Spider-Man: No Way Home will see the return of Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. Revealed in the recent trailer for Marvel's upcoming webhead threequel, the eight-limbed villain is back for the first time since Spider-Man 2.
As the Multiverse splits open in the MCU, past Spider-Man movie villains are pouring into Marvel's universe. However, as many of these past villains are really dead, how are they back? Well, there are two theories.
How are Doc Ock and Green Goblin alive in No Way Home?
One way that both Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and other dead villains could be returning is that they've been picked out of the middle of their respective movies. We've already seen that Alfred Molina is being digitally de-aged in No Way Home. Perhaps other villains, like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, will be de-aged as well.
Another theory is that these versions of the Spidey villains are from alternate universes. In these universes, Doc Ock succeeded in his plan. Green Goblin did get Spider-Man with his glider. The Lizard set off his big reptile gas attack. Electro did whatever he wanted to do! (I didn't watch ASM2, sorry.)
Both of these ways could be decent reasons for dead characters to return. However, many are upset that, if this doesn't end up being the case, some returning characters have had their arcs ruined. For example, many are worried about Doctor Octopus having his Spider-Man 2 arc destroyed.
Why the Doctor Octopus Arc is fine in No Way Home
At the end of Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker reveals his identity to Otto Octavius. Using dialogue that Otto’s wife said during a dinner meet-up, Peter convinces Otto to fight against the will of his robotic arms. Doc Ock sacrifices himself up destroy his city-levelling experiment. He claims “I will not die a monster!”
If No Way Home’s version of Doctor Octopus is a version who already sacrificed himself, that's not great. However, evidence from the trailer suggests that Otto Octavius isn't in control during the next Spidey movie. In Spider-Man 2, Doc Ock’s robotic arms glow red whenever they're in control. When Otto is in control, that harsh red light is turned off.
Every shot we've seen of Doc Ock in No Way Home shows the arms are in control. There's a possibility that one version of Peter Parker – hopefully Tobey – could once again talk the villain down. After all, good boy Otto Octavius is a sweetie we all love to see.