Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Spider-Man 3

Will we get a live-action Spider-Verse? Will it cross over with Venom and Morbius? Will Spidey finally face the Sinister Six? We dive into the possibilities.

by | December 10, 2020 | Comments

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming
(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Columbia Pictures)

The third Marvel Studios Spider-Man film almost didn’t happen. In the summer of 2019, arguments between the Walt Disney Company and Sony Pictures Entertainment about the former’s profit participation in the project seemingly stopped development dead. Soon after the companies stopped negotiations, Tom Holland used his clout to get both organization to resume talks.

At least, that’s one version of the story.

However it actually happened, Disney and Sony agreed to produce another Spider-Man film (and to feature the Holland version of the character in a yet-to-be announced Marvel Studios film). And if the last few months are any indication, this third Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man is going to be the biggest film of the webhead’s cinematic career.

So let’s take a look at what we know about the film so far and what it might mean for Peter Parker’s (Holland) future in the MCU, the Spider-Verse, or some combination of the two.

The Returning Cast

Cast of Spider-Man: Far From Home
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Since Holland leveraged his participation in the upcoming adaptation of Sony’s Uncharted video game series to make it happen, he is definitely back as Spider-Man. Joining him, as they have for the previous few films, are Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned, and Marisa Tomei as Peter’s aunt, May Parker. Tony Revolori will also appear as quasi-nemesis Flash Thompson, and we’re going to assume J.K. Simmons will continue on as J. Jonah Jameson following his cameo at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. But his appearance was more of a tease than we ever realized about the next Spider-Man and the return of some familiar faces. More on that in a moment.

Behind the camera, director Jon Watts returns to join a very exclusive club of filmmakers who navigated Marvel machinery to make a full trilogy – currently, Ant-Man series director Peyton Reed and Guardians of the Galaxys James Gunn are scheduled to join him in that fraternity by 2023.

On the script side, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers also return for their third outing with Holland’s Spider-Man, as do producers Amy Pascal and, of course, Kevin Feige, who seems to be using the film as an opportunity to introduce a lot of Spider-Man film history into his Marvel Universe.

The Strange and Familiar Faces

Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)

Although the COVID-19 epidemic slightly delayed the film – it moved from an initial July 2021 release to the end of that year – news started emerging over the summer that suggested it may be the biggest Spider-Man film to date.

It all began on October 1, 2020, when word broke that Jamie Foxx would appear in the the film as Electro, the character he played in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — the film’s whose relative shortcomings led to the studio’s talks with Marvel about placing Peter in the MCU in the first place. Though it was possible Foxx would play a new version of the character more tailored to the Marvel reality, many began to wonder if he was playing the same Electro from that earlier film, giving it a place in the tapestry of the MCU.

A week later, Benedict Cumberbatch joined the cast to reprise his role as Doctor Strange. According to the reports at the time, Strange will serve the same “mentor” role Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sin Spider-Man: Homecoming and Nick Fury/Telos (Samuel L. Jackson) in Far From Home. Considering Peter is currently wanted for the murder of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), holing up at the Sanctum Sanctorum isn’t a bad idea. While we have to wonder how much tutelage Peter still requires in all of this superhero business, maybe Tony just asked Strange to look after the kid in one of his pre-recorded messages.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
(Photo by Jay Maidment/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Of course, it is also possible Strange’s presence in the film has nothing to do with teaching Peter a conventional lesson in heroics. As teased in Avengers: Endgame, the next few phases of the MCU will deal with alternate timelines and multiverses – Doctor Strange’s next starring role is in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after all. Maybe the idea is to get the multiverse storyline going early with old Spider-Man characters.

