Tom Holland’s return as Spider-Man has been one of the most anticipated MCU projects of the last couple of years; something that shows given No Way Home is now one of the biggest films of all time. After Peter Parker’s identity was revealed to the world, fans had no idea where the story would go next—this was new territory for any live-action Spidey adaptation.
Then it was announced that Benedict Cumberbatch was set to reprise his role as Doctor Strange in the movie, and everything started to fall into place: Peter was going to try to use magic to fix his problems.
The character famously made a similar choice in the comic books to reverse his identity reveal in the Civil War event. The storyline, entitled One More Day, actually involved Mephisto instead, and it didn’t go over well with readers. So it was odd to see Marvel Studios lean into this direction for the character.
For those who have seen the film, it’s pretty clear that they made the right call. While there was no devil in sight, the fan-favorite sorcerer was on hand to help Peter with his big ask: make the world forget Mysterio revealed his identity.
Strange's first attempt to do the memory wiping spell didn’t go well and had to be contained. This was done thanks to an ancient mystical device known as the Machina de Kadavus. The relic was designed as an intricate-looking cube with a compartment on the inside which held the out-of-control spell.
As neat as the final product looked, some new concept art reveals what fans may have seen in an alternate universe.
The Doctor Strange Book?
Thanks to artist Maciej Kuciara, fans now have a look at new concept art of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Machine de Kadavus. The device, revealed by Doctor Strange, was used to contain his haywire spell and also held the button which would send home all of the heroes and villains who slipped into the MCU.
On their Twitter, Kuciara revealed an incredible image that depicts Doctor Strange sending Spider-Man through a window; and in the web-slinger’s hand is an entirely different take on the magic plot device.
Instead of a box, this iteration of the Machina de Kadavus was a book. It certainly doesn’t provide the same kind of visual language that the cube does when it comes to being able to send people home with the tap of a button.
When it comes to Doctor Strange, he certainly seems to be a little more aggressive in the depicted scenario. While there is a shattering glass effect, it doesn't seem like the sorcerer has pushed Peter into the Mirror Dimension; seeing as the person behind the window seems to be acknowledging Spidey.
Compared to what fans got in the film, seen below thanks to an upcoming Hot Toys figure, the idea of the mystical device being a book is definitely a lot simpler than the complex box Marvel decided to go with.
As for Kuciara’s original tweet revealing the image, they made sure to congratulate the “entire team who worked on the movie,” but seemed to indicate that they hadn’t seen the movie themselves:
“Not sure if this exact scene ended up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but definitely saw this part of the movie in the trailer. Massive thank you to @DGilfordDesign for having me on the show and huge congrats to the entire team who worked on the movie. It turned out amazing!”
Mystic Cube or Box?
In the end, making the Machina De Kadavus the box instead of a book was the right choice. With the box, there was more visual language occurring, which made the transpiring events more obvious for the audience.
There was a clear department where viewers could see the spell contained and enclosed in the box. Of course, there was also the glowing button which gave a simple way for the likes of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire to return to their home universes.
If they did end up going with the book, it wouldn’t have been a bad choice by any means, just different. It would also have had some unique synergy with WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Both of those projects deal with The Darkhold, a powerful spellbook that contains vast mystical knowledge.
It’s sure not to be the only of its kind, so Marvel would have given themselves the opportunity to explore more dangerous spellbooks. This kind of lore expansion could easily play into Agatha: House of Harkness as well—especially since she’s the one that first introduced The Darkhold to the MCU.
Doctor Strange’s next adventure, Multiverse of Madness, hits theaters worldwide on May 6.