You might have thought things couldn’t get bigger or badder for Spider-Man after Infinity War and Endgame. For anyone who’s not up to speed on their Spidey lore, that double-whammy of mega-MCU blockbusters saw Peter Parker blast off to space, get reduced to cosmic dust at the hands of Thanos, and eventually rematerialise to help battle the Mad Titan. But things are about to get even more complicated for Tom Holland’s web-slinging superhero, thrown into all kinds of multiversal madness in Spider-Man: No Way Home this December – with all kinds of adversaries heading his way, his secret identity no longer a secret, and reality-altering magic courtesy of Doctor Strange ready to shatter his world.

Make no mistake – No Way Home is going to be a BIG movie. “We’re definitely trying to be ambitious,” director Jon Watts tells Empire in the upcoming new issue. How ambitious? “It’s ‘Spider-Man: Endgame’,” he says, laughing, but seemingly not joking. Part of that ambition? Bringing across some familiar villains from previous Spider-Man films that, until now, haven’t been a part of Marvel Studio’s interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe – including Alfred Molina’s Otto Octavius (aka Doctor Octopus, aka Doc Ock), who formerly menaced Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker way back in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

“When I was first pitched the idea, I was like, ‘Wow, that would be awesome if we could pull it off’,” says Spidey himself, Tom Holland, of the prospect of bringing in famous former foes. “‘But there’s just no way it’s going to work. You’re just not going to be able to get everyone to do what they need to do. It’s just not going to happen.’ But it did happen. And it’s crazy.”

For Marvel boss Kevin Feige, there was no-one better to bring Doc Ock back to the screen than the man who’d portrayed him perfectly back in 2004. “I remember having discussions with Amy Pascal years ago,” says Feige, looking back on the conversations that first brought the Sony-owned Spider-Man into Disney’s MCU. “‘Do we want to revisit villains we’ve seen before?’ No, let’s do Vulture, and Mysterio, and characters we haven’t brought to the screen before. But I remember thinking, ‘How would you even do Doc Ock again?’, because Alfred Molina is perfect casting. If you ever brought him back, it would have to be him somehow.”

Empire – December 2021 cover

Read Empire’s full Spider-Man: No Way Home cover feature – talking to Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jon Watts, Kevin Feige, and Amy Pascal, and packed with world-exclusive images – in the new issue, on sale Thursday 28 October and available to pre-order now here. No Way Home comes to UK cinemas from 17 December.

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