Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason Why The MCU Avoided These Classic Spider-Man Villains Before No Way Home

Contains spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

It should come as no surprise that Spider-Man — one of the most consistently popular heroes in the Marvel Comics catalog — has become one of the most beloved members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe roster. Since arriving via 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," Tom Holland's Peter Parker has seen and done some remarkable things, leading many MCU fans to sit firmly in his corner throughout his struggles. With that said, when a host of legendary yet dangerous villains appeared to take him down in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," one couldn't help but get excited.

As a byproduct of a botched spell by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a host of bad guys from previous "Spider-Man" film franchises converged on the MCU. This meant that poor Peter Parker had to contend with Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Lizard (Rhys Ifans), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) largely on his own for much of the film. While it was certainly great to see these actors back in their respective roles, their returns inadvertently presented a major question: do they all have variants that live in the MCU already? And if so, why haven't we seen them yet?

As it turns out, there's a good reason why at least a few of these classic supervillains never received a proper MCU reboot prior to "No Way Home."

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

According to comments made by Norman Osborn in "No Way Home," Spider-Man's corner of the MCU is different from most other film versions of the webhead's world. Oscorp doesn't exist, and neither does Harry Osborn, indicating that perhaps Norman himself doesn't either. Additionally, we never hear about MCU variants of Electro, Dr. Octavius, etc., and none of the "No Way Home" villains are hinted at in previous MCU movies, meaning that they likely don't exist in this continuity either. Though it may seem like they just haven't emerged in the franchise as of yet, Marvel Studios' president, Kevin Feige, says otherwise.

"It did not occur to us to do a new Goblin story, or to do an Oscorp story, or to do Doc Ock, or anyone that had been done before, which is why Vulture and Mysterio were really the key characters," Feige revealed in a 2021 interview (via FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras on YouTube). He adds that Alfred Molina's rendition of Doc Ock would be near-impossible to replace, so instead of struggling to do so, they used the MCU's multiverse to bring Molina and his fellow villain actors back when the time was right — introducing Michael Keaton's Vulture and Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio beforehand.

It would have been interesting to see new takes on the likes of Doc Ock and Green Goblin for the MCU, but considering just how spot-on their castings were years ago, the "No Way Home" team made the right call in bringing previous actors back into the Marvel fold.