Marvel and DC each have main-event caliber characters in their respective comic rosters, but the two comic book pillars have had more than a fair share of similar supes.
Comparisons between Namor and Aquaman as well as Hawkeye and Green Arrow will always be around. Supergirl's alias of Kara Danvers draws obvious parallels to Marvel's Carol Danvers, better known as Captain Marvel.
Similarities between Marvel and DC stretch beyond their heroes. On both the page and screen, Marvel and DC have run storylines that bear resemblance to narratives that precede them. 2021's Zack Snyder's Justice League followed a team of combustible heroes as they took the fight to a pawn of the real big bad who was attempting to complete a collection of ancient relics, not unlike the plots of 2012's The Avengers and 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.
The jury is still out on how December's Spider-Man: No Way Home will play out, but key elements from the first act have been revealed in the film's debut trailer. Peter Parker's secret identity has been revealed, and he needs Doctor Strange to make it so that it never happened. By messing with the multiverse to cast the spell, villains from other worlds like the Green Goblin and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock have entered Tom Holland's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
No Way Home looks to be using the age-old Back to the Future narrative structure of changing a past event that leads to unforeseen consequences in the present. While this storyline foundation is nothing new to Hollywood, it became popularized on the page with DC's Flashpoint.
Most of No Way Home's twists and turns will be reserved for December, but there are already many parallels between the Spidey sequel and the Scarlet Speedster's most famous story.
Changing the Past
The ground zero for the parallels between Spider-Man: No Way Home and Flashpoint begins with the catalyst for their stories.
Spider-Man: Far From Home's mid-credits scene reveals Peter Parker's arachnid alias to the world, a twist that turns the high schooler's world upside down. December's threequel will immediately follow up 2019's Far From Home as Peter enlists the help of Doctor Strange to mop up his identity crisis.
In Flashpoint, Barry Allen travels back to the night of his mother's murder, preventing the Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. This minor alteration ends up having a ripple effect on the entire present-day DC Comics world.
Unlike Flashpoint, the changes coming in the MCU as a result of No Way Home are not a that of the title character's actions. In fact, Spider-Man's unmasking isn't even Peter's fault. That said, both Parker and Allen's wishes to alter cataclysmic events from their respective pasts unearth a collection of consequences.
No Way Home appears to be heavily borrowing from Spider-Man's One More Day comic storyline, which bears even stronger resemblances to Flashpoint. In that run, Aunt May is shot and Peter makes a deal with the devil, Mephisto, to bring her back to life, very similar to Barry Allen's situation with her deceased mother.
The Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer spotlights a duo of familiar foes while subtly hinting at many more to come.
Alfred Molina's Doc Ock appears in the final seconds of the teaser, sporting the same jacket, glasses, and signature tentacles he rocked in 2005's Spider-Man 2. Moments before Otto Octavius made his grand return to live-action, a recognizable pumpkin bomb rolls onto the highway, sporting the same design as Green Goblin's from 2002's Spider-Man. Mix in some Electro lightning and Flint Marko sand to boot, and Tom Holland has his hands full with foes from other worlds.
Flashpoint's consequences are less about resurrecting the bad guys and more about turning the good ones heel. Batman is now a brutal killer, while Aquaman and Wonder Woman wage an Atlantean-Amazon war that brings thousands of casualties.
While it remains to be seen if No Way Home's events will change any MCU fan-favorites' allegiances, Doctor Strange remains a strong possibility. The Sorcerer Supreme's suspicious behavior throughout the trailer caught the eye of many fans, and his fight with Spider-Man mid-way through the footage raises many questions.
Similar to how Thomas Wayne's iteration of the Dark Knight taps into that demonic place, Doctor Strange could find himself leaning more into his dark side as a result of his spell, not unlike what fans saw from him in this past week's episode of What If...?.
More Potential Parallels
Spider-Man: No Way Home still has two full acts of the story to tease before Christmas rolls around. In that remaining screen time, fans could see even more similarities to Flashpoint.
In Barry Allen's paradox, his long-time nemesis Captain Cold takes a turn to the light side, using his freezing powers for good as Citizen Cold. Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio already bears a strong resemblance to the icy antagonist's arc, as he is seen as a hero in the public eye thanks to JK Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson. Strange's spell could push Mysterio's publicly-viewed heroics even further, as it could resurrect the master illusionist as a full-blown Avenger.
As for Flashpoint's Atlantean-Amazon warfare, the writing is on the wall for its MCU counterpart. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever already appears to be sewing the seeds for a battle between Wakanda and Atlantis, led by Namor. If No Way Home intends to adapt elements of Flashpoint verbatim, its events could set the stage for next July's Black Panther sequel.
Flashpoint concludes with all the changes being reversed, but a reset DC Universe coming as a result.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has no plans to reboot anytime soon. This multiversal story will continue in March's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, making it unlikely that No Way Home ends with any sense of finality or permanent alterations.
But that doesn't mean Spider-Man is safe.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios are currently on the first film of their two-picture extension to keep Peter Parker in the MCU. That deal includes one more solo film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and one more team-up appearance to be determined. If Sony intends to take back exclusivity of their golden goose, having No Way Home could end with Tom Holland's universe being torn out of the MCU, not unlike Flashpoint's hard reset.
All will be answered when Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters this December 17.