21m-1Spider-Man: No Way Home – What the Title Reveals About the MCU Sequel


After a long drought, the MCU is bouncing back in a big way in 2021. That includes the long-awaited third Spider-Man movie starring Tom Holland. We even know the official title for that sequel now – Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Clearly, the sequel is continuing the franchise’s trend of including the word “home” in the title. But just what is No Way Home going to be about, and how will it follow up on that shocking post-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home? Let’s break down what we know so far, the mind-boggling casting rumors and how all of this will likely feed into Peter Parker’s latest cinematic adventure.

Peter Parker in the MCU: The Story So Far

First, a quick recap of Peter Parker’s MCU story can’t hurt. We first met the MCU incarnation of Spidey in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. At this point, Peter has been Spider-Man for a few months – just long enough for a handful of YouTube videos to pop up showing off Queens’ resident superhero in his crude, homemade costume. We still have yet to see a proper origin story for the MCU Spidey, so we don’t know if it follows the same path as previous incarnations and if Peter’s powers even stem from a radioactive spider bite. Tony Stark approaches Peter to join his pro-Sokovia Accords faction, while also giving his young charge a sleek, upgraded new suit.

2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place a few months later, as Peter is doing his best to balance the academic and superhero sides of his life and waiting for the call from Iron Man that never comes. Peter eventually comes into conflict with Adrian Toomes and his crew of tech scavengers, realizing too late Toomes also happens to be the father of his school crush, Liz. Peter’s over-eagerness to prove his worth very nearly causes a major maritime disaster, but in the end he’s able to defeat the Vulture (with a little help from Iron Man) and earn a spot on the Avengers. Which he promptly refuses.


Peter returns in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, belatedly accepting his new Iron Spider suit and helping Iron Man battle Thanos and the Black Order. Unfortunately, he’s among the trillions of lives wiped out by the Infinity Gauntlet. Spidey is then restored to life in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. That resurrection plays directly into Spider-Man: Far From Home, as Peter tries to deal with the fact that Tony is dead and he’s missed the past five years. Faced with an overwhelming responsibility in the form of an advanced weapons system gifted by the late Iron Man, Peter tries to pass the baton to his new superhero partner, Quentin Beck. Unfortunately, Beck proves to be anything but what he seems, forcing Spider-Man to once again atone for his mistakes and save the day.

While Peter emerges from that battle emotionally rejuvenated and ready to fill the void left by Iron Man, fate has a crueler reward in mind. Far From Home’s mid-credits scene shows Beck framing Spider-Man for the carnage he was responsible for with a little help from J. Jonah Jameson, who then proceeds to leak Spider-Man’s secret identity to the world.

Spider-Man Without a Secret Identity

It goes without saying that Far From Home’s twist ending will greatly influence the tone and direction of No Way Home. Peter Parker’s worst nightmare has come true. His secret is out, and his loved ones will surely pay the price for his actions as Spider-Man.

The Spider-Man comics give us some idea of how this conflict could play out. In the comic book version of Civil War, Peter willingly reveals his secret identity to the world as a sign of support for the Superhuman Registration Act. However, he’s forced to become an underground fugitive after rebelling against Iron Man and the SHRA. His situation quickly grows desperate after Aunt May is shot by an assassin hired by Kingpin. Ultimately, Peter and Mary Jane are forced to make a literal deal with the devil, sacrificing their marriage in exchange for May’s life and turning to a combination of science and magic to collectively make the world forget Spider-Man’s identity.In the comics, Peter turns to Mephisto for helping putting his life back on track.

In the comics, Peter asks Mephisto to help put his life back on track.

But is that actually what’s going to happen in No Way Home? We have our doubts, especially since Peter’s situation in the MCU is quite a bit different. It’s important to remember the MCU Peter is hardly the blue collar nobody he is in the comics. As far as the movies have shown, he’s still a duly registered hero in compliance with the Sokovia Accords. He has the backing of the Avengers and other powerful people like Happy Hogan. Yes, there’s the pesky issue of Beck framing Spider-Man for murder, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Peter will be alone and on the lam following the events of Far From Home. He theoretically has the resources to protect his family and work to clear his name. This has even fueled speculation No Way Home will re-introduce Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock to the MCU, with the law firm Nelson & Murdock defending Peter in court.

We know Doctor Strange is playing a key role in No Way Home. It’s very possible Spidey will turn to Strange for help in finding some magical method of restoring his secret identity. We also know No Way Home will itself play into the events of 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That, along with a flood of casting rumors about the stars of Sony’s previous Spider-Man movies returning, suggests the Marvel multiverse will also come into play in No Way Home. Will Peter look to the multiverse for help, possibly hoping to find a world where his life was never ruined by Beck? We could easily see the sequel boiling down to one basic conflict. Does Peter use some combination of magic and multiverse travel to retreat to a better, happier life, or does he accept the responsibility he has to protect his own world, no matter the personal cost?


Will No Way Home Be a Spider-Verse Movie?

Current casting rumors suggest both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will reprise their respective Spider-Man roles for No Way Home, along with the likes of Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. Holland himself has denied those rumors, but that only means so much when dealing with an actor as loose-lipped as Holland and a company as secretive as Disney. The title alone certainly seems to suggest a multiverse element, potentially teasing a storyline where Peter is lost in the Marvel multiverse, struggling to find his way home and temporarily teaming up with his counterparts from other worlds.

