"Nice knowing you, Spider-Man," says Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) before casting the spell that will make the entire world forget Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man. His identity exposed by master of illusions Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in 2019's Far From Home, Spider-Man is framed for murder and branded Public Enemy #1 by DailyBugle.net pundit J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). But this is no illusion: Peter Parker's identity crisis threatens the futures of best friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), causing him to seek out the sorcerer Stephen Strange to cast a dangerous spell so that only a precious few to remember the face beneath Spider-Man's mask.
"That's not how the spell works," Strange says, ruminating over the runes that will make everyone forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man — even his best friends and his beloved Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Interfering with the spell, Spidey asks, "My girlfriend's going to forget everything we've been through? Is she even going to be my girlfriend?"
After saving half the universe together in Avengers: Endgame, Strange modifies the precarious spell: "Everyone in the world's going to forget you're Spider-Man except your girlfriend." Strange warns Peter against tampering and changing the parameters of the spell as it's being cast, but it's too late: Strange loses control of his magic, cracking a rift in the stability of spacetime.
Watch the extended clip from Spider-Man: No Way Home in the player above.
Not only does the botched spell fail to erase the public's knowledge of Peter Parker's secret identity, it unleashes the Multiverse and villainous visitors from other universes seeking revenge on Spider-Man: the Green Goblin (Spider-Man's Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2's Alfred Molina), Sandman (Spider-Man 3's Thomas Haden Church), Lizard (The Amazing Spider-Man's Rhys Ifans), and Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man 2's Jamie Foxx).
"It was always one of the most powerful storytelling tools in the comics," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Collider of the Multiverse, a concept glimpsed in 2016's Doctor Strange and Disney+ series Loki. "One you have to wield carefully because it can get overwhelming. But one that now with, obviously the 60 to 80-year history of the comics, now we have a 20 plus history of the movies and there are enough characters that we can start playing with it that way. And we mentioned it, obviously, as part of Mysterio's ruse in Far From Home."
But now the Multiverse is actually opened, consequences of which will continue when the Master of the Mystic Arts returns in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022.
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17.