Spider-Man 3: No Way Home: Doctor Strange’s Dangerous Spell Mistake Explained

By Pierre Chanliau Posted:
Spider-Man Doctor Strange Peter Parker

After impatience from fans around the world, the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally been released. Confirming what everyone had already assumed after months of leaks and speculation, which is that this threequel will be a multiversal event revolving around Spider-Man.

Not only did fans get their first look at Alfred Molina returning as Doctor Octopus, but clues pointing to other rumored villains set to appear. However, one of the most significant moments in the trailer, which seems to be the inciting incident of the whole film, is Doctor Strange's supposed memory-wiping spell.

The moment Benedict Cumberbatch was announced to return as Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans quickly believed that he would help Peter Parker with his secret identity being revealed, which is exactly what happened in the small tease for Spider-Man: No Way Home.



In the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, not only has Peter Parker's life been ruined but his loved ones' lives as well. Relentlessly interrogated by police, harassed at school, and not given a moment of privacy in their lives.


The teenage hero is at his wit's end, "I've just been thinking about how to fix all of this," which leads him to Doctor Strange, whose Sanctum Sanctorum happens to be in Peter's city of New York. Peter enters it, greeted by the Sorcerer Supreme, "So, Peter...to what do I owe the pleasure?"

After an awkward introduction between the two heroes, Peter asks Strange if he has a spell that could make Mysterio's revelation to the world not have happened. Strange's solution is to cast a spell that will erase the memory of Peter's secret identity from everyone.


Unfortunately, Peter isn't happy that everyone will forget, since that would include MJ, Ned, and Aunt May. Peter attempts to ask Strange to change the parameters of the spell, but Strange says, "That's not how the spell works."

Peter's insistent talking and pestering cause Doctor Strange to lose focus and control of the spell.

spider-man -doctor-strange

It isn't certain, but it seems that it leads to the arrival of multiversal mayhem.


This scenario should be familiar to comic book fans because it is. A similar situation happened with Spider-Man during the comic book event Civil War when Spider-Man revealed his identity to the world as Peter Parker.

This predictably ended badly for him as Wilson Fisk immediately ordered his assassination, only for Aunt May to be caught in the crossfire. Dying in a hospital, Peter Parker goes to everyone to try and save Aunt May. Even going to Doctor Strange, who, stupidly, despite both being a renowned surgeon and the Sorcerer Supreme, couldn't help her in any way.

Spider-Man Doctor Strange Help Comic Panel
"Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" (2005) — Issue #24

Ignoring the utter stupidity of the entire superhero community being unable to heal one single bullet wound, Spider-Man's intentions at first were only to help save Aunt May. It's not until Mephisto appears and offers him another way to save her.

In exchange for his marriage to Mary Jane Mephisto would save Aunt May in the most convoluted comic book manner possible. Mephisto re-arranged history to make it so that Peter simply...missed his own wedding. Peter Parker and Mary Jane didn't fall out of love or break up; they just never tied the knot.

Mephisto One More Day Panel Peter Parker
"Sensational Spider-Man" (2006) — Issue #41

Otherwise, he and Mary Jane stayed a loving couple, just not married. Heck, Peter still revealed his identity to the world in Civil War, and Aunt May still got shot. Only Peter was able to save her...by giving her CPR. Funny how no one else thought to do that when she flat-lined the first time.

By far the dumbest part of this whole affair is that this caused Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Doctor Strange to be the ones to ultimately erase people's memories about Parker's secret identity using a magical techno-virus. The only ones that would remember his secret identity would be Mary Jane and a select few others.

Doctor Strange Spider-Man Spell Comic Panels
"Amazing Spider-Man" (1999) — Issue #640

So, it seems like No Way Home will be adapting this but just completely removing Mephisto from the equation, along with Tony Stark and Reed Richards. Fans will find out for sure how this spell was intended to work when they see Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters on December 17, 2021.

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.