Sony just broke the internet with a brand new trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The rumored Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Men weren't there, but there were plenty of villains for fans to feast their eyes on. Alfred Molina's Doc Ock returned for more screen time, Green Goblin got his first big reveal, and audiences got a fantastic shot of a team-up between Electro, Sandman, and Lizard.
Despite all of that excitement, there was a massive head-scratching moment towards the end of the trailer. While Spider-Man is dealing with the mayhem around the Statue of Liberty, Doctor Strange is doing his best to contain what seems to be a nasty case of Multiversal deterioration.
So what's up with that, and is it a big step towards Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
The Multiverse is Breaking Open
To break down what may be happening, first, we have to go over the scene.
First, viewers saw Tom Holland's unmasked Spider-Man in his damaged Integrated suit. Then, after (presumedly) seeing the skies, Peter exclaimed to Strange: "What's Happening?"
Then Strange can be seen atop the flame on the Statue of Liberty, where he seems to be fighting back the effects in the sky. But then he had something extremely ominous to say in response to Peter: "They're starting to come through, and I can't stop them."
But who are "they?"
Spider-Verse is Here! Maybe...
As was recently called out by other fans, the visual effects seen in the skies above NYC bear a certain similarity to those found in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Now, yes, this is unlikely to be the case––but how cool would that be?
Imagine the animated Miles Morales from that project retaining his cartoon form and helping out Holland and anyone else on his team against the villains he's fighting; sounds like one hell of a third act.
It could also be a hint at what's to come for the future of the Spider-Man series. Maybe these breaches will give little glimpses of people Sony could spin off into other films. Imagine a Spider-Man 2099 TV Series or a Spidey Noir murder mystery––all possible if Spider-Man successfully splits open the Multiverse.
So, in that case, the threat wouldn't so much be the people or objects coming in, but rather the fact that they are entering the MCU at all.
This would also be a perfect opportunity for Sony to give glimpses at what they have in store for the webhead in the future, such as Kraven, Spider-Woman, Silk, and even that all-but-confirmed Venom crossover.
Or, is it Kang?
Another option as to who, or what, is trying to push their way through the cracks in the Multiverse could be Kang the Conqueror. Jonathan Majors' character, or at least a nicer Variant of his, first made an appearance in Loki where he warns of his other self and the destructive power he holds.
He also mentioned a Multiversal war. So, when Peter and Strange's spell went wrong, it weakened the fabric of reality, something that could easily attract the attention of a particular timeline traverser. This would be quite an unexpected way to go, though admittedly more believable than an animated Spider-Verse cameo.
Spider-Man seems to have a lot on his plate already, and adding in the next big MCU bad might distract from everything else Peter is dealing with. Though, it's hard not to blame Marvel Studios for thinking about it; after all, building up to its next significant universal threat will be important, as is figuring out how they are going to do so.
Besides maybe a subtle tease, No Way Home might not be the best place for it.
More Villains On the Way?
On the other hand, what's on the other side of those breaches could be something not nearly so complex. What if it's simply other Spider-Man villains breaching through into the Prime MCU?
This would allow for other small cameos from former actors who weren't able to be a part of the wider plot. But there's an even better way that the writers could use this gimmick.
With it being alternate Multiverses, imagine seeing villains who never got to make it on screen. So say, the female Vulture from the canned Spider-Man 4, or the Norman Osborn who would likely have gone on to become the ultimate Green Goblin in the canceled Amazing Spider-Man 3.
There's a ton of potential there. They could also just throw ideas at the wall and allow for all sorts of different Easter eggs from all across the Spider-Man mythos. The threat would never focus on any one villain but instead would remain on the collapsing Multiverse and the sheer amount of people pushing or falling through.
Is the Madness of the Multiverse Here?
The most likely scenario is that what audiences will witness in this scene will be a direct reference to what can be expected in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next year.
What form that may take, besides what is clearly seen in the trailer, is hard to say. It could easily just remain vague, only referencing the simple threat of the collapsing Multiverse and its unhealthy state. Maybe fans will get some scarlet visuals as hints to the damage which Wanda did back in WandaVision.
Maybe the "they" that Strange is referring to is Shuma-Gorath, the rumored villain of the Multiverse of Madness. The villain was first potentially spotted back in What If...?, but his rumored role in next May's adventure has been in the rumor mill for quite a time. A big Lovecraftian monster is certainly a threat worth fretting about, so it could fit with Strange's panic.
Setting up the collapse of the Multiverse is no doubt an important aspect in the finale of No Way Home, as Strange is likely to go straight from this film to dealing with the consequences of whatever Spidey's third act wrought on existence.
Spider-Man: No Way Home arrives in theaters worldwide on December 17, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits screens on May 6, 2022.