The No Way Home Scorecard: Which Rumors and Theories Panned Out?

The No Way Home Scorecard: Which Rumors and Theories Panned Out?

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

FB @ The Comic Blog

IG @ matt.tuck.writer

Get out your scorecards because it’s time to rate all those No Way Home rumors and theories to see which were spoilers and which were duds. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home is in the books, and many fans are calling it the best Spider-Man movie ever. Well before the movie hit theaters, the gossip was at a frantic pace. The current MCU product is built on cameos, Easter eggs, and reveals, and basically every character in the history of Marvel Comics, movies, and television were the subject of rumors. The predictions became so outlandish that I was surprised the Justice League wasn’t in the mix.

Many of these could have been by Marvel design. By circulating so much gossip through the rumor mill, it hid the spoilers in plain sight. When the lights dimmed and the film rolled, we didn’t know exactly what to expect.

No single movie in the history of the MCU generated as many rumors as No Way Home, and that includes Endgame. They started from the moment the film was officially announced, and there was almost nonstop gossip from the word go. While not everything panned out, the gossip sites were surprisingly accurate on several predictions.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, spoilers make the internet go ‘round. Personally, I try to warn everyone before I toss a spoiler into a post, but there are those heartless souls looking only for reactions and ruin every Marvel movie the minute it premieres. It’s not just YouTubers looking for likes, either. One of the biggest entertainment news outlets in the world, Variety, spoiled the Eros/Starfox cameo in The Eternals mid-credits scene. Within moments of the first NWH showings last week, the spoilers were hitting the internet. If you didn’t get to see the movie on day one, it was almost surely spoiled for you.

On that note, if you happened to avoid the spoilers to this point and still haven’t seen the movie, go watch it before you read today’s post. Is it the greatest superhero movie ever made? I wouldn’t go that far, but it is a tremendous amount of fun, and it brings the MCU’s Spider-Man full circle. It also does the impossible by redeeming more than one bad entry in the multiple Spidey franchises (and let’s be honest, there are more bad Spider-Man movies than good ones, including Homecoming and Far From Home).

Now that you’ve been warned, let’s grade last week’s top-10 rumors and theories.

10. MEPHISTO

THE GOSSIP: “Mephisto has become the running joke of the MCU. Granted, the WandaVision showrunners wanted audiences to jump to certain conclusions, and the Agatha Harkness foreshadowing was meant to point towards Mephisto, but the Mephisto-spiracy is bigger than one show. The prevailing theory has been that Marvel’s Satan will be the primary antagonist for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, though most fans are now leaning towards Nightmare in that role. Why let that rain on the satanic parade? Theories abound that Mephisto is hiding in plain sight in NWH.”

THE VERDICT: That’s a Mephist-No

Are we ever going to get Mephisto in the MCU? At this point, it appears Marvel Studios would prefer to make him a running gag with constant rumors that never pan out.

Once again, Marvel’s Satan was left out of the mix. That makes the Mephisto predictions 0-2 in the MCU. Theorists struck out swinging after the WandaVision showrunners used Mephisto as an unspoken red herring of sorts to misdirect prying eyes from the series’ real villain, Agatha Harkness. With No Way Home taking so many cues from Spider-Man: One More Day, surely the god of Marvel’s underworld would be the culprit behind those mishaps, right? As it turned out, that really was Doctor Strange ignoring Wong’s warnings about using a mind-wipe spell. His recklessness was the catalyst for the plot, not Mephisto’s evil schemes. Don’t blame the devil for this one. Here’s a meta-theory for you: maybe the MCU’s Mephisto is actually Kevin Feige. That would explain the campy dialogue and cartoony action in so many Marvel movies.

9. HARRY OSBORN

THE GOSSIP: “For a moment, it looked like Harry Osborn could be in No Way Home. Who else would be riding a Goblin glider without the costume? Sadly, that wasn’t Harry we saw in the recent trailer, but it doesn’t mean he won’t be appearing in the movie. Considering the number of characters from the other Spidey films that are making their ways into the MCU, it stands to reason that one of the previous Harry actors will get a moment to shine. If nothing else, I would expect an Easter egg.”

THE VERDICT: Less Harry

For my part, I had said the odds were against this happening, especially after Tom Holland and Zendaya both said they would like to see Timothee Chamalet, who plays Paul in Dune, take on the role of Norman’s son. That implied that we wouldn’t see Harry in the flesh, but I had hoped there might be an Easter egg or at least hear Willem Dafoe’s Goblin mention him. Still, Holland’s petition for Chamalet to resurrect Harry Osborn for another film franchise sounds like the wheels are already in motion. 

