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Spider-Man: No Way Home Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Let's start with what we know is not true.

The third Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man film is not going to be called Spider-Man: Phone Home, Spider-Man: Homewrecker, or Spider-Man: Home Slice. After a brief flurry of excitement when its young stars Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon, and Zendaya revealed three different Home-based titles for their new movie February 23, Marvel and Sony Pictures cleared things up the next day by letting everyone know that the latest installment is going to be called Spider-Man: No Way Home.

After that, things get tricky. The film's production has seen a constant and deafening churn of gossip about who's in it and what they're going to be doing. Returning villains, cameos from heroes of all stripes, multiversal shenanigans — nothing is off the table for what Holland told Variety is going to be "the most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made."

It's almost enough to make you forget that there was a brief time when it felt like this movie wouldn't even happen, that Sony was trying to take back control of the character for use in its set of ancillary Spider-movies like Venom and Morbius rather than letting him play in the greater MCU sandbox. Now the question, among many others, remains: Are the two studios going to share multiple Spider-Men?

Here's everything we know about the forthcoming superhero epic so far.

When will Spider-Man: No Way Home be released?

This one is easy. For now.

The third installment in this particular Spider-Man franchise is set to debut in theaters on December 17, 2021 ... or possibly December 25, 2021, based on the video Sony released to announce the film's title. It's noted at the end of the clip that the movie is coming "this Christmas," which could mean either the Christmas season or Christmas Day; Sony hasn't yet clarified as of this writing.

Normally, that would be that; we could write it on our calendars and start crossing off each day as we got a little closer to release. But the Marvel Studios slate has already seen a number of disruptions to its release calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Widow has been pushed back multiple times in the hopes of finding a slot after audiences feel safe going to theaters again, and the movies in line behind it have hopped back another spot each time. It's a cascading-delay type of situation with the tightly plotted MCU, so it wouldn't be the most surprising thing to see the new Spider-Man get delayed.

But there are good reasons to think Spider-Man: No Way Home might be more immune from these problems. For one, unlike Black Widow or The Eternals, it is a collaboration between Marvel and Sony, which means presumably even setting a date requires more meetings and negotiations. Second, set pictures peg the film as occurring around the holidays, with winter decorations up in shop windows. It makes sense then that the powers that be will want it to hold its ground near Christmas. Then again, seasonality doesn't really guarantee much. Die Hard, that most Christmasy of all Christmas movies, was actually released on July 15, 1988.

Who's in the cast of Spider-Man: No Way Home?

Holland is definitely back as Peter Parker. From the few photos that have already been released, we can confirm that Zendaya will reprise her role as MJ and Batalon will return as Ned Leeds. Marisa Tomei returns as Aunt May. In addition to these veterans of previous MCU Spider-Man films, Benedict Cumberbatch is set to make an appearance as Doctor Strange.

The big question is to what extent some veterans of the non-MCU Spider-Man films –– Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and the two Amazing Spider-Man films from Marc Webb –– will be appearing. Jamie Foxx is already confirmed to reprise his role as Max Dillon a.k.a. Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Alfred Molina seems set to return as the villain he played in Raimi's series high-water mark Spider-Man 2.

This wouldn't be the first time the MCU Spider-Man has brought back a character from an earlier appearance; the once and future J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) returned in a mid-credit sequence of Spider-Man: Far From Home. The revival of villains from multiple Spider-franchises seems to give credence to the oft-repeated idea that the film will also involve once (and future?) Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in some capacity, and possibly even their love interests Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). 

Holland has denied his predecessors involvement vociferously this month in Esquire and again on Fallon, but we think he doth protest too much. It wouldn't be the first time audiences have been lied to about Spider-Man

What's the plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home?

Our best guesses on the plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home are somewhat hamstrung by the uncertainty surrounding its cast.

It's safe to say there will be significant fallout to deal with from the mid-credit sequence from Far from Home, where Jameson played a video from Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal a.k.a. Taylor Swift's ex) revealing to the world that their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is Peter Parker. Said fallout may even involve an appearance from another notable name, with rumors having it that Marvel Television's Daredevil, Charlie Cox, may have shot scenes for the film. His alter ego, the attorney Matt Murdock, may prove more useful to Peter at the moment.

If all the casting speculation is true –– and there is a lot of smoke for there not to be any fire at the bottom of it –– then it seems almost certain that the film will further expand the multiverse. Audiences are seeing the first, tentative steps in this direction in WandaVision with the casting of Evan Peters from Fox's X-Men films, and it seems likely that the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, will blow it wide open. This movie could be the middle step between the two, where a threat consisting of multiple villains from multiple universes requires the presence of multiple Spider-Men.