Although Sony’s 2002 hit film Spider-Man played a significant role in propelling superhero cinema into the mainstream, the studio’s subsequent releases starring both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield didn’t quite catch on. Finally, after growing to its own dizzying heights, Marvel negotiated to bring Spider-Man into its own cinematic universe, casting Tom Holland as Peter Parker. With two hugely successful films, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sony and Marvel have shown that playing nice can have a huge payoff.

The two studios are on the verge of releasing the third Spider-Man film, which is due out December 17, 2021, and is subtitled No Way Home. In February 2021, star Tom Holland called Spider-Man: No Way Home “the most ambitious stand-alone superhero ever made,” and given everything we’ve heard about it, it’s not surprising. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming film, including rumors about one of the most significant crossover events in the history of the MCU.

Warning: This post contains spoilers about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

‘Not fun’

Speaking with Total Film (via Games Radar), star Tom Holland explained that Spider-Man: No Way Home is going in a new tonal direction from the previous two films. “What people will be really surprised about is that it’s not fun, this film,” he said. “It’s dark and it’s sad, and it’s going to be really affecting. You’re going to see characters that you love go through things that you would never wish for them to go through. And I was just really excited to kind of lean into that side of Peter Parker.”

Teaser trailer

We’ve finally got our first look at Spider-Man: No Way Home! In the first official teaser trailer, we find Peter Parker reeling from Mysterio’s final act in Spider-Man: Far From Home, when he outed Parker as the famed webslinger. With his identity public, Peter and his family are living a whole new nightmare. So, he visits his old friend Dr. Strange, hoping that magic can help him regain his anonymity. But instead, he finds himself on a new journey in the multiverse, where he finds at least one (sort of) familiar foe: Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock.

Magic Spidey

New #SpiderManNoWayHome promotional art confirms that Spider-Man will be using his powers in combination with magic learned from #DoctorStrange!

— Doctor Strange 2 Updates (@DrStrangeUpdate) August 8, 2021

Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege has previously confirmed that Spider-Man: No Way Home would have some connections to 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but some new promotional art makes the bridge even clearer. It sure looks like Peter Parker’s Spidey suit has gotten some magical upgrades from Doctor Strange himself.

Title trolling

In a bit of trolling that’s extremely on-brand for the glut of news and rumors surrounding this film, its stars took to Instagram on February 23 to share official photos and “official” titles of the upcoming film. Except they each had a different title. It was up to writer-director Jon Watts to finally settle the score with the official No Way Home title.

This, we can confirm. #SpiderManNoWayHome only in movie theaters this Christmas.

— Spider-Man: No Way Home (@SpiderManMovie) February 24, 2021

The social media stunt still had its twelve hours of fun. Tom Holland reported the title as Spider-Man: Phone Home.

Co-star Jacob Batalon claimed that it’s Spider-Man: Home Wrecker.

Zendaya, meanwhile, insisted the title was Spider-Man: Home Slice.

Most importantly, each star shared new images from the film, so be sure to scroll through each post.

Only one Spider-Man

While Zendaya has all but confirmed that Alfred Molina is involved in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, the rest of the multiverse theories took a hit during a Tom Holland interview with Esquire. Speaking about previous Spideys Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, Holland said “No, no, they will not be appearing in this film. Unless they have hidden the most massive piece of information from me, which I think is too big of a secret for them to keep from me. But as of yet, no. It’ll be a continuation of the Spider-Man movies that we’ve been making.”

First set footage

The first set footage and photos have hit the internet, with clips of Tom Holland and Zendaya filming a winter scene and a wall dedicated to Mysterio-related propaganda.

New video of Tom Holland and Zendaya filming Marvel Studios’ #SpiderMan3 🚨

(via @DailyMailUK)

— Cosmic Marvel (@cosmic_marvel) January 17, 2021


We’re pulling this up to the top because in what is somehow not surprising yet simultaneously shocking news, The Illuminerdi reports that both Willem Dafoe and Thomas Hayden Church will reprise their roles as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin and Flint Mark/The Sandman in Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man.

That brings the currently reported tally from the Raimi trilogy to Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, Dafoe, and Hayden Church. The Amazing trilogy reportedly stands at Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx.

