Alfred Molina first took on the nuclear-physicist-turned-megalomaniac Otto Octavius in the 2004 Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man 2. He is now reprising the role over 15 years later in the Tom Holland-led installment Spider-Man: No Way Home. Molina told Variety that he was “under orders not to talk about it” while shooting. However, the news “is all over the internet,” explained Molina, before labeling himself “the worst kept secret in Hollywood.” Molina then dished on the character’s return, giving a glimpse into a behind-the-scenes conversations he had with No Way Home director Jon Watts.
Speaking of working on No Way Home, Molina said “It was wonderful. 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.”
In Spider-Man 2, a lab accident transforms Peter Parker’s to-be mentor into the murderous Doc Ock – aptly named for the mechanical tentacles shooting out from his back. Doc Ock comes in direct conflict with Peter Parker as he yearns to perfect his experimental fusion reactor at all costs. Doc Ock wreaks havoc upon New York City until Parker appeals to the benevolence and humanity laying deep beneath Ock’s villainous surface. Ock then offs himself and his reactor into the East River, leading to his ultimate demise.
Spider-Man: No Way Home must explain how Doc Ock has come back from the dead, to which Watts said, “In this universe, no one really dies.” His reentrance will reportedly pick up from that “final” moment in the river, presumably allowing some multiverse magic to take the reins. Though Marvel Studios has rarely disappointed on the narrative front, Molina shared the personal dilemmas he had surrounding his return.
Speaking of the role, Molina explained that he was worried about his physicality. He understood that technical effects could remove the years visually but could not reverse the aging process in terms of movement. Molina referenced The Irishman, sharing, “They made Robert De Niro’s face younger, but when he was fighting, he looked like an older guy. He looked like an old guy! That’s what worried me about doing it again.” Yet, Molina then remembered a pivotal detail: “the tentacles do all the work!” Molina explained that “the arms are doing all the killing and smashing and breaking,” and he must merely maintain a menacing expression fixated on the camera.
Though neither Sony nor Marvel have explicitly confirmed the actor’s return, the news has been out for quite some time, and this interview merely gave fans another tidbit of information to theorize about. No Way Home is currently scheduled to premiere December 17, 2021.