The stories circulated online but the studio and the trades remained quiet. For a while, it seemed like Marvel Studios wanted this to remain the worst kept secret in Hollywood. Story after story broke, but the silence was deafening from official sources.
Well, now that silence has finally broken as Doctor Octopus himself, Alfred Molina, has spoken openly about his return to the role of Dr. Otto Octavius in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Speaking to Variety about Promising Young Woman, he was inevitably asked about this and it all came out. He was under orders not to talk about it, the whole plan for Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to be a closely guarded secret.
In 2004, in the finale of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, Doctor Octopus was seen sinking into the East River with his deadly fusion reactor. Molina says director Jon Watts has confirmed that this movie will pick up directly from the final shot of Octavius sinking.
Talking about returning to the role 17 years, and quite a few pounds, later, Molina had some concerns over physicality but said Watts dismissed them:
“He [Watts] just looked at me, and said, ‘Did you see what we did to Bob Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson?’”.
Molina was not convinced as he had seen Scorsese’s The Irishman:
“They made Robert De Niro’s face younger [in The Irishman], but when he was fighting, he looked like an older guy. He looked like an old guy! That’s what worried me about doing it again. I don’t have the same physicality that I had 17 years ago. That’s just a fact.
I then remembered that it’s the tentacles that do all the work!. My basic physical move as Doc Ock, as the actor, is just this [glaring]. I just do that a lot, and the arms are doing all the killing and smashing and breaking. I’m just going… with a kind of mean look on my face. It was fantastic.”
J.K. Simmons is back as J. Jonah Jameson, as we saw in the post-credits stinger for Spider-Man: Far From Home. Jamie Foxx returns as Electro. It is rumored that three cinematic Spider-Man actors will all share a scene together.
Spider-Man: No Way Home opens December 17th, 2021.