8. VULTURE

THE GOSSIP: “Michael Keaton shocked superhero fans when he traded his cape and cowl for wings and a helmet. The famed 1989 Batman actor was Peter’s first nemesis in the MCU, taking on the role of Adrian Tooms, aka Vulture, for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Last year, Keaton made headlines when he was confirmed to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman for The Flash, but he also appeared as Vulture in the original Morbius trailer. With Morbius set for a January release, it would seem that Keaton will be back in the MCU to face off with the Living Vampire.

“Keaton has not been confirmed for NWH, but he does appear in the Spider-Man’s Drone Duel Lego set for the upcoming movie. Most fans are confident he will be part of NWH in some capacity, and many are wondering if Vulture will help Spider-Man in his fight against the Sinister Six (or five or however many end up in the movie). After all, the onscreen Tooms protected Peter’s identity when he was being interrogated by Mac Gargan in Homecoming's prison scene.”

THE VERDICT: No Vulture Here

Old school Spider-Man fans desperately wanted the Sinister Six to come together. While there were five villains, it left the faction one member short of a six pack. Not only did we not see Vulture, but Scorpion didn’t make an appearance in costume or as Mac Gargan. In retrospect, those Lego sets were meant as throwbacks to the previous MCU entries. On the bright side, I suspect we will see both Vulture and Scorpion in Spider-Man’s future. With Keaton reprising his role for Morbius, there’s clearly interest in him staying in the MCU family.

7. MYSTERIO

THE GOSSIP: “What if it’s all an elaborate illusion? That’s one theory making the rounds as we get closer to NWH’s release date. The third of Marvel Studios’ Spidey films takes place immediately after the events of Far From Home. Mysterio has outed Peter Parker to the world. Not only are the police looking for Peter for his vigilantism, but he’s also the prime suspect in Mysterio’s murder. While it would seem that Jake Gyllenhaal has nothing to do with NWH outside of some FFH flashbacks, theorists are quick to point out that this is the Master of Illusions, and nothing is what it seems.”

THE VERDICT: Myteri-No Show

This was a blessing. The Master of Illusions stayed dead, at least for one movie. Out of all the rumors and theories that were floating around the internet, this was my least favorite. Having Mysterio return as the real villain of NWH would have been more than a disappointment for fans - it would have been a failure on a global stage. That’s not to say that Marvel Studios didn’t toss around the idea in the early pre-production meetings, but I haven’t read anything that indicates they did, either. Be that as it may, it all worked out for the best. Thank goodness this theory didn’t pan out or the MCU’s Spider-Man franchise might have been relegated to ASM 2 or Spider-Man 3 status.

6. GWEN STACY

THE GOSSIP: “There’s a famous scene in the latest NWH trailers that is leaving fans with serious Amazing Spider-Man 2 vibes, and not necessarily in a bad way. The infamously terrible ASM 2 could be redeemed in NWH, though it’s hard to go anywhere but up following that abomination. Jamie Foxx, returning as Electro but without the excessively dorky combover, was among the first actors confirmed for the movie, and there is speculation that other characters from the franchise will join him, including Gwen Stacy.”

THE VERDICT: No Gwen…for now

There were heavy allusions to Gwen Stacy and her ASM 2 demise, but she did not walk out of the Multiverse to help save the day. Her memory was alive and well, particularly when Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man reenacts the fall with MJ, but this time he is successful. It made for a heartwarming moment of redemption that Garfield’s Spider-Man sorely needed since his franchise was understandably cut short.

Just because we didn’t see Gwen in this movie doesn’t mean we won’t see her in the future. Recently, Holland made comments that he thinks it’s time for Spider-Man to step aside and let some female Spiders take up the franchise. He is notoriously bad at keeping secrets, and his remarks could foreshadow the coming of Spider-Gwen from the Multiverse. Whether that will include Emma Stone or any ties to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is anyone’s guess.

5. DAREDEVIL

THE GOSSIP: “There have been so many rumors of Charlie Cox and the other Marvel Netflix actors making triumphant returns to the MCU that none of them are believable. Basically every character from the Netflix-verse has been the subject of MCU gossip at one point or another, but none are mentioned as often as Daredevil and Kingpin (with Punisher trailing a close third). A longstanding rumor was that Charlie Cox would appear as Matt Murdock rather than DD to defend Peter Parker in court. Of course, Cox denied being part of the film, but that didn’t stop the speculation, although it seemed as far-fetched as any of the other Netflix-verse characters.

Then Kevin Feige made the big announcement that the MCU’s Daredevil will be played by Charlie Cox, and all bets are off. With that news, it has reignited the spark for gossip that, indeed, Daredevil/Murdock will make his MCU re-entrance in NWH.”

THE VERDICT: Guilty as charged

This was one of the first cameos that began circulating on the gossip sites about a year ago. Personally, I didn’t put much stock into it since there were always rumors and theories about the Netflix characters and shows making a return in the MCU. I’m surprised that the entire Defenders roster didn’t become the subject of gossip fodder. 

