Marvel films almost always wrapped up in crazy levels of secrecy, with fake scripts, closed sets, etc. But no matter how many security measures you put in place, there will always be one major risk: People. Inevitably, somebody will feel inclined to spill the beans on some big secret, and this weekend past, that person was Alfred Molina.
For a while now, we’ve heard unofficial reports that Molina would be reprising his role as Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus from director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 in Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home. Since Spider-Man 2 was entirely different franchise, this was just one of many reports which implied that No Way Home would see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man somehow travel out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and into the multiverse to interact with former on-screen versions of Spider-Man and their co-stars. Marvel, typically, has been super silent on all of this, but during an interview with Variety about the Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman, Molina was shockingly forthcoming about his role in No Way Home, confirming the long-standing rumours of his return as Doc Ock.
When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret. But, you know, it’s all over the internet. I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!
Molina even revealed that his appearance in No Way Out will pick right up from the “that moment” in Spider-Man 2 where, through his own doing, Doc Ock sacrifices himself under the sinking debris of his reactor, slowly falling deeper into the East River. When Molina pointed out to No Way Home director Jon Watts the small complication of this being when he died, the filmmaker allegedly replied that “In this universe, no one really dies.”
We still don’t know the exact mechanics of how the multiverse will be introduced in No Way Home (given the events of Avengers: Endgame though, time travel and divergent timelines is the likeliest answer), but Molina was less concerned about that than he was the fact that it’s been 17 years since the release of Spider-Man 2. As the actor pointed out, “I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and a slightly a slightly dodgy lower back.”
Luckily for Molina though, it appears that Marvel will be employing the digital de-aging tech that the studio has become the de facto masters on as of late, having used it to de-age both Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson to astonishing effect. But that just covered Molina’s face. What about his actual actions though? Molina pointed to Robert De Niro in The Irishman as an example of how the tech may have advanced, but it still had limitations.
They made Robert De Niro’s face younger, but when he was fighting, he looked like an older guy. looked like an old guy! That’s what worried me about doing it again… I don’t have the same physicality that I had 17 years ago. That’s just a fact.
Of course, Doctor Octopus has one advantage (or is that four advantages) over De Niro’s Frank Sheeran: “I then remembered that it’s the tentacles that do all the work!”
My basic physical move as Doc Ock, as the actor, is just this… [glares intensely and makes a menacing noise]… I just do that a lot, and the arms are doing all the killing and smashing and breaking. I’m just going… [glares again]… with a kind of mean look on my face. It was fantastic.
Along with Molina’s confirmation now, Jamie Foxx also all but confirmed he will be reprising his role as Electro from Amazing Spider-Man 2, while it’s been rumoured that previous Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will both feature in Spider-Man: No Way Home. There have also been rumblings about Willem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst coming back as Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin and Mary Jane Watson respectively from Spider-Man 1. Along with the rumours that Daredevil’s Charlie Cox will be showing up, that’s a whole lot going on. And we haven’t touched on the fact that Far From Home ended with the introduction of JK Simmons as a new version of J. Jonah Jameson (whom he played in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy) who promptly outed the secret identity of Holland’s Peter Parker to the whole world before framing him for the murder of Mysterio and pinning the Elementals’ attack on London on him.
Yeah, Spider-Man: No Way Home is going to have do to a whole lot of swinging and leaping between things when it lands in cinemas on 17 December 2021.
Last Updated: April 18, 2021