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Rumor report: Is Tobey Maguire actually playing Spider-Man in Doctor Strange 2?

There's been some very tantalizing "news" from the Spider-Verse circulating recently, and it's got fans of the eight-legged wonder a little hot under the collar. The excitement derives from a particularly buoyant rumor that O.G. Spidey Tobey Maguire may be in negotiations to step back into the red-and-blue spandex in Disney and Marvel's forthcoming Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Maguire first got bit by the radioactive spider in 2002's Spider-Man from director Sam Raimi and screenwriter David Koepp. That first Spider-Man film deserves much of the credit (along with Fox's X-Men) for launching the modern era of superhero filmmaking, so Maguire's version of the character certainly made a lasting impression. The actor inhabited the role in two additional films, rounding out the original trilogy, before he was replaced by Andrew Garfield in 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Garfield lasted for two films before the franchise was partially repatriated to Disney and Marvel Studios, placing the web-slingers in Tom Holland's capable forearms.

Despite the considerable enthusiasm for both Garfield and Holland's renditions of the character, any intimation that Maguire might return to the role of Peter Parker in any form is cause for enthusiasm among the fanbase. So what's the real scoop here?

The Marvel multiverse presents an opportunity to bring back Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man

This isn't the first time a big-name actor has been rumored to return to the role. Unfortunately, fans worked up about this particular bit of gossip should probably temper their enthusiasm; it seems to have originated from a parody Twitter account, and cannot be sourced to any reliable news outlet.

That said, the very nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and the Spider-Verse, in particular — leaves the door wide open for Maguire to throw on a Spidey suit and walk right through. It stands to reason that any film subtitled "In the Multiverse of Madness" might just be the perfect venue for this kind of triumphant return.

2018's beloved animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse demonstrated the viability of multiple Spider-Mans (Spider-Men? Spiders-Man?) coexisting within the same continuity. Although Into the Spider-Verse is not a part of the MCU — where Doctor Strange currently resides — the good doctor's universe-hopping abilities open up the potential to integrate a similar conceit. If so, it's entirely possible that we could see Maguire, Garfield and Holland presenting competing versions of the character in one movie. Who knows? We may even get the chance to see a live-action Spider-Pig.

Production of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was disrupted by the industry-wide shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, but the film is still targeting a potential release some time in 2022 — with or without Maguire.