Taking into account the years’ worth of Netflix return rumors, this sounded like another one to be thrown in the dumpster. Lo and behold, Kevin Feige let the cat out of the bag and announced Charlie Cox would play Daredevil in the MCU, and that essentially confirmed it. Still, when Cox arrived on screen in his trademark red circle shades, it caused an eruption of cheers. 

Since D’Onofrio is on Hawkeye and will likely return for Echo, that leaves one burning question: when will Jon Bernthal bring the Punisher back to the screen? Honestly, it’s adding credibility to those long-standing rumors of Frank Castle suiting up as War Machine for Armor Wars.

4. HOBGOBLIN

THE GOSSIP: “Just when we think this rumor is dying out, it comes roaring back. This gossip and speculation has been ongoing all year. For those not keeping track, it began with actor Jacob Batalon when he posted pictures of his impressive weight loss. Around that time, Batalon also made comments about wanting to see lovable loser Ned Leeds become a supervillain. In combination with the rampant No Way Home rumors, it made for the perfect recipe for Hobgoblin speculation.

“The peak of the gossip came only weeks ago. In the latest NWH trailer, we catch a glimpse of a mystery figure riding a glider but with no mask. It created a whirlwind of renewed Hobgoblin interest, though it seems the hooded figure is actually a maskless Green Goblin (which is kind of boring, if you ask me).

“That means there’s no Hobgoblin in NWH, right? Not so fast. Tom ‘Spoiler Alert’ Holland may have given it away. During the press tour for NWH, he was asked about Hobgoblin, to which he responded, ‘There’s a moment, though.’ That gives the impression that Batalon’s Ned may tease his Hobgoblin transition during the movie.”

THE VERDICT: Holland gave this one away beforehand

There’s no Hobgoblin in NWH, but the seeds have been planted. The “moment” that Holland alluded to is played for laughs. Batalon’s Ned, who had discovered his gift for magic while using Doctor Strange’s sling ring, promises Peter that he will never turn into an evil villain. Obviously, this is a way for the film to acknowledge both the persistent rumor mill as well as Ned Leeds’ comic book roots. Having Ned proclaim he will never turn against Peter was like something out of a Naked Gun movie.

Joke and allusions aside, if we pair the dialogue with Holland’s remarks, we have the recipe for Hobgoblin to arrive in the future films. With Batalon’s new physique and Ned’s sudden powers, the opportunity to bring this Spider-Man villain to life is there. All Ned has to do is unwittingly open a portal to the Multiverse and discover the Green Goblin’s toy stash, and the game will begin.

What’s more is that there is an opening for the Demogoblin. Since Ned is magical, that could mean that he becomes the demonic Hobgoblin down the Spider-road. If Ned were to experiment with magic and accidentally expose himself to the right dark entity, that could bring about the Demogoblin.

Of course, this could all be a set up for Ned to become the future Sorcerer Supreme of the MCU. I doubt many fans want to see that comedy routine, but I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to try it, either.

3. MILES MORALES

THE GOSSIP:This could upend the Spider-Verse. Most fans have been sure that Miles Morales is on Marvel Studios' agenda since Homecoming. Why wouldn’t he? Miles has a massive following through the comics and video games as well as cartoon appearances. Plus, the character appeals to a young audience with his hip-hop influences, and Marvel has clearly been shifting its aim to that demographic.”

THE VERDICT: Miles’ time is coming

Did anyone else notice how readily the three Spider-Man took off their masks in No Way Home? Practically every scene had them yanking away their masks and exposing their identities. As soon as Garfield’s Peter Parker stepped through Ned’s portal, he unmasked in front of three total strangers. I understand it was for the audience reaction, but it didn’t seem logical, either. Alas, such is Marvel Studios writing.

Toward the end of the movie, Jamie Foxx’s Electro is depowered and has a conversation with his universe’s Spider-Man. Garfield takes off his mask, and Electro says he is surprised that Spider-Man isn’t African-American. He takes it a step further up the foreshadowing ladder and muses that there must be a black Spider-Man out there somewhere. Unless you know absolutely nothing about modern Spider-Man lore, you got that reference.

Whether or not Marvel has found its live-action Miles Morales is questionable, but there is no doubt the studio is moving in that direction. Logically, the next step after introducing the Multiverse and alternate Spider-Men is to make good on Miles’ Homecoming Easter egg as well as incorporate Spider-Gwen from an alternate reality. Basically, if you thought No Way Home was a live-action Into the Spider-Verse, just wait.

