The Marvel Cinematic Universe did something genuinely remarkable with The Infinity Saga, as it's now called. Faced with the challenge of building a franchise without its two most popular character sets, the X-Men and the Spider-Verse, it set about turning B-listers like Iron Man and Captain America into household names. But even though the MCU has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations, Spider-Man remains its biggest draw. That's why fans are hanging onto every fact about the franchise's upcoming project, Spider-Man 3, that they can.
Before the MCU even existed, Sony was the leading production studio in making Marvel films. The release of the original Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire as the titular webslinger in 2002 was arguably the moment the superhero craze of the last two decades took off. (Meanwhile, the failure of 2006's Spider-Man 3 is supposedly what inspired Marvel to start its own studio.)
But even though the MCU has thus far treated current star Tom Holland as *the* canonical Spider-Man, sweeping the older franchises under the rug, fans haven't been so quick to let go. Moreover, the recent rumors about the as-yet-untitled Sony-MCU Spider-Man 3 collaboration point to a film that will tie all three Spider-Man versions to appear on the big screen thus far into one happy family.
However, despite the hype, Holland has insisted the rumors aren't real. Here's what's known so far:
'Spider-Man 3' Teaser
Spider-Man 3 began filming in October of 2020, a delay from the original summer start date due to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there's not much to go on and no trailers or posters as of yet. But fans already have an idea of where the new film is headed, thanks to a Spider-Man 2 DVD/Blu-ray bonus scene.
The extra scene builds on Spider-Man 2's post-credits sequence that revealed one of Spider-Man's most famous nemesis, J. Jonah Jameson. But bringing back the angry newsman devoted to exposing Spider-Man as a conspiracy-spewing YouTuber wasn't why fans got excited. It was the return of actor J.K. Simmons, who played the same character back in Sony's original Maguire-led Spider-Man trilogy.
'Spider-Man 3' Title
At this point, the secondary titles for Holland's run as Spider-Man have a well-established "home" theme: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. With the next film slated to arrive in Christmas 2021, fans have been anxiously awaiting Marvel and Sony's announcement of the full title for Spider-Man 3.
So when Tom Holland posted the first official photo from the set along with a title card, fans went wild... until they looked again and realized Holland was trolling them with Spider-Man: Phone Home, aka the famous phrase from ET: The Extra-Terrestrial.
Holland wasn't the only one who got in on the game. Co-stars Jacob Batalon and Zendaya were quick to post their own troll-titles as well:
Luckily, fans saw the humor straight away and everyone got in on the fun.
And of course, for the WandaVision tie-in:
Thankfully, it wasn't long before the real title was revealed. Sadly it wasn't Spider-Man 3: Snoopy Come Home or Spider-Man 3: Home Is Where The Heart Is.
Instead, it was a far more ominous one:
'Spider-Man 3' Cast
Fans already know the main cast of the current Spider-Man was signed for a potential trilogy of films. Holland will be back as the titular Peter Parker and Zendaya as his love interest MJ Watson. Jacob Batalon has confirmed he'll return as Ned, Parker's BFF. Marisa Tomei will also be back as Aunt May. Moreover, it was confirmed Benedict Cumberbatch would be the crossover character from the MCU to the Spider-Man films in this installment, reprising his role as Doctor Strange.
J.K. Simmons' cameo appearance in the sequel's bonus content signaled Sony was comfortable carrying over actors from previous big-screen versions. But even so, fans were surprised when sources told The Hollywood Reporter Jamie Foxx would return as Electro, a role he played in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the two-film series which starred Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man that fell between Maguire and Holland. And Electro may not be alone in reprising his villain. Alfred Molina will reportedly return as Doc Ock, the villain from Maguire's Spider-Man 2.
But bringing back a character from each of the previous Spider-Man series may only be the tip of the iceberg. Although Marvel and Sony have not confirmed it, multiple reports claim both Maguire and Garfield have signed onto the new Spider-Man 3 film, possibly with Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone as Mary Jane from Maguire's trilogy and Gwen Stacy from the Garfield films, respectively.
But Holland insists these rumors are false. Speaking to Esquire in February, he explained: “They will not be appearing in this film... unless [the producers] have hidden the most massive piece of information from me, which I think is too big of a secret for them to keep from me. But as of yet, no. It’ll be a continuation of the Spider-Man movies that we’ve been making."
(Elite Daily reached out to Marvel and Sony for comment on these reports, but did not hear back.)
'Spider-Man 3' Plot Details
As usual, Marvel and Sony are keeping all details under wraps as best they can. And Holland freely admitted to Esquire his reputation as a spoiler generator means he's gotten false information before:
In [Endgame], Robert Downey Jr.'s funeral scene, for the longest time, I was under the impression that it was a wedding. I'm 100% sure that they're still tricking me.
If the above casting rumors are correct, it would change the direction of the Spider-Man live-action franchise to something far more akin to the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Featuring a young Miles Morales accidentally meeting other Spider-Folk (including an older Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman, and Peter Porker as Spider-Ham), Spider-Verse was a massive box office smash. It even took home an Oscar for Best Animated Film.
Sony and the MCU are probably not planning to follow the cartoon version's plot. Still, it does seem like there are suddenly multiple MCU stories, all of which feature a multiverse fracturing. And even if Holland is correct that the entire Spider-Fam is not going to turn up, that doesn't mean a multiverse isn't on the way.
'Spider-Man 3' Theories
That brings me to the theories of where Spider-Man 3 could be going with all these potential extra Spider-People. The addition of Doctor Strange to the cast is a big tell.
Fans already know Disney+'s WandaVision was initially supposed to function as a lead-in to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. When the pandemic upended the MCU's big-screen release schedule, Doctor Strange 2 moved down the calendar, divorcing it from WandaVision and placing Spider-Man 3 as the final release ahead of the sequel.
WandaVision is still supposedly helping to set up Doctor Strange 2, although it's not clear how. Instead, Spider-Man 3 will have the honors of setting up Doctor Strange. It remains to be seen how much multiverse madness Sony will bring to the table.
'Spider-Man 3' Premiere Date
Speaking of which, with the whole Phase 4 of the MCU sliding down to start in 2021, Spider-Man 3 has shifted along with it from the initially planned summer 2021 release date. Under the current schedule, it is expected to premiere on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2021.
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