When asked about the nature of his role, Foxx played coy at first, but then infamously posted – and subsequently deleted – a picture of the three live action Spider-Man actors (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Holland) to his Instagram. It inspired hope that perhaps Holland’s Spidey would meet his colleagues from other realities, echoing Sony’s Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

Then, in December, a flood of info seemed to confirm this notion. Alfred Molina was spotted on set, and the trades subsequently reported he was reprising his Spider-Man 2 role of Doctor Octopus. Just a few short hours later, a report from Collider indicated Kirsten Dunst was in talks to reprise Mary Jane Watson from the first Spider-Man film series, with The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield also planning to join the film. Original Spidey Tobey Maguire and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy in the ASM series) was also said to be circling the project; Stone’s pregnancy may prevent her from appearing, while Maguire may only need the right deal to make this meeting of the cinematic Spider-Men a dream come true. Aside from Molina’s casting, none of the others has been confirmed, so we’ll have to wait and see how that all shakes out.

At this time, it is unknown if the previous Aunt May actors, Rosemary Harris and Sally Field, have also been approached, but other recent rumors indicate Charlie Cox will play Matt Murdoch from Netflix’s Daredevil series — apparently to represent Spider-Man in court.

While all of these actors represent a huge cast, particularly for a Spider-Man film, it also suggests a Spider-Man 3 looking more across the gulf to Sony than a story about Peter’s place in the MCU. Which may not be a bad plan, all things considered.

Into the Spider-Verse?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)

The wildly successful Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already established all the fictional architecture required to either transfer Holland’s Spider-Man into Sony’s film universe – a narrative setting it tried to dub the “Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters” late last spring – or bring the Spider-Verse into the MCU. The various realities are all true, after all; even the reality where Spider-Man 2099 is played by Oscar Isaac. Some are already referring to Spider-Man 3 as a live-action retelling of the animated film’s story with MCU pieces bolted on, and some even hope it means a live-action debut for Miles Morales.

Sony, as it happens, was ready to walk away from the MCU in 2019 thanks to the success of its incipient Spider-Verse. The animated film walked away with a Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards and a lasting legacy. The studio’s 2018 film Venom, meanwhile, proved they could launch a successful Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man. That confidence led to some of the disagreements when Disney wanted a larger cut of Spider-Man 3, and it emboldened Sony to finally move ahead with Spider-related projects they wanted to produce since The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

That film was supposed to lead directly in to a Sinister Six movie in which the most dastardly foes of Spider-Man teamed up against him. The tepid box office and critical response to ASM2 put a hard stop those plans and led to a rebooted Peter Parker’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War and subsequent Marvel releases. Nevertheless, Sony continued to develop Venom, Into the Spider-Verse, and a movie centering on Black Cat and Silver Sable.

As it stands, Sony is currently developing films centering on Madame Web, Black Cat and Silver Sable as separate projects, Silk, and Spider-Woman, the latter with Olivia Wilde slated to direct. It also has two completed films ready for release — Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Morbius — that were both expected to bow in 2020 but were delayed thanks to the pandemic.

(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Morbius also raised eyebrows with a trailer released in late 2019 that referenced Peter’s current problems in the MCU; that is to say, various shots offered glimpses of posters referring to Spider-Man as a murderer. Making Morbius’s place in the Spider-Verse murkier was the surprise appearance of Micheal Keaton, presumably playing Adrian Toomes from Homecoming and offering Micheal Morbius (Jared Leto) a piece of the action. It left fans wondering whether Spider-Man was finally going to fight the Sinister Six or the group was coming to him to fight on MCU turf.

At this point, with Molina’s Doc Ock and Foxx’s Electro, Spider-Man 3 already features two members of the six – three if Keaton shows up as Toomes, A.K.A. Vulture – and sourcing them from the previous Spider-Man film series has a certain appeal. But whether or not that means Marvel Studios has a stake in Sony’s storyline remains to be seen. There are certain advantages to keeping the MCU and the Spider-Verse close, particularly if the relationship between Sony and Disney warms up. But as with Spider-Man 3‘s apparent cast list, the potential universe-hopping plot leaves many breathlessly anticipating its release.

The Release Date

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming
(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Columbia Pictures)

Currently, Spider-Man 3 is set for release on December 21st, 2021. This date could change, of course, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter things on a daily basis. And just for reference, Morbius’s current release date is March 19, while Venom: Let There Be Carnage is due on June 25.

Thumbnail images by ©Columbia Pictures, Jay Maidment/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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