It’s been made abundantly clear over the last several months that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third Spider-Man movie, informally known as Spider-Man 3, is shaping up to be something special, even by superhero movie standards. Now things have kicked up yet another notch, as word has come in that Alfred Molina is reprising Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Doctor Octopus.

Following initial reports the circulated late last month, THR has confirmed that Alfred Molina will return to the role that he first tackled in 2004’s Spider-Man 2. This makes him the second actor from a non-MCU Spider-Man movie to resume playing the same villain, as Jamie Foxx is returning as Electro, who he previously played in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Benedict Cumberbatch is also on board to reprise Doctor Strange.

Depicted much more sympathetically compared to his comic book counterpart (at least at the time), Alfred Molina’s Otto Octavius became mentally joined with his robotic arms in Spider-Man 2 during a public demonstration with his fusion reactor that killed his wife, Rosie. With the inhibitor chip that protected him from the arms’ AI fried, Otto became unstable, and as Doctor Octopus, he stole money to rebuild his reactor, clashing with Spider-Man in the process. In the end though, Otto was able to exert control over the arms, and he sacrificed his life to prevent the nuclear reaction from destroying New York City.

As such, unless there’s a resurrection in store (which, to be fair, is commonplace in superhero stories), it’s possible that Alfred Molina will appear in Spider-Man 3 not as the exact same Doctor Octopus we saw in Spider-Man 2, but a similar version of the same character from either the main MCU reality or another universe. This idea is strengthened by Jamie Foxx having previously said that unlike how his character was depicted in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, his Electro in Spider-Man 3 will not be blue. Let’s also not forget that although J.K. Simmons briefly reprised J. Jonah Jameson last year in Spider-Man: Far From Home, it was the MCU’s Jameson operating The Daily Bugle as a controversial news website, as opposed to the Jameson we saw in the Sam Raimi-helmed Spider-Man movies.

Throw in Doctor Strange’s participation, and one definitely wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that Spider-Man 3 will be a multiversal affair. After all, we’ve known since summer 2019 that the MCU is opening the doors to to other realities through Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but with the Master of the Mystic Arts now teaming up with the Web-Slinger again following their time together in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it definitely appears Spider-Man 3 will get the jump on this kind of action. Of course, it doesn’t have to be just villains jumping in; perhaps Holland’s Spidey teaming up with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Peter Parker is on the horizon.

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Regardless, that’s now two villains who are reportedly slated to appear in Spider-Man 3. With Michael Keaton’s Vulture still alive and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio having possibly faked his death, it wouldn’t be surprised if Spider-Man 3 is also laying the groundwork for the Sinister Six, a supervillain team that’s had cinematic aspirations since the Amazing Spider-Man days. Oh, and on top of all of all that, remember that Spider-Man: Far From Home ended with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker being framed for killing Mysterio and the drone attack on London, as well as having his secret identity outed to the public. Didn’t this kid already have enough to deal with in a threequel?

Spider-Man 3 kicked off principal photography in late October, and it’s set to swing into theaters on December 17, 2021. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on its progress, and browse through our Marvel movies guide to learn what else the MCU has coming to the big screen.

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