Alfred Molina has officially confirmed he will be reprising his Doctor Octopus role from 2004’s classic Spider-Man 2 in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: No Way Home. In an interview with Variety that will surely bristle Marvel head Kevin Feige, Molina described his involvement as “the worst kept secret in Hollywood” and detailed how his character fits into the new Tom Holland-starring movie.
The veteran actor recalled asking No Way Home director Jon Watts how the film would resurrect Dr. Otto Octavius, who presumably died while stopping his own fusion reactor from destroying New York City back in 2004. According to Molina, Watts said, “In this universe, no one really dies,” and proceeded to reveal his character’s story would pick up from “that moment” in the river.
Molina also expressed his gratitude for being able to return to the role. “It was wonderful,” he said. “It was very interesting going back after 17 years to play the same role, given that in the intervening years, I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet, and a slightly a slightly dodgy lower back.”
He noted that the nearly two-decade gap was a major concern of his, but Watts pointed to the de-aging of Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War and Samuel Jackson in Captain Marvel. Molina later realized “that it’s the tentacles that do all the work,” rendering his worries about not having the same physicality a moot point.
News of Molina’s casting leaked last December, after it was reported Jamie Foxx would be returning as Electro and Benedict Cumberbatch would also be appearing as Doctor Strange. With all these cross-franchise casting announcements, it appears a multi-verse will fully be in play, making anything possible.
Zendaya (MJ) and Jacob Batalon (Ned) will also be returning as the girlfriend and best friend of Holland’s Peter Parker/Spiderman, respectively. There are rumors past Spider-Men Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire are involved as well, though those secrets are at least slightly better kept than Molina’s return.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently scheduled to swing its way into theaters on December 17th, 2021.