The rumors are confirmed. Alfred Molina, who portrayed Doctor Octopus in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 (2004), will once again play the iconic supervillain in Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man 3 (2021). Based on the information we have, Harry will attempt to speculate the plot of Spider-Man 3. Spoilers for all the Spider-Man movies and potential spoilers for Spider-Man 3 in case the predictions prove to be a little too accurate.
When confirmation that Jamie Foxx is returning as Electro in Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man 3 (2021) came out, fans saw hope for a live-action Spider-Verse (you can read our article about Electro’s return here). Now, these hopes found further justification with the announcement from The Hollywood Reporter that Alfred Molina, who portrayed Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 (2004), will once again bring the iconic supervillain to life in the next Spidey adventure.
Molina portrayed a sympathetic version of Spider-Man’s nemesis in Spider-Man 2, considered by many to be one of the greatest comic book films ever made. In that movie, Doc Ock met his demise after helping Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to disarm the fusion reactor. In the previous article about Electro, I have already speculated that Molina’s Doc Ock may return in a future Spider-Man film to set up the Sinister Six, and that speculation is now confirmed. Aside from Doc Ock, the Sinister Six consists of Vulture played by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Mysterio played by Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Electro played by Foxx, Kraven the Hunter who will debut in his solo film, and Sandman played by Thomas Haden Church from Spider-Man 3 (2007). Four out of the six villains currently exist in the MCU, and it’s only a matter of time before Kraven enters the picture. Marvel Studios could announce that Church will return as Sandman in Spider-Man 3. However, I believe that it is more likely that Mac Gargan, a.k.a. Scorpion, will replace Sandman. We last saw Scorpion in Homecoming but never saw him again since.
Aside from Doc Ock and Electro, confirmed to return for Spider-Man 3, the other members of the Sinister Six could also appear in the movie. While both Vulture and Scorpion are in jail and could break out anytime, Mysterio framed Spider-Man for his “death,” which leads to Spider-Man 3. Even if Mysterio the person is dead, his special effects team can still utilize the Stark Industries Drones from Far From Home to project Mysterio’s illusions and wreak havoc. In Homecoming‘s mid-credit scene, on the other hand, Scorpion pressed Vulture for Spider-Man’s real identity to find Peter Parker and take revenge, to which the latter rejected to protect Parker. With Parker’s secret identity exposed in the mid-credit scene of Far From Home, Scorpion could finally set his plans in motion.
In the comics, the villains went after Parker’s family members after finding out his secret identity, leading to a dark storyline where Parker must face the death of loved ones like Aunt May. In another version of the story, Parker sacrificed himself to protect his family. While the movie version may be lighter in tone, the stakes would nevertheless be high, as key side characters like Zendaya’s MJ, Jacob Batalon’s Ned, Jon Favreau’s Happy, and Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May could all be in danger. The dark and intense plot line could turn Spider-Man 3 into a thrilling and on-the-edge-of-your-seat story where Parker must clear his name and protect his loved ones from harm.
The consequences, unfortunately, may not stop there. In the comics, Ned Leeds, portrayed by Batalon in the MCU, eventually becomes Hobgoblin, Spider-Man’s sworn enemy. Batalon’s version of the character could take a similarly sinister turn in the film and join the villains to hunt his former best friend. Ned’s villainous transformation would be a surprising and powerful twist, as Spider-Man must grapple with the consequences of his actions and the devils he has created.
With Molina and Foxx returning to their respective roles, Spider-Man 3 could become part of an MCU trilogy that opens up the multiverse and explores alternate realities. The upcoming 2021 Disney+ series WandaVision sees Scarlet Witch entering another dimension to enjoy life with Vision. As many have speculated, Scarlet Witch could make a fatal mistake at the end of WandaVision and accidentally open up the multiverse. Spider-Man 3 could show the repercussions of that mistake by introducing Spider-Man characters from other franchises, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) could end the trilogy with Doctor Strange attempting to fix the problems and return the multiverse to normal. The multiverse could be how Doc Ock and Electro enter the MCU, joining the Sinister Six to fight Holland’s Spider-Man.
But Holland’s Spider-Man may not be alone. If Doc Ock and Electro enter the MCU, the chances that Maguire and Garfield’s versions of Spider-Man, who fought the two villains, join the MCU are high. Sony seemingly confirmed plans for Spider-Verse in a leaked video informing fans that “The 3 Spider-Man together […] in the Marvel multiverse, anything can happen.” The two Spider-Man, along with their villains, could enter the MCU during their battles with the villains in their respective movies, resurrecting the villains and retconning the previous Spider-Man films. When all hope seems lost for Holland’s Spider-Man, Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Man can show up, Endgame-style, for an epic showdown that fans have been wanting for years.
Spider-Man 3, as a multiverse movie, could open a brand new chapter for Holland’s Spider-Man while giving satisfying and emotional conclusions to Maguire and Garfield’s versions of the character (both had planned but canceled sequels intended to conclude their stories). On the other hand, it ties to other MCU films like Doctor Strange Into the Multiverse of Madness, as well as future characters like Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror (you can read the article about Kang here). No matter what happens in the film, I believe that Spider-Man 3 will be one of the best MCU entries, and I can’t wait to watch it in 2021.