2. VENOM

THE GOSSIP: “Speaking of Lizard and the invisible punch, another popular theory behind that moment is that the mystery man is none other than Venom. It’s not hard to connect the dots on this theory after the Venom: Let There Be Carnage mid-credits scene. Last we saw Tom Hardy/Venom, Eddie Brock and everyone’s favorite symbiote were enjoying a beach vacation when Venom attempted to connect with the hive mind. Fans of the Donny Cates Venom comic run know the hive mind is directly linked to Knull, God of the Symbiotes. Instead of getting a Knull tease, the screen shimmered and suddenly Venom is transported into the MCU. There on the television was J. Jonah Jameson reporting on Peter Parker being revealed as Spider-Man. That places the mid-credits scene in the same timeframe as the conclusion of Far From Home and the opening moments of No Way Home. 

“What really sparked people’s curiosity was (no surprise) after Tom Holland possibly dropping a major spoiler. Speaking to Cinemablend, the actor described the experience of working with Tom Hardy. ‘I was on set,’ Holland said. ‘Amy Pascal came over to me and had a conversation about it. I was very excited. Tom Hardy came to set only a few days later to film his side of the Venom tag.’ Was Holland referring to the LTBC bonus scene or a scene from No Way Home? That is the big question.”

THE VERDICT: Yes and no

In fact, Holland was referring to Hardy’s No Way Home scene.

As you know by now, that wasn’t a missing CGI Venom giving Lizard the ol’ phantom punch. Tom Hardy does appear as Eddie Brock/Venom in a mid-credits scene that caused many hearts to sink. In the footage, Eddie is in a bar, getting a rundown of the MCU from a bartender. Just when we think we’re going to get a tease of a Venom/Spider-Man meeting, Doctor Strange’s spell sends Eddie back to his corner of the Multiverse. All hope is not lost as Venom left behind a piece of itself, and that could lead to many symbiote-related adventures in the MCU. Whether or not we’ll see Hardy and Holland share the screen as their iconic characters is feeling more doubtful at the moment, but that could be by design to make their fateful meeting a bigger surprise.

Let’s say Hardy doesn’t return to the MCU. What then? Here’s an idea: Harry Osborn Venom. Tom Holland and Zendaya both want Timothee Chamalet in the next Spider-Man trilogy. What if Marvel Studios is taking a page from Sony’s gamer-verse? Remember that in the Spider-Man Playstation games, the symbiote has bonded to Harry Osborn. Instead of Eddie and the symbiote being Venom, it’s Harry and the alien costume. With the Venom spawn being left behind in the MCU, we could be on our way to an alternate Venom. This would give Marvel a chance to recreate two iconic Spider-Man characters that have never been seen in the MCU by combining Harry Osborn with Venom. 

Venom purists may not immediately get onboard with that idea, but I think we can agree that it’s a better option than seeing Tony Revelori’s Flash Thompson evolve into Agent Venom. Let’s be honest, it would be on brand for Marvel to ruin a character just for laughs.

1. THREE SPIDER-MEN

THE GOSSIP: “No matter how many times the actors deny the allegations, the fans are having none of it. Ever since Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx were announced for No Way Home, the natural inclination has been that we’ll also see the Spider-Men from the rest of the Sony-verse. That has created wave after wave of rumors that both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield have significant roles in the upcoming movie.

“In recent months, Garfield in particular has vehemently denied that he is involved with NWH. However, there has been a viral story of a fan claiming to have run into Maguire in a park. The story claims that when asked about NWH, Maguire simply winked and smirked. Of course, any anonymous, unsubstantiated tall tale that spreads like wildfire is 100% true, right? Absolutely. 

This may seem like the longest shot out of all today’s rumors, especially with the actors professing that Holland’s Spider-Man is the film’s only Spider-Man. Then again, so many rumors are already either coming true or look increasingly possible.”

THE VERDICT: Never trust an actor

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. After all, there was compelling evidence that NWH would feature all three Spider-Man movie actors. I bought Garfield’s lies because he was so vehement about not being in the movie. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to see Garfield and Maguire, I didn’t have high hopes. I’m glad that was my thinking because it made the big reveal that much sweeter.

The moral of the story: never trust the actors (but always trust tall tales on the internet). Garfield, Charlie Cox, and Vincent D’Onofrio all denied their involvement in the MCU. And in one week, all three appeared in the MCU; D’Onofrio reprised his role as Kingpin for Hawkeye, while Garfield and Cox debuted in NWH. From this moment on, I will ignore actors’ comments about not being in a Marvel production. Regardless, seeing Garfield and Maguire return to their Spider-Man roles was awesome, and I am actually glad that Garfield didn’t spoil the moment for all of us fans. 

Here’s an interesting tidbit that has recently surfaced: Sony is considering more Spider-Man movies with both Maguire and Garfield. I would like to see a team-up movie, but the rumor is that Sony wants two separate entries into their respective franchises. Two weeks ago, I would have laughed at that notion. No Way Home has rewritten the rules of engagement when it comes to competing movie franchises dealing with the same characters, and anything is possible. It really is a gift to the fans.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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