Alfred Molina isn’t saying he’ll play Otto Octavius again, but he isn’t saying he won’t play him either.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is objectively one of the most popular films in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to the return of some of the Spider-Man franchise’s most beloved heroes and villains. Now according to Radio Times, one of the cherished villains from the original trilogy, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Otto Octavious, could be returning to the Spider-Man franchise. Or, at least, he isn’t going to tell you one way or another if you ask him about a possible return.
In the interview with Radio Times, the actor responded to an inquiry about his possible return to the Marvel franchise with the sentiment that he could neither confirm nor deny. He then went on to explain that he had gotten in trouble when he answered how filming the new Spider-Man movie was coming with a simple positive response, sending reporters to the keyboards to confirm his return. Not wanting to release the wrath of Kevin Feige again, Alfred Molina was very careful not to divulge any new Spider-Man plans.
Perhaps many of the UK legend’s fans first saw him when he was covered in giant tarantulas right before betraying Harrison Ford in 1981’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Still, Alfred Molina is likely best known for his role in Sam Raimi’s 2004 follow-up to his Spider-Man film, Spider-Man 2, as Doctor Otto Octavious. He played a brilliant scientist who imparts the wisdom on young Peter Parker (played by Tobey Maguire) that his intelligence is a responsibility and urges him to do better.
Otto’s story arc ends with him fighting back against the mechanical tentacles that began to take over his mind, and sacrificing himself to destroy the destructive machine he had building. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Alfred Molina returned to the role nearly two decades later to portray the same character, only he has whisked away from his universe into the MCU before his death by Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man. The storyline saw him get a new device that blocked him from hearing the voices from the tentacles, and he returned to his original storyline, no longer a villain.
While the ending of Doctor Octopus’ story arc in Spider-Man: No Way Home leaves the character open to return in some capacity as a mentor (maybe a replacement for Tony Stark) to Tom Holland’s character, there is no indication that is the plan. There was a peaceful resolution for the man who was tormented by the manipulation of his creation, and he was able to beat them while saving his own life. There aren’t many villains who get to walk off into the sunset as Alfred Molina did in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Even though the actor may be too busy at the moment to return to the franchise with his new project, Amazon Prime’s Three Pines, one thing we learned in Phase 4 is the door is never closed. But don’t ask Alfred Molina, because as far as Spider-Man is concerned, mum’s the word.