Back in December news broke that Alfred Molina would appear as cephalo-villain Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, in the forthcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home. The British actor not only confirmed his appearance in a recent chat with Variety (one ostensibly to hype Promising Young Woman, in which he has a small role) but he went a bit off-script in detailing some plot points. Self-describing himself as “the worst kept secret in Hollywood!” he then all but supplied his own ink.
Molina’s Doc Ock was the antagonist of Tobey Maguire‘s Peter Parker in Sam Raimi‘s 2002 film Spider-Man 2, and died at the end. When he pointed this out to director Jon Watts, he was told “in this universe, no one really dies.”
Hardcore Marvel-heads must immediately adjourn to their message boards and adjudicate what Watts means by “this universe.” After all, the Raimi films exist before the contemporary entertainment juggernaut known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then again, J.K. Simmons did reprise the role of J. Jonah Jameson at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, though perhaps a bit more Alex Jones in this version. Jamie Foxx is returning as Electro, who was a villain in the second of the two Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films. There have also been rumors that Maguire and Garfield will both appear during some kind of cross-universe climax, but Marvel’s Kevin Feige has been cagey about this, and Tom Holland, today’s Spider-Man, has denied it.
Anyway, according to loose-lipped Molina, the new movie will begin moments after Doc Ock drowned in New York’s East River in Spider-Man 2. Concerned about the 17 years that have passed, (“I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and a slightly a slightly dodgy lower back,” Molina confesses) we can expect more of the de-aging that was done to Robert Downey, Jr. in Captain America: Civil War and Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel.
On the topic of that kind of movie magic, Molina says he was impressed with how Robert De Niro looked in The Irishman, but still says he fought like “an old guy.” This will not be an issue for the upcoming Spidey pictures because “the tentacles do all the work.” Via Zoom Molina then showed Variety‘s Kate Aurthur how all he does is glower before the special effects are added.
In a bit of a twist, Sam Raimi, who one could argue is the inventor of the “modern superhero movie” (again: to the message boards!), is currently finishing up an MCU movie of his own, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Below is a clip of Molina’s Doc Ock in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2; a filmmaking style that hopefully will be reprised.
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