Cue that iconic theme tune because Spider-Man is suiting up once again and shouting “go, web, go.”
Director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) was the start of a proposed trilogy starring Tom Holland, that continued with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and will be bookended by the currently untitled sequel. Of course they could always add to the series with more films in the future.
We haven’t seen a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie since Far From Home (due to COVID-19), but with Spider-Man 3 barrelling towards a currently scheduled 17th December 2021 release date, the clock is ticking.
There’s been a recent flurry of casting rumours that have teased the return of alumni from both the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield eras of Spider-Man, alongside the current crop of fan-favourites.
The idea that all three generations of live-action Spider-Man could be united on the silver screen is setting up one of the biggest MCU movies since the franchise started back in 2008.
With this in mind, here’s how one intrepid wall-crawler can blow the doors of the MCU multiverse wide open.
Aside from the return of Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei and the rest, casting rumours have tipped Maguire’s Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson, and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus to reprise their roles from the Sam Raimi era, while Garfield’s own Peter Parker, Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, and Jamie Foxx’s Electro from the Marc Webb years could also return.
Things kicked off with reports that Foxx would be back as The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s blue baddie. It was enough to spark speculation we’d get a live-action multiverse movie in the vein of Sony’s Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
After Spider-Verse climbed to the top of the box office, the writers confirmed they wanted to get Holland, Garfield, and Maguire together in the animated feature. Writer Chris Miller confessed during Comicbook.com’s quarantine watch party that it was pitched, but ultimately, deemed too confusing for fans.
Since then, the idea of seeing the terrific trio together has been one that’s hard to shake.
The MCU’s evolving Phase Four slate crucially means Spider-Man 3 will land ahead of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, with the two being connected.
Tying everything together, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch is casting her own spell over Multiverse Of Madness, while Benedict Cumberbatch is set to take over from Iron Man and Nick Fury as Peter’s mentor in Spider-Man 3.
It’s not just Spider-Man 3 that’s important to the multiverse though. Many expect WandaVision will be the first step in unleashing its untapped potential.
The trippy miniseries is coming out in January and has Olsen reprise her role as Wanda Maximoff alongside Paul Bettany’s Vision.
In the comics, Wanda’s powers saw her bend realities during the acclaimed House Of M arc.
The fact we haven’t met the X-Men yet means WandaVision won’t be a true retelling of the 2005 comic book caper, however, an Easter egg has already hinted that House Of M will be a major influence.
Both WandaVision and Spider-Man 3 can set the scene for the arrival of the X-Men, leading into a full-blown face-off in Multiverse Of Madness and beyond.
Wanda’s multiverse potential can also tie up a few loose ends. Thanks to separate continuity, no one’s ever bothered to explain why we had two versions of Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, in the form of Evan Peters for Fox’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Disney’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Even though Scarlet Witch never officially made it into Fox’s world, Olsen can help bridge the gap between old, new, and newest with an expected whole new cast of X-Men in the MCU.
Let’s remember Hugh Jackman once told The Daily Beast he’d have joined the MCU as Wolverine if the timing had been earlier. We’re not suggesting he continue to play the clawed Canadian for the next era of Charles Xavier’s gifted youngsters, but still, a multiverse cameo would be one for the ages in terms of movies.
Closer to the Spider-Verse, these various multiverse strands mean everyone from Willem Dafoe to Rhys Ifans could come back for more.
Elsewhere, who wouldn’t love to see a tongue-in-cheek cameo from Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, popping up next to Tom Hardy’s decidedly beefier version in Venom: Let There Be Carnage?
Meanwhile Morbius blew everyone’s minds when Michael Keaton’s Vulture appeared in its first trailer and also opened up the idea of a Spider-Verse.
Things are slowly coming into focus, meaning those at the top might as well go ahead and announce Holland will be part of Let There Be Carnage and Morbius.
It’s no coincidence Maguire could be swinging back across the New York City skyline given the fact Raimi is signed on to direct Multiverse Of Madness.
Despite Spider-Man 3’s divisive reception marking the end of the Raimiverse in 2007, we’ve already mused about how Multiverse Of Madness can be Raimi’s unofficial fourth movie of his quadrilogy.
The multiverse lends itself to how seemingly deceased characters like Molina’s Doc Ock and Stone’s Gwen Stacy can return for Watts’ next chapter. Picture the scene where Stone plays the Spider-Gwen version of Stacy from an alternate reality.
All we need now is confirmation Olsen will be appearing in Spider-Man 3. Even if it’s only for a post-credits scene akin to J.K. Simmons’ beloved return as the bolshie J.J Jameson in Far From Home.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige threw some Olsen-inspired fuel onto the fire when he discussed the MCU’s future at the Disney Investor Day presentation and told fans:
“We are really pushing the boundaries of storytelling with this thrilling, scary, mind-bending adventure. Not only will Doctor Strange: In The Multiverse Of Madness connect directly to the events of WandaVision, but it will also connect to the events of our new Spider-Man film coming to theaters December 2021.”
There’s a sense of justice that Spider-Man 3 is the movie that can do it all.
Last year, there was a falling out of Avengers: Endgame-level magnitude when Sony and Disney locked horns over the rights to the Spider-Verse.
Although Peter Parker and his expansive galaxy of rogues could’ve probably survived on their own, any solo Spidey movie wouldn’t have been allowed to mention anything related to the MCU.
From the “blip” to Tony Stark training Peter, it would’ve been a disaster. Similarly, there would’ve been an eight-legged hole in the MCU.
The MCU is facing its very own Big Bang that is already seeing the roster of characters expand at an exponential rate.
Tracing it all back, it’s increasingly likely that WandaVision, Spider-Man 3, and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness will be cornerstones of the multiverse.
Looking further afield, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love And Thunder could feature a multiverse Jane Foster to explain her new role as Mighty Thor, while Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is poised for its own whistle-stop tour of multiple realities.
Now that rifts are mended – and arguably ripped open in terms of the multiverse – Spider-Man 3 is primed to be a defining movie for the MCU and beyond.
We just hope Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Felicity Jones from Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets to come back as Felicia Hardy and realise the potential of a slinky standalone for the sultry Black Cat.
Looking at what Spider-Man 3 can do for the MCU as a whole, it proves that literally anyone can come back at any time.
Place your bets now that the year 2030 will herald the return of Robert Downey Jr. as a multiverse version of Tony Stark. You read it here first!