It’s important to note, however, that star Tom Holland has denied at least the involvement of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.

Production underway

Originally scheduled to begin production in Atlanta in July, the threequel was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. In October 2020, star Tom Holland shared an Instagram Story of himself arriving on set, officially signaling production was underway. He was even nice enough to release a public service announcement from the set:

While there’s plenty of speculation around what Spider-Man: No Way Home will be about, we haven’t gotten a real logline or confirmation of any story details. But in one interview from the set, star Zendaya told Variety her character would be “running from aliens.” To date, the MCU’s Spider-Man movies have been mostly grounded on Earth (with Spidey himself venturing beyond in the Avengers movies). If Mary Jane is running from aliens, this may be the first Spider-Man to expand to the cosmos.

The cast

The casting rumor mill on Spider-Man: No Way Home has been churning nearly constantly. What we definitively know is that Tom Holland will be back as Peter Parker and Zendaya will return as MJ. Likewise, Jacob Batalon has confirmed he’s reprising his role as Peter’s lovable best friend, Ned, and Deadline reports that Tony Revolori will return as Flash Thompson — although Sony has yet to confirm it. It’s also probably safe to assume that Marisa Tomei will be back as Peter’s Aunt May.

As with many MCU films, Spider-Man: No Way Home will feature a superhero team-up. Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his MCU role as Doctor Strange, who will likely assume the role of Peter’s mentor after the passing of Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame.

Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The biggest news, however, is that villains from Sony’s two earlier franchises are joining the MCU. The Hollywood Reporter revealed in October 2020 that Jamie Foxx is reprising his role as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Alfred Molina is also back as Doctor Octopus, who he played in 2004’s Spider-Man 2.

These castings, along with widespread, unconfirmed rumors that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Kirsten Dunst, and Emma Stone may all be in line to reprise their roles from Sony’s earlier Spider-Man films, have driven speculation that the upcoming movie will deal with the multiverse (or possibly the villainous Sinister Six). (Notably, Holland has denied Garfield and Maguire’s involvement.)

Take the rumors with a grain of salt, however, as Sony’s only comment on those latter castings to date is “those rumored castings are not confirmed.” Marvel President Kevin Feige, however, was less cagey when asked to confirm the casting rumors. “The biggest clue is the title of the second Doctor Strange movie, “he said. “That’s the biggest clue of where the Multiverse of Madness is taking us and how we’re exploring that.” That sounds like the multiverse will definitely be at play in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

That hasn’t stopped the rumors from swirling, as even more recently, Charlie Cox has been rumored to be reprising his role as Daredevil from the Netflix series in the upcoming movie.

BREAKING: #Netflix actor #CharlieCox will reportedly reprise his role as #Daredevil in @MarvelStudios' #SpiderMan3! Details:

— MCU – The Direct (@MCU_Direct) December 9, 2020

The release date

The currently untitled project informally known as Spider-Man: No Way Home is scheduled to be released in theaters on December 17, 2021. However, that date has already been moved several times due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the theater industry. The most recent date change was from November 5, 2021, after Black Widow was delayed and Avatar 2 was moved back a year.

Much depends on the global situation by the end of 2021. Sony head Tony Vinciquerra is on record saying the third Spider-Man will only be released in theaters that are “open and operating at significant capacity.”

The plot

Neither Marvel nor Sony have released anything official about the third Spider-Man movie’s plot. But that hasn’t stopped the internet from setting itself on fire with speculation. Tom Holland has, however, told the Inquirer that the upcoming movie is “absolutely insane.”

Comic depiction of the Sinister Six.

Based on the casting news that’s been released, it certainly appears to be heading toward insanity.

The post-credits scene of Far From Home left Peter in a terrifying place: Outed as Spider-Man by Mysterio and J. Jonah Jameson. Given that Mysterio is a master of illusion, it’s entirely possible that he’s still alive, leaving open the possibility of the Sinister Six playing a role in the upcoming movie. Following the casting of Electro and Doc Ock, that rumor has only gained traction.

Still, there’s nothing official, and nobody can say precisely how all of these rumors and confirmed castings will ultimately coalesce.

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