The handful of No Way Home photos revealed so far also tease a multiverse-heavy approach. We see several images of Peter, MJ and Ned wandering through what may very well be the Sanctum Santorum. Perhaps Peter hopes to enlist Strange’s help, only for an overly curious Ned to bump some random magical artifact that sends the trio hurtling into another dimension.

We also know there’s going to be some connective tissue between No Way Home and WandaVision. That connection is seemingly teased in this silly teaser for the movie’s title. We see several chemical compounds that all form hexagonal shapes, which is most likely a reference to “The Hex” Wanda Maximoff has created in Westview, NJ. If WandaVision opens the doors to the multiverse, Spider-Man may be the first hero drawn into that chaos.image (1)

Suddenly, hexes are everywhere in the MCU.

All that being said, fans hoping for a full-fledged, live-action version of 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may need to keep expectations in check. Don’t forget that both of director Jon Watts’ previous Spider-Man movies have been fairly grounded by MCU standards. They’re really just high school movies at the end of the day. They’re more about exploring Peter’s particular corner of the world and his emotional journey as a teen grappling with powers, hormones, and the weight of responsibility. We see no reason to assume No Way Home will be any different, regardless of Peter’s increasingly desperate situation. And with Jacob Batalon’s Ned, Zendaya’s MJ, and Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson all returning, it’s likely we’ll still see at least some emphasis on Peter’s schoolmates and teachers.

The “No Way Home” title may have a completely different connotation. Rather than teasing a dive into the multiverse, it may simply be referencing Peter’s desire to recapture the quieter, simpler life he once had before gaining powers and joining the Avengers and becoming a global pariah. How do you regain a sense of normalcy after being outed as a superhero? Is going to school and hanging out with friends even possible for Peter anymore? There’s a fitting symmetry to the notion that Spider-Man: Homecoming is about Peter’s yearning for greatness, Far From Home shows him achieving that goal and No Way Home is about the unintended consequences of becoming great. Like so many big-screen teen protagonists, Peter is going through a major identity crisis right now. His is just a little bigger than most.

Twitter user @Megablack2000 pointed out a very interesting Easter egg in the above No Way Home teaser image. The shape of the webbing surrounding the title is pretty much identical to that of the island of Puerto Rico, suggesting some of the movie will take place there. Could Peter be hiding out in Puerto Rico? Is the movie’s title just very literal, hinting that Peter is stranded far from Queens with no way of returning without being arrested? Whatever’s going on there, we can’t forget that future Spider-Man Miles Morales is of Puerto Rican descent. Will No Way Home make good on that Miles tease from Homecoming?

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Every Upcoming Movie and TV Show

The Villains of Spider-Man: No Way Home

Apart from a handful of series mainstays like Holland, Batalon, Zendaya and Marisa Tomei, along with Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Disney and Sony have yet to confirm the full cast of No Way Home. We can probably assume J.K. Simmons will also return as the MCU’s J. Jonah Jameson, or possibly more than one JJJ, depending how much the multiverse comes into play. But the only hints as to the villains of the film come from the aforementioned casting rumors suggesting Molina, Foxx and possibly others will reprise their old roles. It’s also possible Jake Gyllenhaal could return as Mysterio. While we saw him die in the climax of Far From Home, Mysterio is one character where you can never trust your own eyes.

It’s widely speculated No Way Home won’t revolve around one villain, but will instead introduce the Sinister Six to the MCU. Homecoming seemed to set that ball in motion, with a post-credits scene showing Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes being approached by Michael Mando’s Mac Gargan (aka Scorpion). The multiverse could feasibly be used as a shortcut to the Sinister Six, allowing the MCU versions of Vulture, Shocker, Scorpion, and Mysterio to team up with Molina’s Doctor Octopus, Foxx’s Electro, and possibly other villains.

That said, even if the Molina and Foxx rumors pan out, there’s no guarantee they’re playing the same versions of these characters they did in previous Spider-Man movies. Thanks to Simmons’ JJJ, there’s now a precedent for familiar actors coming back to play new versions of their old characters in the MCU. Foxx has already hinted (via a now-deleted tweet) this version of Electro won’t be colored blue, which could be a sign he’s playing a different Electro who’s native to the MCU. The goal here may be to bring back familiar actors so audiences will recognize the characters and their connection to Spider-Man, removing the need for origin stories and set up in a sequel that’s shaping up to be very crowded already.

By the time No Way Home arrives in theaters, we may also have a better idea of how Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff movies connect to the MCU. Both Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Morbius were expected to debut before the third Spider-Man movie, though the latter has now been pushed back to January 2022, a few weeks after No Way Home’s release. The first Morbius trailer hints at an MCU connection thanks to a quick appearance from Keaton’s Adrian Toomes. Whether these movies are set in the MCU or a different branch of the multiverse, we’re expecting the situation to become a lot more clear by early 2022.

What do you think the Spider-Man: No Way Home title means? Is Marvel gearing up for an epic Spider-Verse adventure or a more grounded teen drama? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll below:

Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.



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