Spider-Man Star Alfred Molina Opens Up About 'Extraordinary' No Way Home Experience, And Whether Doc Ock Could Return

Doc Ock in Spider-Man No Way Home Scene Clip.
(Image credit: Sony)

Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home, so if you still haven't seen the box office-winning film yet, be forewarned!

If you need a reminder, before Spider-Man: No Way Home, we saw Doctor Otto Octavius sacrifice himself in Spiderman 2 as he plunged his fusion reactor into the river to save New York City. Spider-Man: No Way Home brought back the character of Doc Ock with a new story involving no memory of his great sacrifice. Since Doc Ock got his redemption at the end of the latest Spidey flick, fans have wondered: Will we see this mechanically-armed villain again? To answer your question, Doc Ock’s Alfred Molina shared whether or not we could see his return after Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The redemption arc of Doc Ock was an amazing thing to watch on-screen. We saw a mad scientist lose everything as a result of his latest invention, and later an arc taking him from baddie to ally. After being delivered the cure for gaining control of his mechanical arms in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Alfred Molina spoke to Household Faces with John Ross Bowie, calling the experience with the franchise "extraordinary," but noting he feels there really is no reason to bring back the character of Doc Ock for future Spider-Man movies.

But what makes [Spider-Man: No Way Home] interesting and different from the previous one is that, here we see the full redemption, certainly of Doc-Ock, which makes me think that maybe they may be putting him to bed. Because I don’t think you can be a good person with a moral compass who turns into a villain, and then comes back to being the decent person he was and then [back again]. I don’t think that would happen. But it’s been an extraordinary experience, and one that… I would never sort shortchange it, ’cause it kind of made my career here.

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, we saw the return of villains from previous films that ranged back to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man era, as well as the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, the original Spider-Men, who came back to their web-slinging roots. When Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was thinking about bringing back Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock for Spider-Man: No Way Home, he could not even think about anyone else playing the role other than the man who originated it. 

I feel he made the right choice, as Alfred Molina gave the character of Dr. Octavius a relatable, sentimental quality to him of a scientist who wanted to be a hero for future generations, only for his arrogance and stubbornness to get in the way. He clearly also only has lovely feelings about the experience, even if a return is unlikely.

Just like the character of Dr. Octavius was determined in his dreams, so was the man who played him. British actor Alfred Molina shared during the podcast episode about his yearning for wanting to be a working actor in the United States and his enjoyment of being part of the Spider-Man films.

Ever since I’ve been living in the States, I came here in the very early ’90s, I wanted to live and work in America, I wanted to be part of the industry here… I applied for citizenship as soon as I could. And it’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience to work on these films, it really has. And the fact that there were 17 years between the two iterations always makes me laugh, because I always tell people that must be among the longest options any studio’s ever had on an actor. [laughs] But then I stopped making that joke when I found out that Willem was coming back for the movie as well because his option was even longer. Like 20 years or something.

Many were looking forward to the return of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock. As a fan of the Sam Raimi films, you don't even have to imagine how terrifying it was for Tom Holland to be face-to-face with Doc Ock himself. At the same time, Holland's also said he experienced some funny drawbacks of seeing Molina having no control on the Spidey set and being carried around on a toothpick rig! Sam Raimi was another person who had a reaction to seeing Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock again. As he previously directed Molina in Spider-Man 2, Raimi said it was “beautiful” seeing Doc Ock again in his original costume and watching the advancing technology used to create the mechanical arms. So, it sounds like a lot of people connected to the character's return, even if No Way Home may be the end. 

You can see Doc Ock in Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters or through streaming rentals. While it may be goodbye to Doc Ock, it is certainly not goodbye to the actor, as you can watch plenty of great movies of Alfred Molina's online.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.