After months of waiting, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have unveiled a first look at the upcoming third MCU Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, which shows off Peter Parker contending with a very new problem: the multiverse.
Fans have long anticipated a third Spider-Man film following the climactic finale and end-credits scene of the second, Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which J. Jonah Jameson (wonderfully reprised by J.K. Simmons) revealed Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity to the world. As it turns out, that tabloid scoop sets us up for this next adventure.
The trailer opens with Peter and MJ (Zendaya) lounging on a rooftop, away from everyone, reading through tabloids speculating about his abilities. The moment of quiet seems to be a welcome one for the pair: The sudden burst of publicity seems to have upended Peter’s life as he’s mobbed by reporters, fans, and his classmates.
In desperation, he turns to a friend for help: Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who agrees (over the objections of his mentor Wong (Benedict Wong) to cast a magic spell to make the world forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. As is wont to happen, things go wrong: it looks as though Peter distracts Strange, and they accidentally mess with space time and get sucked into a multiverse. In doing so, Peter comes up against some new-to-him foes: Otto Octavius/Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) and Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), both first seen in Sony’s original Spider-Man films.
Marvel’s been playing with the multiverse concept quite a bit lately: Disney+’s Loki shows off that the universe is full of alternate realities, while Wandavision tees up the forthcoming Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. And we’ve seen another Spider-Man deal with the multiverse as well in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which saw Miles Morales come face to face with a bunch of alternative versions of the character.
The concept is a useful story trick that DC has been using for years now to tie together its huge web of characters, with its CW franchise crossing over its shows and pulling in characters from cinematic counterparts.
This upcoming Spider-Man film is bringing the concept home across franchises, bringing in characters from the other, earlier Spider-Man films starring Tobey MacGuire and Andrew Garfield—there’s been persistent rumors that the two actors might also reprise their roles alongside their villains. This trailer doesn’t show off that, but we do get to see Doc Ock in his full Spider-Man 2 glory. Jamie Foxx’s Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has also been cast in the film, although he doesn’t make an appearance in the trailer.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to hit theaters on December 17th, 2021.