Despite the immense scale and anticipation surrounding Marvel's grand Phase 4 slate, Spider-Man: No Way Home is arguably the most anticipated among the fandom. The long-awaited sequel looks to be a big departure from past wall-crawler outings with connections to the reality-bending WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
With anticipation high for the first trailer, rumors continue to swirl surrounding the many heroes and villains who could pop up in the December blockbuster. As is usual from Marvel Studios, the plot of the film remains shrouded in mystery with minimal official confirmations made so far.
But if the reports — many of which come from reliable insiders — are to be believed, then No Way Home will be a game-changer for both the MCU and Sony's Venomverse. Given the expansive cast, the Tom Holland sequel has the potential to tease a slew of projects for the future.
Five months out from release, The Direct breaks down eight possibilities for Marvel projects which could spin out of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
DOCTOR STRANGE'S MULTIVERSE ADVENTURE
For some time, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has suggested that WandaVision, No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness form a trilogy, with reality-bending events seemingly being the link between the three. With the highly-anticipated sequel set to feature the return of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange, the conclusion or post-credits scene of the film will almost certainly tease where the sorcerer is heading next.
Even with a team of six of the wall-crawler's most revered foes, none would be a match against Doctor Strange, meaning he will likely say his goodbyes before the film's final battle. Many have suggested that the Sorcerer Supreme could conjure Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men into his reality to help Holland take on the Sinister Six as he takes a step back to investigate the multiverse.
Strange's multiverse adventure already has a packed cast, but given the significant link to No Way Home, Tom Holland's hero could make for a fitting addition to the team. Rumors have swirled for some time that the three Spider-Men could return once again for the 2022 blockbuster, but it's hard to picture how any of them could tie into the plot.
Recent reports have suggested Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter, who will debut in the What If...? animated series, will return in the Doctor Strange sequel, so perhaps Holland could also return as his alternate reality counterpart.
AN EVEN BIGGER SEQUEL
As of now, No Way Home marks the end of Tom Holland's contract as Marvel's iconic wall-crawler. However, the actor has expressed his willingness to continue in the role for some time to come, and with Sony teasing a possible crossover into its Venomverse, the agreement will almost certainly be renewed.
Within Marvel Comics, Spider-Man has one of the most expansive character arcs out of all its heroes, taking the popular Avenger from high school to adulthood. For a young genius like Peter Parker, the next step in his life would surely be college, even with his Avenging antics continuing on the side.
Given Far From Home took place during the summer following Peter's junior year of high school, he should be heading into his final year of school in No Way Home. Assuming Parker is able to return to school after his identity was revealed to the world, he may finally graduate in the trilogy-completing film, setting up a possible second trilogy centered around his time in college.
If the highly-anticipated sequel should set up a hypothetical fourth installment, it's hard to predict who his next foe could be. With Spidey set to take on a multiversal Sinister Six in No Way Home, Marvel might struggle to think of a tougher threat for Holland's hero to take on. Perhaps it's finally time for Spider-Man to come up against a version of Venom, be it Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock or not.
Alternatively, Peter's high school best friend Ned Leeds is better known as the villain Hobgoblin in Marvel Comics. The actor behind the quirky sidekick has lost a lot of weight and got himself into impressive shape recently, leaving some wondering if the MCU is preparing to adapt this arc in the near future.
Since it will be impossible to beat the scale of a Sinister Six from across the multiverse, a more personal villain with connections to Peter could be the perfect route for the sequel. However, there is nothing in the MCU to suggest Leeds is heading down a villainous path, at least, for now.
Since 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony has followed a pattern of releasing a wall-crawler film every two to three years. With director Jon Watts set to helm Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four in the coming years, a new filmmaker will likely take the reins for whatever comes next as Sony probably won't wait around for Watts to be free.
SPIDEY IN THE VENOMVERSE
Sony has been trying to create its own Marvel Cinematic Universe out of the Spider-Man license for some time now, and following 2018's Venom, things are finally getting off the ground. With several productions underway, all that's left for the studio to do is to integrate the wall-crawler into the world of villains and anti-heroes.
For a while, Sony was even planning to take Tom Holland's hero out of the MCU to instead integrate him into the Venomverse. But since then, new deals have been struck and the studio's president has promised “there actually is a plan” to tie Spider-Man into the world that will become clearer once No Way Home releases.
This could mean that Holland's webhead will cross cinematic universes, either with the use of the multiverse or no explanation whatsoever. Alternatively, perhaps another wall-crawler could take up the mantle in the spin-off franchise, with Andrew Garfield being the perfect fit.
So far, Sony's Venomverse has demonstrated a fairly dark tone that would struggle to incorporate Tom Holland's light-hearted Avenger. However, Garfield's The Amazing Spider-Man franchise had a drastically different tone that much more closely mirrored that of Venom.
Since the franchise only got through two films before coming to a sudden end, leaving many questions unanswered, setting Sony's spin-offs in the pre-MCU Spider-Man era would allow for that unique story to continue.
Additionally, the age gap between Tom Holland's Peter Parker and Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock would make it tough for the two to play off each other on-screen naturally. Since Garfield is only six years apart from the Venom actor, the return of his Spider-Man could allow for a much more natural pairing.
Whichever actor may play off Hardy's anti-hero, No Way Home is bound to set up the connection of the cinematic universes in some way. If Sony is committed to sticking with Tom Holland, then his next installment could see him face-off with Venom in a crossover that would likely make for a box office hit.
Feige recently refused to rule out connecting Venom's world into the MCU down the line. While it's unlikely he would be willing to connect a universe he has no involvement in, perhaps he may strike a deal to begin producing those films as he currently does for the Spider-Man franchise.
