Alfred Molina confirms he plays the same version of Doc Ock from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Marvel Studios and Sony's partnership on a new Spider-Man franchise set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a major surprise when it was announced in 2015. Fast-forward a few years and Tom Holland's Spider-Man trilogy is already wrapped filming and has massive expectations. Not only are fans excited to see how it builds on Spider-Man: Far From Home's shocking ending, but there are multiple rumors about actors from past Spider-Man franchises appearing.
These reports started with news of Jamie Foxx playing Electro again after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but fans were surprised to learn later on that Alfred Molina will appear as Doctor Octopus too. Molina played the brilliant scientist and top-tier Spider-Man villain in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 back in 2004. His return sparked questions about how it will happen though. The franchise already brought J.K. Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson, but he is a different take on the character than the Raimi version. Some wondered if Molina's Doc Ock could be a similar situation where Marvel Studios is using a great casting choice of the past to play the MCU's version of the same character.
Alfred Molina's involvement in Spider-Man: No Way Home was not confirmed by Marvel or Sony during production, but the actor is now sharing all the details about his involvement. He confirmed in an interview with Variety that he's playing Doc Ock again in the upcoming MCU Spider-Man movie. But, Molina went a step further and confirmed that the Doc Ock featured in Spider-Man: No Way Home is the same one fans last saw in Spider-Man 2. He said that director Jon Watts told him Doc Ock's story picks up after his presumed death during Spider-Man 2's finale.
This revelation by Molina has multiple ramifications on Spider-Man: No Way Home, the MCU, and even past Spider-Man films. For starters, this all but confirms the expectations that the movie involves the multiverse in some fashion. This seemed likely after Benedict Cumberbatch was announced to return as Doctor Strange. Now we know that the multiverse, time-travel, broken timelines, or something else will bring Spider-Man 2's Doc Ock to cross paths with the MCU's Spider-Man. Assuming that this is done through the multiverse, rumored cast members like Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man, Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, and Charlie Cox's Daredevil seem much more likely to be true.
As exciting as it is to know Molina is playing Doc Ock again nearly two decades later, it is a bit surprising to learn that it will come through retconning Spider-Man 2's ending in some fashion. Not only was Doc Ock believed to be dead, but he had a redemptive conclusion to his story. Otto Octavius sacrificed his life to save Spider-Man and the rest of New York from the fusion core he created. Spider-Man: No Way Home using the same version of Doc Ock means that he survived this moment somehow, but it also risks going against his redemption unless Doc Ock isn't a villain in the movie. In any case, it will be fascinating to see how Spider-Man: No Way Home pulls off Doc Ock's return.