As the much-anticipated trailer for Hollywood’s biggest movie franchise Spider-Man: No Way Home dropped this week – sending the Twitterverse into overdrive – fans nervously pondered the ominous title.
Are we saying goodbye to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man forever? Will he ever find his way home?
According to Time, its “likely” this is the last time we’ll see Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe “since Sony’s contract to lend the character to Marvel Studios for three solo films is coming to an end”.
“But he’ll go out with a bang: The movie will throw Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man into the multiverse where he will meet characters from previous Spider-Man franchises – specifically the Sony versions starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, respectively.”
Slated to premiere as a cinematic release (not streaming) in December, there’s a lot to look forward to, especially with a near-full “normal” audience capacity as vaccination rates attempt to quash the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be the first time Spider-Man is unmasked and identified as Peter Parker, and the reaction that goes down his high school corridors is a classic.
And by default, it will also be 2021’s biggest Marvel box office release since serving as an epilogue of sorts for Avengers: Endgame, and one of only three blockbusters to make a curtain call.
According to Forbes, Spider-Man: No Way Home “was initially slated for July 16 … where it would have gone toe to toe with both the initially planned MCU movies – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – and the likes of Jurassic World: Dominion and Avatar 2″.
“Cut to now, and both of those are now opening in 2022 along with Thor 4, Doctor Strange 2 and The Batman.”
So Spidey, along with No Time to Die and F9 (Fast & Furious franchise), will be the year’s biggest box office earners, with Forbes estimating No Way Home will push $1 billion in gross earnings.
‘Be careful what you wish for’
Along with the 46 million fans who clicked on the trailer we’ve all been waiting a year to watch, here’s what we now know and what we can’t wait to see unravel.
When Peter Parker can no longer separate his normal life from superhero status after Jake Gyllenhaal’s villainous Mysterio reveals he is Spider-Man, Parker calls on the expertise of Doctor Strange to weave a magic spell and make everything go back to how it was.
Only problem with that is the spell will make the world forget Peter’s secret identity, including those who love him most – his beloved Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon).
He panics. It’s too late.
What just happened? Well, tampering with the stability of space and time is never a good thing, and breaking open a so-called multiverse has brought back a whole lot of evil characters.
We see a green ball rolling along the road – a pumpkin bomb – that’s the Green Goblin’s favourite weapon.
Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus emerges on a highway and says, “Hello, Peter”.
And an explosion outside an apartment block has to be Jamie Foxx’s Electro.
And Sandman, Vulture and Lizard plot appearances will round out the hateful six.
Does Spider-Man survive?
While we have no idea if Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, survives, industry insiders hope Spider-Man can be shared between Sony and MCU into future projects.
Notes the Observer: “[No Way Home] could go in a completely unexpected direction that sets up the next stage of the character’s journey”.
“Disney and Sony’s collaborations have proved extremely fruitful for both sides in a way that could set a precedent for more creative agreements between them.”
It reckons that with MCU’s bigger story arcs, “it’s always possible that there could be more than one version of Spider-Man traipsing across the big screen”.
And spin-off multiverse storylines morphing into other feature films including Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Morbius and a Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse sequel (animation) are already on their way.
As for Tom Holland donning the red and blue tights – and mask– for another web adventure?
He told Collider back in March: “I’ve always said to them if they want me back, I’ll be there in a heartbeat”.
“I’ve loved every minute of being a part of this amazing world. It’s changed my life for the better. I’m so lucky to be here. If they want me back, I’ll be there. If they don’t, I will walk off into the sunset, a very, very happy person. It’s been an amazing journey.”