an historic performer for movie theaters that may signal the next wave of theatrical recovery and improving audience comfort going into the new year."
Uniting the multiverse
For months, fans had simply been referring to the movie as Spider-Man 3 since there was no official title yet (a bit confusing since a Spider-Man 3 already exists in the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire continuity). That all changed in February of this year when Sony announced that the title would be Spider-Man: No Way Home — keeping it in line with the "Home" theme of the first two films, Homecoming and Far From Home. Several weeks earlier, Holland had already kicked up a ton of hype with the claim that the project would be "the most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made."
Several casting announcements had already been made at that point, including the news that Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx would be returning as Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2) and Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), respectively. It was also reported that Benedict Cumberbatch would reprise the role of Doctor Stephen Strange, stepping into the mentor role once occupied by the late Tony Stark.
Of course, these newcomers to the latest Spider-Man universe would appear alongside familiar faces like Peter Parker (Holland), MJ (Zendaya), Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), and even an MCU iteration of J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons reprising the role from the Raimi trilogy).
"We're definitely trying be ambitious," returning director Jon Watts said in October. "It's Spider-Man: Endgame."
Watts, who helmed the previous two Spidey films, was in good hands with a screenplay from returning writers, Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers.
Breaking the multiverse
No Way Home picks up in the immediate aftermath of Far From Home, which ended with Peter's secret identity revealed to the entire world (courtesy of Mysterio and Jameson). Now a social pariah and murder suspect, the young hero's life has been turned upside down overnight. He can barely show his face in public and the cops are constantly questioning him about the death of Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). Seeing no other option, Peter seeks out the Sorcerer Supreme and asks for Strange's help in somehow erasing the world's collective memory.
Strange agrees, despite the dire protestations of Wong (Benedict Wong), and starts casting the spell. However, things go horribly wrong once Peter starts making special requests of the magic, asking that certain people — like Aunt May and MJ — be able to remember that he is Spider-Man. And thus, the multiverse starts to crack, allowing adversaries from other universes to come pouring through into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not just Doc Ock and Electro, but also Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans).
All of those baddies appeared at least once in the second trailer that debuted last month after a special fan event in Los Angeles attended by SYFY WIRE. (For our breakdown of that new footage, click here.)
"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 explained in October. "The multiverse was always a part of that because it's such a big part of the storytelling in the comics."
Audiences are already familiar with the concept of a wider multiverse after the events of WandaVision and Loki. The events of WandaVision and No Way Home will directly impact Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (out in May 2022).
Even before the first trailer dropped online in late August and shattered viewership records, fans were throwing all kinds of wild theories against the wall to see what would stick. One rumor that has lingered longer than any other is the assertion that No Way Home will see Holland's Peter Parker teaming up with the Spider-Men previously played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Maguire hasn't commented on the matter, but Holland and Garfield have denied it several times.
Garfield firmly stuck to his guns, even when an alleged picture of him on the No Way Home set leaked online. While there is a very good chance the other Peter Parkers will show up to lend some webbing to patch up the multiversal mess, the actors are bound by strict NDAs. So please, stop asking them! We'll have our answer in just a few weeks.
Another big fan theory is that Charlie Cox will reprise the Netflix role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil and come to the legal defense of the beleaguered Peter. Viewers swore up and down that Murdock's arms were in the first trailer, but Cox tried to put all the chatter to rest when he said: "I can promise you those are not my forearms."
Venom: Let There Be Carnage seemed to imply that Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock/Venom is also part of the mix with a mid-credits scene that saw the duo suddenly transported into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Rumors are fun because many of them are true, and many of them are not true," Feige said. "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."
No Way Home concludes Holland's current Spider-Man contract with Sony and Marvel Studios, but neither filmmaking body is ready to let him go just yet. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sony executive Amy Pascal stated that plans for a brand new trilogy of wall-crawling films are now in the early stages of development. However, insiders close to the matter did clarify that nothing is set in stone yet.
“Maybe it is time for me to move on," Holland said last month. "Maybe what’s best for Spider-Man is that they do a Miles Morales film. I have to take Peter Parker into account as well, because he is an important part of my life. If I’m playing Spider-Man after I’m 30, I’ve done something wrong.”
Sony still has plenty of Marvel goodies coming down the pipeline without the direct involvement of Disney: Morbius (out in January 2022), Into the Spider-Verse 2 (out next fall), a live-action Silk series, a Kraven the Hunter film (starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and a potential Madame Web movie (from Jessica Jones and Defenders director, S.J. Clarkson).