In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) will square off against villains from the franchise's past -- but not against ones he has seen before. On December 17th, Spider-Man will battle the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man), Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2), Electro (Jamie Foxx, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), and more. The villains are coming from the five Spider-Man theatrical movies released prior to Holland's first, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said during a recent interview that the decision was a pretty simple one.
In those first two franchises, Marvel had relatively little input, with Sony Pictures running pretty much everything. In the current incarnation of the series, Marvel and Sony are co-developing the films, with Holland's Spider-Man being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I think if we've learned anything over the years, and particularly just the deal between Disney and Sony to do these movies together, that almost anything is possible if enough people believe in it and have a passion for it," Feige told ScreenRant. "Kicking off with Peter Parker's identity being revealed at the end of Far From Home immediately set us on a course for things we'd never seen before in a Spider-Man movie. That's the fun of making movies, is to do things people haven't seen before, and in the MCU there are ways that lots of amazing things can happen, and that Dr. Strange would be a good conduit to that."
Ties to the earlier films started with Spider-Man: Far From Home, the 2019 installment in which J.K. Simmons reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson, the tabloid journalist for which Peter works in most versions of the Spider-Man mythology. Jameson had been absent from the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, as well as in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The idea of the multiverse has been a part of superhero storytelling since 1961's "The Flash of Two Worlds" by Garner Fox and Carmine Infantino, but live action had generally steered clear of it until pretty recently. The idea has the feeling of harder science fiction than most superhero stories, and for years it seemed Hollywood didn't believe audiences would buy in. The popuarity of The Flash, which started using the multiverse as a storytelling tool in 2015, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) proved that wrong.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Loki, and What If...?, Marvel's multiverse seems to be more wide open than ever before, and that has some fans expecting to see Garfield's Spider-Man, as well as Tobey Maguire's, share the screen with Holland. Following the commercial success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there's hardly a more commonsense character for Marvel to begin exploring its infinite Earths with.
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Sony and Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: No Way Home is scheduled to open in theaters on December 17.