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Alfred Molina will return as Doctor Octopus for new Spider-Man sequel

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Dec 8, 2020, 2:13 PM EST

Another Spider-Man character from the franchise's movie past is set to make a triumphant return in the Marvel Studios era. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Alfred Molina is set to reprise his role Dr. Otto Octavius, aka Dr. Octopus, in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel, setting the stage for a kind of multiversal collision that brings together three different Spidey movie series.

Just a couple of weeks after Molina was rumored to have been spotted on the set of the upcoming sequel — the third Spider-Man solo film starring Tom Holland — THR's sources confirm that the actor is indeed back as Doc Ock, 16 years after he made the character's live-action debut in Spider-Man 2. That means the sequel, which also includes Jamie Foxx returning as Electro, shows even more potential as a kind of crossover film that ties together the various big-screen incarnations of the webslinger and his rogues' gallery thus far. 

Spider-Man 2 premiered in 2004 and remains a deeply beloved film in superhero movie fandom, still considered by many to be not just the best Spider-Man movie ever made, but one of the best superhero movies ever. The Sam Raimi-directed sequel featured a scene-stealing turn by Molina as Octavius, an ultimately tragic villain who helped Tobey Maguire's Spidey rise to new storytelling heights. 

What remains to be seen is just how much impact Molina's role will have on the overall plot of the film, and just how much Marvel Studios is willing to dig into a kind of multigenerational crossover movie. The news comes just two months after Jamie Foxx was confirmed to be returning as Electro, a villain from Andrew Garfield's Amazing Spider-Man duo of films, and Spider-Man: Far From Home already dipped its toe into these waters when it reintroduced J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. That particular bit of casting could have just been a nod to the fans, but now it seems Marvel is going all-in on bringing back old favorites and connecting the movies together.

So, does that mean Maguire and Garfield will also make some kind of return? Are we looking at a multiversal effort here, or just the introduction of new villains who happen to look more or less like the ones we've seen in other versions of the Spider-Man story? After all, J. Jonah Jameson could look the same in two different universes without actually being the same guy, so who's to say that can't also be true for Electro and Doc Ock? However it shakes out, Marvel's up to something big. 

The still-untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel is set to hit theaters Dec. 17, 2021. In addition to Holland in the title role, the film will also include returning Spider-Man co-stars Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, and Marisa Tomei, as well as MCU mainstay Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.

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