The New Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Is Already Spawning A Few (Very Likely) Theories

Photo: courtesy of Sony Pictures.
After months of staving off rumours about its plot and possible cast, Sony and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have finally released the first official trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and fans are already feverish with loaded theories about what may be about to unfold for Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends. The new hypotheses run the gamut common sense to "aw hell no," but given what we know about the fourth phase of this superhero franchise so far, there are actually no wrong guesses here — anything can happen.
In the trailer, we learn that No Way Home picks up right after the events of the 2019 film Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which the late Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) exposed Peter Parker's identity to the entire world. The reveal changes the teenage Avenger's life completely, for better and for worse; on one hand, he doesn't have to lie to MJ (Zendaya) about his job anymore, but on the other, everyone knows that he's Spider-Man and believes that he's responsible for Mysterio's death.
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The ire of the public proves too much for young Peter, who struggles to go about his daily life as a high school student and friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man now that everyone knows about him. Desperate, he runs to his old friend Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to help turn back time so that no one is aware of his identity. Against what seems to be Doctor Strange's better judgement, he casts a complicated spell that shifts the very fabric of the universe to a critical point.
"We tampered with the stability of space and time," Doctor Strange informs Peter gravely in the trailer. "The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little."
While these characters know practically nothing about the multiverse, fans watching from home are well-versed on the premise thanks to Avengers: Endgame and shows like Loki and What If...?. Since the last Spider-Man film, we've learned that there are a number of different timelines being closely watched over by the Time Variance Authority (but really, Jonathan Majors' Kang/He Who Remains) that can be thrown into chaos by any major or minor event. Dr. Strange's spell in this film will be the catalyst for a cataclysmic shift, leading to an epic crossover of Spider-Man realities; Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), a nemesis from Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man days, makes a highly anticipated appearance, and other villains (and Spider-men) from various timelines are basically guaranteed to follow.
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Seasoned fans of the MCU are already theorising exactly how this near apocalyptic event comes to be, surmising that there has to be something big behind Doctor Strange's uncharacteristic willingness to alter the universe for Peter. (From what we've seen of the sorcerer, the behaviour is extremely off-brand.)
Thanks to Loki, we already know that there are a number of variants running around different timelines wreaking havoc, and there could be even more on the scene now that the different versions of Kang were freed to potentially bring about another Multiversal War. Given that knowledge, the Doctor Strange that we're seeing in No Way Home might not even be the same one that Peter fought beside against Thanos — what if he's actually a variant from another timeline set on bringing chaos to this universe?
Another version of this theory hypothesises that this isn't a variant of Doctor Strange, but the Devil pretending to be the sorcerer. Mephisto, the MCU's resident demon who was also hinted at in WandaVision, may have taken on Doctor Strange's identity, and the trailer seems to point in that direction; the phrase "devil in disguise" appears in the clip, and the New York City sanctum literally freezes over — like hell itself. This theory is pretty plausible given the fact that one Spider-Man comic book storyline does involve Peter making a deal with Mephisto to protect his identity.
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If the Devil is in fact involved in this universe-breaking plot, the series of unfortunate events will likely tie directly into Doctor Strange's next film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The movie, which comes out in March 2022, will see Doctor Strange being "hindered by a friend-turned-enemy, resulting in Strange unleashing unspeakable evil." That frenemy is Wanda Maximoff, whose close study of the dark arts at the end of WandaVision may put her in direct conflict with her fellow sorcerer and former comrade. We don't know much else about the project other than the fact that it's been described as the MCU's scariest movie yet, but the pieces are slowly falling together very clearly now. And we didn't even have to wait three years to see how everything's connected!
Regardless of how the MCU spins this story, one thing is for certain: Peter Parker is in big trouble — again. Can't wait to see how he gets out of this one.
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits cinemas on December 17, 2021.

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