Iron Man's Deleted Doctor Octopus Origin Tied Tony Stark to Spider-Man Villain

Spider-Man 2 villain Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) looks to be armed with an Iron Man upgrade in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where the Multiversal menace threatens to tear Peter Parker (Tom Holland) limb from limb. It's a dangerous spell cast by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) that tampers with the stability of space and time, transporting Doc Ock and other sinister supervillains into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2008's Iron Man launched the multi-movie MCU where it's all connected, but a reference to Doc Ock was just out of reach.

An early draft of the Iron Man script revealed Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to be the inventor of mechanical tentacles wielded by a scientist in New York, according to MovieFone trivia. In 2004's Spider-Man 2, nuclear scientist Otto Octavius uses four artificially intelligent arms welded to his spine in a self-sustaining fusion experiment gone awry, corrupting his mind and turning him against protege Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). 

Iron Man ultimately removed the passing reference to the Spider-Man villain, who falls under the umbrella of characters whose screen rights are controlled by Sony Pictures. (As the first film independently produced by Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios, Iron Man made mention of an even bigger universe when S.H.I.E.L.D. super-spy Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) referenced Spider-Man and the X-Men in an alternate post-credits scene.)

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Sony and Marvel wouldn't collaborate until both studios struck a five-film deal bringing a rebooted Spider-Man (Holland) into the MCU in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. After an infamous falling out when the original deal expired in 2019, a new pact guaranteed a Spider-Man 3 and a future Spider-Man appearance in an upcoming Marvel movie. 

The latest look at Spider-Man: No Way Home shows Ock with upgraded arms coated in the "hot rod red" color scheme of the Mark III armor as it appears in Iron Man. But a closer look at new images has some fans theorizing that Ock instead strips the nanotech from the Iron Spider Armor developed by Stark. 

Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Sony and Marvel's Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17.