Although Sony’s 2002 hit film Spider-Man played a significant role in propelling superhero cinema into the mainstream, the studio’s subsequent releases starring both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield didn’t quite catch on. Finally, after growing to its own dizzying heights, Marvel negotiated to bring Spider-Man into its own cinematic universe, casting Tom Holland as Peter Parker. With two hugely successful films, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sony and Marvel have shown that playing nice can have a huge payoff.
The two studios are already hard at work on the still-untitled third Spider-Man film, due out December 17, 2021. In February 2021, star Tom Holland called Spider-Man 3 “the most ambitious stand-alone superhero ever made,” and given everything we’ve heard about it, it’s not surprising. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming film, including rumors about one of the most significant crossover events in the history of the MCU.
Warning: This post contains spoilers about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First set footage
The first set footage and photos have hit the internet, with clips of Tom Holland and Zendaya filming a winter scene and a wall dedicated to Mysterio-related propaganda.
New video of Tom Holland and Zendaya filming Marvel Studios’ #SpiderMan3 ????
— cosmic (@cosmic_marvel) January 17, 2021
We’re pulling this up to the top because in what is somehow not surprising yet simultaneously is shocking news, The Illuminerdi reports that both Willem Dafoe and Thomas Hayden Church will reprise their roles as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin and Flint Mark/The Sandman in Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man.
That brings the current reported tally from the Raimi trilogy to Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, Dafoe, and Hayden Church.
The Amazing trilogy reportedly stands at Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx.
Originally scheduled to begin production in Atlanta in July, the threequel was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. In October 2020, star Tom Holland shared an Instagram Story of himself arriving on set, officially signaling production was underway. He was even nice enough to release a public service announcement from the set:
While there’s plenty of speculation around what Spider-Man 3 will be about, we haven’t gotten a real logline or confirmation of any story details. But in one interview from the set, star Zendaya told Variety her character would be “running from aliens.” To date, the MCU’s Spider-Man movies have been mostly grounded on Earth (with Spidey himself venturing beyond in the Avengers movies). If Mary Jane is running from aliens, this may be the first Spider-Man to expand to the cosmos.
The casting rumor mill on Spider-Man 3 has been churning nearly constantly. What we definitively know is that Tom Holland will be back as Peter Parker and Zendaya will return as MJ. Likewise, Jacob Batalon has confirmed he’s reprising his role as Peter’s lovable best friend, Ned, and Deadline reports that Tony Revolori will return as Flash Thompson — although Sony has yet to confirm it. It’s also probably safe to assume that Marisa Tomei will be back as Peter’s Aunt May.
As with many MCU films, Spider-Man 3 will feature a superhero team-up. Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his MCU role as Doctor Strange, who will likely assume the role of Peter’s mentor after the passing of Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame.
The biggest news, however, is that villains from Sony’s two earlier franchises are joining the MCU. The Hollywood Reporter revealed in October 2020 that Jamie Foxx is reprising his role as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Alfred Molina is also back as Doctor Octopus, who he played in 2004’s Spider-Man 2.
These castings, along with widespread, unconfirmed rumors that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Kirsten Dunst, and Emma Stone may all be in line to reprise their roles from Sony’s earlier Spider-Man films, have driven speculation that the upcoming movie will deal with the multiverse (or possibly the villainous Sinister Six).
Take the rumors with a grain of salt, however, as Sony’s only comment on those latter castings to date is “those rumored castings are not confirmed.” Marvel President Kevin Feige, however, was less cagey when asked to confirm the casting rumors. “The biggest clue is the title of the second Doctor Strange movie, “he said. “That’s the biggest clue of where the Multiverse of Madness is taking us and how we’re exploring that.” That sounds like the multiverse will definitely be at play in Spider-Man 3.
That hasn’t stopped the rumors from swirling, as even more recently, Charlie Cox has been rumored to be reprising his role as Daredevil from the Netflix series in the upcoming movie.
— MCU – The Direct (@MCU_Direct) December 9, 2020
The release date
The currently untitled project informally known as Spider-Man 3 is scheduled to be released in theaters on December 17, 2021. However, that date has already been moved several times due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the theater industry. The most recent date change was from November 5, 2021, after Black Widow was delayed and Avatar 2 was moved back a year.
Much depends on the global situation by the end of 2021. Sony head Tony Vinciquerra is on record saying the third Spider-Man will only be released in theaters are “open and operating at significant capacity.”
Neither Marvel nor Sony have released anything official about the third Spider-Man movie’s plot. But that hasn’t stopped the internet from setting itself on fire with speculation. Tom Holland has, however, told the Inquirer that the upcoming movie is “absolutely insane.”
Based on the casting news that’s been released, it certainly appears to be heading toward insanity.
The post-credits scene of Far From Home left Peter in a terrifying place: Outed as Spider-Man by Mysterio and J. Jonah Jameson. Given that Mysterio is a master of illusion, it’s entirely possible that he’s still alive, leaving open the possibility of the Sinister Six playing a role in the upcoming movie. Following the casting of Electro and Doc Ock, that rumor has only gained traction.
Still, there’s nothing official, and nobody can say precisely how all of these rumors and confirmed castings will ultimately coalesce.