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The Spider-Man: No Way Home Theory That Has Fans Looking Twice At The Sinister Six

By now it isn't a surprise that "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which will be the hero's third solo outing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will see Peter Parker (Tom Holland) battling villains from Sony's past live-action "Spider-Man" franchises.

Last year, we learned that Jamie Foxx is returning to play Electro from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." In April, Alfred Molina confirmed that he would be reprising his role as Doctor Octopus for the film as well. Now, Holland's Peter Parker is going to have to do battle with a whole horde of comic book villains the next time audiences see him on the big screen.

But apparently, that's not all he wants to do with them. As the newest "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer reveals, one of Peter's goals in the film is to figure out how to save its villains, an impulse that puts him in direct conflict with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and puts the stability of the entire multiverse at risk. Predictably, fans are already asking why Peter seems so willing to defy the Master of the Mystic Arts in "No Way Home," and one Reddit user thinks they know the answer.

There may be a reason No Way Home has mostly sympathetic villains

"Spider-man has fantastic villains. The reason that they are great is that they are (mostly) relatable. They are often people motivated by loss, pain, and circumstances beyond their control," wrote u/TheMediocreCritic in a recent Reddit thread. "None of these people are bad people, just people at the wrong time in their life. This is what Peter will see. These are all people that need help before they commit their greatest crimes."

In other words, this "Spider-Man: No Way Home" fan theory speculates that the film's villains, including Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), will cross over into the MCU before they become irredeemable. Doctor Strange tells Peter in the "No Way Home" that the villains are all destined to be killed in their battles with Spider-Man, but if they're not dead when they show up in "No Way Home," that means each of their final villainous acts –– like trying to create an entire population of lizard-people in New York City, for one –– may not have happened yet. (Technically, neither Sandman in "Spider-Man 3" nor the LIzard in "The Amazing Spider-Man" were killed by Spider-Man in their films. Perhaps it's not a coincidence then that Haden Church and Ifans are the two actors who aren't yet confirmed to be in the new film?)

If that turns out to be true, then it's possible Peter sees sending them back as something akin to giving them a death sentence for crimes they haven't yet committed. "He stands up for them, and he is in his current predicament, as a man on trial for murder, understands them," u/TheMediocreCritic theorizes.

No Way Home could send Doctor Ock and Green Goblin down very different paths

The Reddit theory goes on to argue that it'll be Alfred Molina's Doc Ock who influences Peter Parker's view of the villains in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." The film's trailer shows Otto Octavius in both violent attack mode and as a more subdued version of himself — even answering Peter's questions while trapped in a cell at one point. If he regains control over his arms, as he did in 2004's "Spider-Man 2," he could easily show Peter that the film's villains aren't all purely evil.

That said, there's one returning villain in "No Way Home" who does seem like he'll end up being the film's true antagonist, and that's the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). In 2002's "Spider-Man," the character brought about his own transformation, and even if he struggled at times with his alternate personality, he never used his powers for good. "He was motivated by greed and power, and he was not a victim of his experiments but a consequence," points out u/TheMediocreCritic.

"The Spider-man villains, except for the Green Goblin, are not bad guys, just people doing bad things and corrupted by forces outside of their control," the Redditor adds. "This would show the compassion of our web-slinger and his ability to see other people's perspectives—a trait of a true Hero."

How No Way Home continues the legacy of the MCU's other Spider-Man movies

Fellow Marvel fans in the Reddit thread's comments section were quick to chime in with their approval of the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" theory. "I just want to let you know that this has been the most convincing theory," wrote u/sugary_shurinpu. "Compassion and empathy towards others (even people who are considered bad) are part of Spider-Man's key personality."

"In every Tom Holland movie he actively attempts to save the villain – successfully with the Vulture and unsuccessfully with Mysterio. I love OP's theory," commented another fan. Meanwhile, other commenters pointed out some possible holes in the theory, including the fact that Otto Octavius already seems to know Spider-Man's secret identity when he first arrives in the MCU. 

"In regards to them being pulled out of there universe before they do something irredeemable, doc ock only knows peter is spider man at the very end of 'Spiderman 2' just before he drowns, meaning he'd already done most of the crimes," wrote u/CG250799. Notably, actor Alfred Molina has previously said the film picks up with his character where "Spider-Man 2" left off, which would suggest that the character has already done plenty of bad deeds by the time he's plucked out of his original universe in "No Way Home."

Fortunately, fans will find out for themselves what makes Peter go through all this trouble — and whether it proves to be a worthwhile endeavor — when "Spider-Man: No Way Home" hits theaters on December 17.