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Spider-Man: No Way Home reportedly gains two villains from across the multiverse

Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Far From Home
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

You hear that? That's the crackle of Spider-Man: No Way Home casting news tearing apart the walls of the multiverse, again. A new report from a trusted name in entertainment claims that Alfred Molina's Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin won't be the only returning baddies from previous Spider-Man movies for the last upcoming Marvel movie of 2021.

Empire hasn't published this story online itself, but the folks at Twitter account Everything CBM took photos of the upcoming issue of the magazine, wherein the text reveals the latest drip of casting news. Both Rhys Ifans (who played The Amazing Spider-Man villain The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors) and Thomas Haden Church (who was in Spider-Man 3 as Sandman/Flint Marko) are coming back to this movie.

There's even a tease of Sandman's return in the Empire cover, check out that giant sand-based-fist in the bottom corner.

Replies to that post show other snippets of the article, which only tease the already-rumored possibility of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire reprising the role of Peter Parker in this multiversal throwdown. Both actors have done a fine job of denying their roles in the movies.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home: the slow drip of rumors

The rumors and leaks of surprising Spider-Man: No Way Home cast members have emerged at a pace that seems almost intentional, as if it's the latest game of three-dimensional PR. October 2020 saw The Hollywood Reporter break news that Jamie Foxx was returning as Electro (still unconfirmed).

Two months later in December, we saw Alfred Molina just tell The Hollywood Reporter that he would return as Doc Ock (which the first No Way Home trailer confirmed). That same day, Collider ran with news that Andrew Garfield and Kirsten Dunst were likely to return, while a deal was still trying to be sealed with Tobey Maguire. Emma Stone's involvement depended on her schedule due to her pregnancy.

Tom Holland in the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer

(Image credit: Marvel/Sony/Disney via YouTube)

Then, months of Garfield denying the reports followed. All for the Loki finale on July 14, 2021 to set things off again. Yes, even an unrelated show is acting as hype-man for the new Spider-Man movie, because that finale SPOILER ALERT saw the multiversal timeline shatter, which definitely opens the way for all these old Spider-Man movie characters to return. 

The next date on the timeline is August 23, when the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer revealed that the multiverse may be coming unglued for a second reason: Doctor Strange performing a spell as a favor for Peter, only to have that spell go seriously wrong (Wong warned him).

The last bit of tease before this week was on October 1, when the Venom 2 post credit scene showed another big boom in the sky, and tore down the walls between Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock and Tom Holland's Spider-Man. And here we are, in late October, less than two months before the movie's Dec. 17 release, to learn of two more villains. 

Sorry if we sound a bit conspiratorial here, but this all smells of planned PR. That Sony and Disney Plus are playing a very smart game of keeping eagle-eyed fans engaged to keep headlines going while it only releases one trailer. And, yes, we're playing right into that.

Stay tuned for all the Spider-Man: No Way Home details we find.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.