In the pantheon of Marvel villains to appear on screen, Alfred Molina's Doc Ock has long been among the best due to his role in 2004's Spider-Man 2. Seventeen years later, the ambitious, multi-limbed scientist was the first of Sony's former Spidey villains to appear on the big screen in Spider-Man: No Way Home; but this time, Molina's Ock wasn't just redeemed but cured.
While No Way Home succeeded in bringing all three Spider-Man franchises together, as well as providing some closure, fans are already asking for more. In addition to the push for Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man 4, the fan demand for Andrew Garfield's The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has become a bit of a movement.
If Sony and/or Marvel choose to revive these former web-slingers once more, the question is whether their signature villains will return as well; and if so, can audiences also expect more Norman Osborn or Molina's Doctor Otto Octavius?
Alfred Molina Comments on a Post-No Way Home Doc Ock Return
On the Household Faces with John Ross Bowie podcast, Alfred Molina had nothing but praise for the directors and creators behind Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: No Way Home, saying, "They take it very, very seriously and they're very passionate about it. So the detail that goes into it is just phenomenal:"
“What made Jon Watts’ Spider-Man movies and Sam Raimi’s movies so wonderful is that they were both directed by people who, and had creative teams of people, who absolutely love the genre, they love this world. This is a huge thing for them and they take it very, very seriously and they’re very passionate about it. So the detail that goes into it is just phenomenal. But as an actor, very much you’re… a functionary in a sense, particularly if you’re playing the bad guy, because you have to fulfill certain functions…"
While his role as Spider-Man 2's "bad guy" led to his role in No Way Home, Molina isn't optimistic about that happening again.
In fact, the actor feels his character's arc in the Tom Holland-led threequel actually hinders his chances of returning again, explaining, "I don't think you can be a good person with a moral compass who turns into a villain, and then comes back to being the decent person he was and then [back again]..."
"But what makes this movie interesting and different from the previous one is that, here we see the full redemption, certainly of Doc-Ock, which makes me think that maybe they may be putting him to bed. Because I don’t think you can be a good person with a moral compass who turns into a villain, and then comes back to being the decent person he was and then [back again]… I don’t think that would happen."
Even if the recent Spidey epic was Molina's final bow, the actor is appreciative of his lengthy tenure as Doc Ock, noting that "it kind of made my career here" but also that Willem Dafoe's "20 years or something" as Green Goblin holds the record.
"But it’s been an extraordinary experience, and one that I would never shortchange, ’cause it kind of made my career here… Ever since I’ve been living in the States… I came here in the very early ’90s, I wanted to live and work in America, I wanted to be part of the industry here… I applied for citizenship as soon as I could. And it’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience to work on these films, it really has. And the fact that there were 17 years between the two iterations always makes me laugh, because I always tell people that must be among the longest options any studio’s ever had on an actor. [laughs] But then I stopped making that joke when I found out that Willem was coming back for the movie as well because his option was even longer. Like 20 years or something.”
Did No Way Home Actually Hinder Future Villain Cameos?
Unfortunately, Molina makes a good point.
Bringing him back as Doc Ock just doesn't make sense given the fact the cause of his villainy has been cured. In a way, it's kind of unfortunate that the decision to bring back the former villains in No Way Home, and then fixing them, actually hinders their chances of them reprising their roles again.
Still, not all hope is lost. Molina could return in a Spider-Man film once more, but instead of a villain, he could play his character's true self: Dr. Otto Octavius
From both a character and story perspective, this is possible. After all, a deleted scene from No Way Home did show the former Spideys telling Tom Holland's Peter Parker that he knows where to find them. Plus, Norman Osborn did offer the webhead a job if he was willing to commute between universes.
Could audiences see one of cinema's Spideys seek out a redeemed Ock's help one day? Considering Spider-Man: No Way Home even exists, anything is possible.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is available for digital purchase.