Anna Blake Patrick
The last we saw of Peter Parker, things weren’t looking good. Blindsided by Mysterio’s last ruse, Peter’s private identity was revealed to the world, and his 17-year-old face was stamped on buildings everywhere as PUBLIC ENEMY #1. No Way Home picks up right where Far From Home left off—not a fantastic start, if you ask me. At this point, you, I, and probably Peter Parker himself are wondering the exact same thing: How can things possibly get any worse?Warning: Spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
Warning: General Marvel spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
Below are my speculations. I’ve broken down the No Way Home trailer (linked at the bottom) into three main observation categories: Villains, Heroes, and Multiverse? There’s a lot more to unpack, but I’ll spare you the most extraneous of my theories.
Let’s start with the villains, shall we? If you’ve diligently followed the Spider-Man comics or films preceding the era of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, then you’re probably familiar with these classic anti-heroes: The Green Goblin from Spider-Man; the infamous Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2; the Sandman from Spider-Man 3; the Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man; and secondary antagonist Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Current Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has seen his own cast of villains in his time, including the Vulture, Mysterio, and even Thanos. But the No Way Home trailer confirms what Spidey fans have been theorizing about ever since the end of Far From Home: the old Spider-verse villains are back, and Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will have to face them all for the very first time. Further, there is speculation that this could be the Sinister Six team-up era that fans have been anticipating since 2013. Yet who is the sixth villain? And does the causation of this team-up have anything to do with the public revelation of Spider-Man’s identity at the end of Far From Home? (Thanks, Mysterio.)
Even more stirring than the comeback of a handful of old villains is the possible return of the original Spider-Men themselves: Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. It’s been seven years since Garfield’s last film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and a whopping fourteen years since Maguire’s Spider-Man 3. It’s clear that Tom Holland will continue as Peter Parker in No Way Home—but will he be the only Peter Parker in this post-Avengers New York City? From promo photos to suspicious hints in the trailer, I’m not ruling anything out… This is Marvel, after all.
I have some other questions. In Phase 4, Marvel has taken a whole new angle on Stan Lee’s comics, with a primary focus on the expansion of the Multiverse. Just think about Wanda’s (slightly) maladaptive processing of grief in WandaVision (which is now dangerously close to becoming one year old) and Loki’s meddling with timelines in Loki after he reunited with his beloved Tesseract in Endgame (which initiated the only series that had a prayer of helping me recover from the first ten minutes of Avengers: Infinity War).
I think it’s likely that the Multiverse is going to play a critical role in No Way Home. From the trailer, it’s clear that Dr. Strange may be a primary character in the film—and if anything, Dr. Strange represents the security of the Time Stone, and is therefore what I’d consider a guardian of the Multiverse. (Or a sorcerer, in the words of Sam Wilson, because “a sorcerer is a wizard without a hat”—and Dr. Strange doesn’t have a hat.) So what’s his purpose? Will he reset the timeline to preserve Spider-Man’s private identity? Or does he have something to do with the return of the age-old villains? Or—bear with me here—is it his turn to become the father figure in Peter’s life that Tony Stark once was? I guess we’ll just have to find out.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now. Don’t forget to stick around for the post-credits scenes! (And Zendaya is in it, so if that’s not enough to convince you, I won’t waste my time.)