The upcoming Spider-Man sequel is becoming a cornerstone of the MCU, as Alfred Molina is reportedly reprising his role as Doctor Octopus and Charlie Cox’ Daredevil will make his movie debut.
Now that Daredevil’s screen rights have reverted to Marvel Studios, Cox will be able to appear as the Man Without Fear in the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home, alongside Tom Holland. Fans have been clamouring for the hero to be properly introduced to the MCU since his Netflix show premiered in 2015, and again since its cancellation in 2018. Now it appears this has been the plan for a while, as Charles Villanueva reports that Cox has joined the Holland sequel currently in production.
Introducing Daredevil to the silver screen universe should be simple, as Netflix’ five Marvel shows were treated as movie-adjacent, with small easter eggs establishing a connection between show and movie. The biggest obstacle will be establishing how Daredevil fared during “The Snap” and other events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, which moved the MCU timeline ahead five years. There has been no word yet of Cox’ other co-stars, including Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk, another classic foe for Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Molina is reportedly portraying the classic villain from 2004’s Spider-Man 2. His performance helped cement the film’s legacy as one of the most successful superhero movies to date and a measuring stick for its many successors. Yesterday the Hollywood Reporter claimed he will revisit the role for the third MCU Spider-Man film.
The cast for the MCU’s third Spider-Man is beginning to reach Infinity War levels. For starters, Holland is joined by returning co-stars Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, and Tony Revolori from Homecoming and Far From Home. In October, THR broke the news that Jamie Foxx is set to return as Electro, as portrayed in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, like Molina. Rumours have since abounded that Macguire and Andrew Garfield, both previous silver-screen Spider-Men, will return as well.
Last year, J.K. Simmons reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson for a post-credits cameo, another bridge between the first and third Spider-Man series. He is presumably returning in some capacity.
However, one other reported casting may be the key to this sticky web of cross-franchise casting: Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme may serve as the means for all of these reprisals, perhaps through his reality-transcending magic. Both of the MCU’s 2019 films—Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home—toyed with the concept of multiverses and branching timelines, and it seems this follow-up will continue exploring those threads.
Both Molina and Foxx’ villains died on-screen in their last appearances, so how they will be used remains to be seen. These may be smaller cameo-like roles, like Tilda Swinton’s scene in Endgame. Even so, it’s an opportunity for closure for Macguire and Garfield, as their runs as Spidey ended on sour notes. Ironically, both previous franchises were undone by overreaching; cramming too many villains and setting up potential tie-ins are cited as major flaws with their last outings, so hopefully the MCU can juggle all of these balls. If they could make it work for Infinity War, there’s hope yet.
It’s become surprisingly common for Spider-Men of different universes to cross paths in the last decade. Marvel Comics’ 2014 Spider-Verse event, led by Dan Slott, brought together the various comic interpretations of the character, an idea previously explored by Activision’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions in 2010. Sony Pictures brought the concept to the mainstream in 2018 with Into the Spider-Verse, starring Shameik Moore as Miles Morales.
Jeff Sneider of Collider has taken the news of Molina’s casting a step further, claiming that not only will Maguire and Garfield return, but their love interests as well—Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey. However these rumours remain unconfirmed, and both Disney and Sony have made no official comment on any return castings.
Fans will have to wait a year to see this meeting of Spider-Man all-stars unfold, as the yet-untitled “Spider-Man 3” is currently in production and scheduled to hit theatres December 17, 2021. It’s all a far cry from last fall, when it seemed that Marvel and Sony had terminated their deal to feature the webslinger in the MCU.
(And hey, while we’re bringing back Peter Parkers, why not Jake Johnson as down-and-out Peter B. Parker from Into The Spider-Verse?)