Spider-Man 3 finally has an official title. Spider-Man: No Way Home will swing into theaters – Covid-19 permitting – on December 17. There's a chance this could be a bittersweet moment: it's technically the last Spider-Man movie in the actor's contract with Sony, though he's open to more, and we'd expect to see him return.
Plot details are naturally thin on the ground right now, but that hasn’t stopped the internet rumor mill from going into overdrive about what Spider-Man 3’s title actually means. No Way Home is an obvious nod to Spidey’s previous MCU films – Homecoming and Far From Home – but there seems to be more to it than meets the eye. This is Marvel, after all, so there may be some hidden context behind the subtitle.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with some theories as to what the third Spider-Man MCU movie’s title could mean. Our guesses below are based on what we know about the movie so far, Peter Parker’s comic book history, and how Sony’s own Spider-Verse could hold the key to Spider-Man’s future.
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Spider-Man: No Way Home theory 1: Peter Parker is on the run
No Way Home could be a simply reference to Far From Home’s mid-credits scene. After defeating Mysterio and taking MJ for a romantic swing through the city, one of New York’s giant screens broadcasts a ‘breaking news’ segment. To our surprise, J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson – who was part of Sony’s first Spider-Man adaptation – appears.
Jameson broadcasts doctored footage of Mysterio, which suggests that Spider-Man killed the villain’s real-world persona – Quentin Beck – and was the real culprit behind the London drone attack. Then, to Peter’s shock, Jameson reveals his real name to the world.
Naturally, such a revelation would force anyone into hiding, let alone a superhero who has tried to keep their identity secret. If Peter is on the run from the authorities and other supervillains – more on those later – then it makes sense why ‘No Way Home’ is referenced in the title.
It just means that he can’t return to Aunt May, and the normal life he craves after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. There’s literally no way for him to go home until he finds a solution to this problem. Still, if nothing else, it looks like MJ and Ned are on hand to help him seek one out.
Spider-Man: No Way Home theory 2: the Marvel multiverse may be to blame
Alternatively, No Way Home may refer to rumors surrounding a possible Marvel Cinematic multiverse.
During Mysterio's first meeting with Spider-Man, Beck mentions that he’s from another version of Earth – Earth-833 – and not the MCU’s Earth-616. Of course, Beck was bluffing as part of his plan to get hold of the Stark Industries technology that he needed for his drones, rather than telling the truth about his origins.
Still, this Easter egg and WandaVision's choice to feature the X-Men movies' Evan Peters feel like hints at something larger – we know multiple universes are coming to the MCU, because it's literally in the title of next year's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes TV, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has also stated that the multiverse will affect the MCU “before and after” Doctor Strange 2, which lends credence to the MCM being the next evolution of the MCU. Add in the potential for WandaVision’s season finale to dive into some multiverse mayhem, based on what we learned about Wanda in episode eight, and we have ourselves a Marvel multiverse.
How does this tie into Spider-Man: No Way Home? Reports have suggested that Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina will reprise their roles as Electro and Doc Ock in the film, who each starred in Sony's previous two Spider-Man adaptations.
This duo wouldn’t have a route into the MCU without some multiverse trickery. If they have been transported to Peter's Earth from their respective worlds, No Way Home could be hinting that there isn't a way for them to get back to their own dimensions. This could be down to multiverse exits being closed after they arrive on Earth-616, and that it will be up to Spider-Man to defeat them here or find a way to return them to their realities.
Of course, it could be the other way around, and Peter could end up in their universes – hence, No Way Home for him.
It remains unclear if the MCU’s Spider-Man would have help in the form of Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s iterations. Rumors have circulated that the pair will reprise their roles from Sony’s other Spider-Man series, but Holland shot that speculation down in an interview with Esquire. If Holland is telling the truth, it looks like he’ll be fighting No Way Home’s villains alone.
Spider-Man: No Way Home theory 3: the comics may hold the key
Comic book movies have always taken inspiration from their paper-based counterparts, and No Way Home is certain to chart a similar path. While we have no idea about which comics Spider-Man 3 could lift ideas from, the four-part One More Day arc could have an influence on its plot.
In this storyline, Aunt May has been shot and Peter is desperately searching for a way to save her life. After an encounter with the demon Mephisto, Peter and Mary Jane agree to give up her marriage to save her. Mephisto also removes the world’s collective memory of Peter’s superhero identity, which he had personally revealed as part of the Civil War comic arc.
One More Day was panned by fans and critics alike for destroying Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage, as it went against what webslinger fans had come to love about the characters over recent years. Despite being largely hated, however, One More Day could form a base for what No Way Home means in this context.
It’s plausible that Peter comes across some nefarious way of eradicating the world’s knowledge of his superhero identity. It doesn’t have to be tied to Mephisto per se, but we do know that dark magic exists in the MCU based on the demonic-looking Dark Hold tome we saw in WandaVision episode 7. All it would take is for Peter to be double-crossed by a villainous sorcerer, who grants his wish to re-conceal his alias’ identity but – in doing so – alters the world as Peter knows it.
In that sense, there would be no home for him to return to, and he would need to seek out the help of another sorcerer – Doctor Strange, anyone? – to return things back to normal. Back in October, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Benedict Cumberbatch was signed on to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, so it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that he could be the one to help Peter out.
Spider-Man: No Way Home theory 4: Sony’s Spider-Verse could become Peter Parker’s new reality
Our final theory is a bit of a stretch, but hear us out. If the MCU does have gateways to alternate universes, it’s possible that Holland’s incarnation of Spider-Man may end up becoming trapped in another reality and, as such, be unable to return home. See? It would literally be 'No Way Home' for him.
Spider-Man 3’s climax could very well see Peter trying to return Electro, Doc Ock, or any other supervillains and characters to their respective dimensions. In doing so, he could have to make a major sacrifice in order to close a faulty portal.
If the choice came down to it, we know that Peter’s selflessness would mean he’d do the right thing, make the ultimate sacrifice, and save Earth-616 from being overrun with villains. He’s already seen the impact that outside influences can have on his world – we’re looking at you, Thanos – so he wouldn’t want a repeat of something that may end up hurting Aunt May, MJ, Ned, and other people he’s close to.
If this did happen, No Way Home could even appease fans’ desires to finally see a Spider-Man vs. Venom movie. Holland’s Spider-Man could end up in the same universe as Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock, and how amazing would it be to see the webslinger go up against one of his most famous foes?
Sony and Marvel seem to have a good relationship when it comes to Spider-Man’s inclusion in the MCU, so something like this doesn't seem impossible. And hey, if Marvel ever needed the wall crawler for a future Avengers film, we could always see Peter return back through a multiverse gateway. He’s a smart kid, after all, so finding a way back to Earth-616 (if indeed it's called that in the MCU as it is in the comics) wouldn’t be outside of his wheelhouse.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before we get an official trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which would help us hone our theories on what to expect from the threequel. For now, No Way Home could mean any number of things, and it’ll be interesting to see if any of our theories turn out to be correct.