Marvel’s What If…? just featured an explanation for how Doctor Strange could cause multiple Spider-Men to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s What If…? episode 4, “What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands?”
In Marvel’s What If…?, Doctor Strange provides an explanation for how there could be multiple Spider-Men appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home. While many are assuming that potential appearances by former Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield would be the result of different timelines from across the multiverse, the Sorcerer Supreme provides a wholly new and unique possibility.
In Marvel’s What If…? episode 4, Doctor Strange loses the love of his life Christine Palmer rather than his hands in his car accident, resulting in his quest for power to find a means to bring her back. After the events of the first Doctor Strange film, Stephen Strange decides to use the Time Stone to go back to his drive with Christine, though he’s unable to save her no matter what he tries nor how many times he goes back. Eventually, the Ancient One reveals that Christine’s death is an absolute point in time, motivating Strange’s dark quest to gain enough power and dark magic to bring her back regardless of the damage he could cause to reality. However, the Ancient One drew upon the power of the Dark Dimension to split the timeline, which created two Doctor Stranges: one who used the Stone and went dark, and one who didn’t, with the Ancient One tasking the latter with stopping the former.
Interestingly enough, the Ancient One’s ability to split the timeline and create variants of the same person on that timeline could be the key to having multiple Spider-Men such as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield appearing in No Way Home. While not a perfect solution as copies of Tom Holland wouldn’t be created, the explanation for their appearance being sourced in magic would certainly be interesting. Furthermore, it’s possible that Peter’s meddling in Doctor Strange’s spell to make the world forget Spider-Man’s secret identity could be what brings variants of the Webslinger from across the multiverse, rather than just splitting the exact version of himself on the same timeline like the Ancient One did with Doctor Strange.
While the Ancient One used power from the Dark Dimension to split Strange in order to give their reality a fighting chance, she did mention how exceedingly dangerous the act was. Likewise, it’s quite possible that Strange’s spell seen in No Way Home’s trailer could be the same use of dark magic, seeing as how the goal was to create a reality where the world didn’t learn Peter Parker was Spider-Man, rather than the one where it did thanks to Mysterio. Perhaps the Sorcerer Supreme will be looking to do something similar by splitting the timeline at that one decision that changed everything in Spider-Man’s life, much like the Ancient One did with him in this alternate What If…? timeline. However, the added component would be replacing and getting rid of the original timeline in favor of the desired new one for Peter Parker where his secret identity is still secret.
That being said, Peter messing up the spell will most likely be what causes unknown problems and deviations from what the spell was meant to do, no doubt explaining why a villain like Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock from 20o4’s Spider-Man 2 is featured in the trailer, along with the possible appearances from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men. In any case, whether it’s due to a similar source of dark magic seen with Doctor Strange in this alternate timeline or something else entirely, here’s hoping the past Spider-Men will show up by any means when Spider-Man: No Way Home releases on December 17th.
More: No Way Home: Why Doctor Strange Seems Off In The Spider-Man Trailer
Marvel’s What If..? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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