Doctor Octopus’ second redemption, this time in Spider-Man: No Way Home, is another proof of why a traditional Sinister Six movie cannot happen. 17 years after captivating audiences in Spider-Man 2, Alfred Molina returned to the role of Otto Octavius bringing the same brilliance of his original performance. Even though the character had already received a beautiful ending in Spider-Man 2, No Way Home found a way to bring Doctor Octopus back for yet another adventure without compromising the character’s previous arc. This formula, however, may be difficult to replicate in future productions.
Sony’s original Sinister Six movie idea goes back to the days of The Amazing Spider-Man series. Already during Andrew Garfield’s second film, the studio planted several seeds that would lead to a Spider-Man villains’ team-up movie and hit with several simultaneous plotlines to make that idea into a reality. That approach did not work as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was critically panned for its overstuffed story leading to the studio pulling the plug on the franchise.
Although most of the Sinister Six lineups in the comics usually feature Doctor Octopus as their leader, Otto’s redemption in both Spider-Man 2 and No Way Home makes it unlikely for him to be in charge of a live-action version of the group. On top of that, Alfred Molina’s take on the character is closer to a Jekyll-Hyde situation than it is to a criminal mastermind who would come up with elaborated evil plans for the team. In order for a Sinister Six movie to successfully happen in a post-No Way Home world, it would have to reimagine Doc Ock’s role in the team or not feature the character at all. Another option that can avoid hurting Otto’s arc would be a team of redeemed villains and anti-heroes fighting a greater evil, very much like the Venom movies have done so far, instead of the classic team-up against Spider-Man. Regardless, making a Sinister Six movie after No Way Home is more difficult now.
With the Spider-Man films now being co-produced by Marvel Studios, Sony has managed to redouble its efforts in making solo films about Spider-Man villains. The “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe” as the company calls it has seen Tom Hardy star in two successful productions as Venom with movies centered around the characters of Morbius and Kraven the Hunter on the way. Even if these individual entries continue to work, a Sinister Six film remains unlikely to be made as No Way Home has already used the villain’s team-up concept. Spider-Man might have already faced a group of six supervillains, had Marvel and Sony decided to put Mysterio in No Way Home as it was originally intended.
The confirmation given by No Way Home that Doctor Octopus was never beyond redemption shows that the chances of a traditional Sinister Six movie happening are very low. How memorable Alfred Molina’s take of the character was added to the fact that No Way Home has already played with the idea of Spidey’s main villains teaming up makes it unlikely that Sony will go back to the original Sinister Six movie plan. That said, a reinterpretation of the group or a change in the lineup to add other characters such as Venom and Morbius can never be ruled out.
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