TOBEY MAGUIRE RETURNS
After years of desperate pleas from fans for Tobey Maguire to reprise his early 2000s role as Spider-Man, it seems that will finally become a reality with No Way Home. But does this mark a one-off return or the start of something bigger?
Up until recently, the actor hadn't booked a live-action role since 2014 with only one voice-over role since then, but Maguire has recently joined Paramount's 2022 period drama Babylon. After having reportedly filmed scenes for No Way Home, it seems his interest in acting has spiked once again.
Spider-Man 2's Doc Ock actor Alfred Molina previously confirmed that he will be digitally de-aged for his upcoming return as the popular villain. Based on this, it's a possibility that Maguire will also be digitally altered to appear more like his 2002 self.
Although, if the studio opted to showcase an older and more experienced Spider-Man through Maguire, then a sequel to his iconic franchise could make for an interesting flick. Every live-action iteration of the wall-crawler so far has centered around his time in school, so seeing an older version of the character married to Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane with a few kids would make for a truly unique story.
Given the insane popularity of his character, any continuation of Maguire's Spider-Man franchise would be an instant hit at the box office. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has also brought director Sam Raimi back to the superhero genre, potentially opening the doors to a reunion with Maguire down the road.
Granted, it remains an equal possibility that any potential return to the role would be a one-off occurrence for the now 46-year-old actor. But fans will have to wait and see what the future could hold for his Peter Parker.
DAREDEVIL COMES BACK
Some of the hottest rumors surrounding Spider-Man: No Way Home are that off Charlie Cox's reported return as Daredevil, a role he hasn't played since his Netflix series was canceled in 2018. Of all Marvel TV's many characters, Cox's Matt Murdock has definitely been the most discussed when it comes to a potential return to the main MCU.
After Peter was exposed as Spider-Man and falsely accused of the murder of Mysterio, he is bound to be in need of a lawyer, a service that Murdock is perfectly suited for. No Way Home has already been reported to feature a courtroom scene, making his rumored return even more plausible.
Even if Cox does return in his suit and tie to represent the falsely accused Peter, that doesn't necessarily mean he will don his superhero attire in the film as Daredevil. But even a cameo role certainly opens the doors to bigger things and more MCU appearances, potentially another solo project.
Granted, since Kevin Feige had no involvement in the Charlie Cox-led Netflix series, fans shouldn't expect any direct connections to the character's debut but instead a rebooted version with the same actor.
2022's She-Hulk Disney+ series has been described as a legal comedy starring Tatiana Maslany's superhuman lawyer Jennifer Walters. With promises of some surprise characters popping up in the ten-episode show, it seems like an obvious place for Murdock to pop up next.
What many fans are ultimately craving is another solo Daredevil project, but it's hard to predict what form that may take. Since a continuation of the Netflix series is almost impossible, it would either take the form of a rebooted Disney+ series or a theatrical outing.
Cox returning to his role in any capacity marks a major step forward for fans of Marvel TV as it opens the doors for other fan-favorite characters to return. While controversial heroes like Finn Jones' Iron Fist are likely to be recast, popular heroes like Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones or Chloe Bennet's Quake could pop up under Kevin Feige's control.
THE SINISTER SIX MOVIE
Once upon a time, Sony had plans to build an entire cinematic universe with a consistent tone around Andrew Garfield's The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. In 2013, the studio announced plans for the first two spin-off projects, Venom and The Sinister Six.
Obviously one of those eventually saw the light of day in 2018 with Tom Hardy's Venom but devoid of connections to Garfield's hero. However, the other never saw the light of day as The Sinister Six was originally planned to hit theaters in 2016.
As Sony once again attempts to build this connected universe, now with several projects already under its belt, perhaps it could take another shot at a standalone project surrounding the villainous team.
SOMETHING FOR DISNEY+
Earlier in the year, Sony and Disney+ struck a deal to bring all of its Marvel projects to the streaming platform. The deal will begin with Sony's 2022 film slate which currently consists of Morbius and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel.
As of now, this is simply a licensing deal, but it marks a major step in the relationship between the studios, potentially opening the doors to further collaborations on the streaming platform.
With the MCU continuing to expand on Disney+ and new series premiering on a regular basis, perhaps Spider-Man could get in on the action with a spin-off project. While there aren't any clear contenders as of now, the obvious option would be a Miles Morales-led series.
MILES TAKES THE REINS
Since Into the Spider-Verse hit theaters in 2018, interest in a live-action Miles Morales has sky-rocketed due to the unprecedented popularity of the animated superhero flick. Miles' uncle Aaron Davis, better known as Prowler, appeared back in Spider-Man: Homecoming played by Donald Glover, with one line even confirming his nephew's existence.
As Tom Holland finally grows up past his school days, the introduction of Miles Morales could perfectly fill that void by offering Peter someone to mentor. Since he made his MCU debut, many fans have criticized the handling of Peter Parker as he is usually accompanied by an older mentor, so introducing Miles would be a perfect way to show the Avenger's progression.
Marvel Studios is also seemingly in the process of setting up the Young Avengers for the future, a team that the younger Spider-Man could be a good fit for whenever it eventually assembles. So far, seven potential members have been revealed, and Miles could make for a fitting addition.
With Peter continuing the theatrical franchise, it could be confusing for some fans to see two different Spider-Man film series releasing new installments. Since Miles deserves more than just being a side character, he could lead his own Disney+ show to explore the young hero in more depth.
NO WAY HOME COULD BE A GAME-CHANGER
Having already confirmed such an expansive cast of characters from across the multiverse, it's clear No Way Home is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to the future of both the MCU and the Venomverse.
With the many rumors surrounding the film, the potential implications it could have on the future are immense. However, if even one of the biggest rumors doesn't pay off, it's bound to leave plenty of disappointed fans.
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17, 2021.