BY MATT TUCK
It may have taken two decades to do it, but Sony is finally getting its big-screen Sinister Six, and they are why the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer is causing fanboy heads to explode.
Even though Marvel had already announced that Doctor Octopus and Electro would be swinging into No Way Home, what created the most buzz was the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bomb and Willem Dafoe’s unmistakable laugh. It has confirmed months of fan theories that the 2002 Spider-Man actor has a significant role in the movie.
But that’s not all it confirmed.
In just over three minutes, the trailer is packed fuller than a carry-on bag on a Spirit Airlines flight with hints to the rest of the Sinister Six...and maybe even an oft-rumored MCU debut.
WELL PLAYED, KEVIN FEIGE. WELL PLAYED.
After months of speculation and nail biting, Marvel released the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home. For what is sure to be a blockbuster movie, the studio broke the longstanding tradition of teasing major releases with trailers and snippets a year or more prior to the premiere date. In this case, No Way Home is less than four months away from its December 17 U.S. opening weekend.
If the motivation from Marvel Studios was to build anticipation for a movie that hardly needed advertising to be a massive hit, then holding the trailer worked like a Scarlet Witch charm. In a 30-day span with major announcements and trailers at every turn, No Way Home completely stole the spotlight.
THE SIXTH MEMBER (NOT YOU, TOPHER)
The internet erupted with cheers when Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus returned from his watery, Spider-Man 2 grave, and Dafoe only needed to laugh to make the No Way Home trailer legendary. If they weren’t enough to melt the internet, there are four others waiting in the shadows for astute viewers to find.
We know Jamie Foxx is reprising his role as Electro, and the flashes of lightning symbolize his character. Then there are the multiple dust clouds that are unmistakably Sandman. Finally, Peter sees a large figure in a window that is most likely the Lizard unless Marvel pulls a fast one and gives us either the New Goblin or the Spider-Man 3 Venom. Either way, please no.
That leaves one spot open to complete the Sinister Six. Who could it be? The odds-on favorite is Vulture from Homecoming, which would give NWH one villain from each Spider-Man movie minus Far From Home. Technically, FFH is accounted for since the entire plot of No Way Home is a direct result of the previous entry plus Mysterio will be referenced throughout the movie.
The rumor has been that Michael Keaton, like many others in NWH, was secretly cast for the film. That makes the most sense, considering he also appeared as Adrian Tooms in Sony’s Morbius trailer, indicating that Keaton is onboard to stay in the MCU as long as Feige wants him.
Another possibility also comes from Homecoming, namely Scorpion. Remember that after Spider-Man fought off Mac Gargan on the ferry, the future Scorpion vowed revenge and was teased as a potential supervillain when he questioned Tooms in prison. Marvel is known for planning years in advance, and that scene could have been to set up Gargan’s transition into Scorpion.
NOT ANOTHER MEPHISTO THEORY
In a movie stocked with shocking returns, perhaps the greatest of them all is the return of the Mephisto fan theory. This one claims that Doctor Strange, as seen in the trailer, is not the Sorcerer Supreme. Instead, he is Mephisto, Marvel’s homegrown Satan, who is tormenting Spider-Man just for the hell of it.
The theory is primarily based on two things, starting with the plot of the movie, which we still know surprisingly little about. We’ve known for a while that the catalyst for the action is Peter Parker rewriting the past to keep his alter ego a secret. In the comics, this happened on two occasions. The first time was to save dear old, perpetually-dying Aunt May. To postpone her date with the Grim Reaper, Peter and Mary Jane make a deal with Mephisto (what could possibly go wrong?) to erase their marriage from ever happening in the infamous “One More Day” storyline.
Since not enough damage was done before, Peter wants to toy with the timestream again. This time, he consults Doctor Strange rather than Mephisto. In the end, Mary Jane still breaks up with him, so it was all for nothing. From there, we can draw clear connections between the No Way Home trailer and One More Day/One Moment In Time (OMIT, get it?).
On the surface, it would seem Marvel leaned more toward OMIT than OMD judging by the trailer. The footage reveals Peter asking Doctor Strange to reset the timeline, and he playfully hops on board that train because he didn’t have plans anyway. Despite Wong’s warning of dire consequences for meddling with the timeline, the Sorcerer Supreme - the guy whose job is to protect the Multiverse, including the timestream - casts the spell anyway and puts all of New York City’s populous in mortal danger.
What it boils down to is this: either the Sanctum Sanctorum seriously needs more adult supervision (which contradicts Doctor Strange’s years of character development) or that’s Mephisto. Between the two choices, most fans are hoping for the latter.
If it turns out it really was all caused by Doctor Strange being irresponsible and flexing his magic powers, does that mean the plot of Multiverse of Madness will be Scarlet Witch fixing his mistakes?
SO MANY QUESTIONS
Here’s another idea. Maybe none of this is actually happening. Maybe it was all an elaborate illusion by Mysterio in what would go down as the single worst ending in all of Marvel movie history, including Blade 3 and the Bohner joke in WandaVision, which is saying something.
No matter what happens, Marvel has succeeded in creating the most anticipated movie since Endgame, and that was a tall task indeed.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.