Spider-Man, the franchise, owes a lot to Alfred Molina. Out of the various villains who’ve popped up in the 8 Spider-Man films made since 2002, Molina’s Otto Octavius is generally held up as the best, nailing the blend of sympathetic and sociopathic required to really get under Peter Parker’s skin. That legacy is part of what’s made the unconfirmed reports that Molina would be reprising his Spider-Man 2 role for the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home so exciting. Unconfirmed by Sony or Marvel, anyway; Molina’s perfectly happy to confirm the shit out of this news.
That’s per Variety, which talked to Molina this week about his role in the Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman, and then learned that he was 100 percent game to also talk about slipping back into the tentacles for the third Tom Holland Spider-Man film. “When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret,” Molina said, before noting that the news was all over the internet by early December. “I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!”
Molina, as he typically is in interviews, was both funny and self-effacing about the return performance, noting that, “It was very interesting going back after 17 years to play the same role, given that in the intervening years, I now have two chins, a wattle, crow’s feet and a slightly dodgy lower back.” He also talked about re-discovering the secret to truly great Doc Ock acting: “I then remembered that it’s the tentacles that do all the work,” he joked, before noting that his major physical contribution was a serious glower.
In terms of plot stuff, Molina stayed mostly quiet—presumably so that the Marvel anti-spoiler snipers watching him like a hawk wouldn’t get the call to take the shot. But he did confirm that, from Otto’s point of view, he’s emerging right after going into the river in Spider-Man 2. (When asked about the timeline on that, re: his face, director Jon Watts apparently asked Molina, “Did you see what we did to Bob Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson?’”) When Molina asked about the whole dying thing, meanwhile, Watts told him, “In this universe, no one really dies.”
One topic Molina did not get into, though, were the No Way Home cameo rumors that still have the heftiest question marks still swirling around them, i.e.: Will Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield also be popping up in the film, which is expected to send Tom Holland’s Spidey spiraling far and wide through The Multiverse Of Marketing? Not even Molina’s willing to brave that particular firewall of studio secrecy, apparently.