Let's not begin by pretending we didn't know that Doctor Strange is going to be an integral part of Spider-Man: No Way Home. It is has been known pretty much since the movie began production that Benedict Cumberbatch will be reprising his role as the Sorcerer Supreme in Spider-Man's much awaited next outing, before he tackles the Multiverse of Madness in his next solo movie. New shots from the set of the movie have however given us a first look at Cumberbatch acting opposite Tom Holland in the new film which has so far been far from forthcoming with information.
The leaked photos are not the first from the set of the movie, but it is the first time we have been able to see Doctor Strange in his full garb. In what appears to be a shot outside Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, the good Doctor is pictured standing on the steps while Tom Holland's red and black suited Spider-man can be seen on the opposite side of the street. The shots appear to have been taken on a set with blue screens behind the shot, suggesting that it is a studio set and there will be some post-production background work being done to the scenes.
While many joked that Kevin Fiege is going to be soon knocking on doors to discover who leaked the images, it was good to finally see Benedict Cumberbatch on the set in some shape or form. While there has still been no kind of confirmation of many of the multiverse based theories and rumors being touted around, sometimes you just have to take the little nuggets that do come your way and with no trailer and little known about the storyline, little shots like this are like winning the lottery to many fans.
What is known is that Spider-Man: No Way Home takes place after the events of Loki. Just as Far From Home served as an epilogue to Avengers: Endgame, No Way Home is thought to act as a prologue to Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, which makes sense in many ways. It has already been confirmed that Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx will be reprising their Spider-Man villain roles from the Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield eras of the web-slinger's adventures, suggesting that Tom Holland's Spidey will find himself tossed around in some alternative timeline shenanigans which may or may not lead to him joining forces with his previous incarnations. Doctor Strange will be acting as a Tony Stark mentor to Peter Parker in the movie, seemingly giving Parker's alter-ego some new sorcery tricks as part of his new suit. Finally, the mere presence of Doctor Strange in the movie is a big hint that by the end of No Way Home, there are going to be a lot of issues for him to attempt to resolve in his own movie.
Loki director Kate Herron recently explained in an interview with ComicBook.com how she never collaborated with the directors of these movies, but they did have producers making sure that the overall storyline was being kept on track. "Not between filmmakers. So basically every filmmaker has a sort of, you work with an executive producer from Marvel," she said. "So I was working with a producer called Kevin Wright and he would have those internal conversations and then he would come back and be like, 'This is anything we need to shift from that bigger multi-verse conversation.' So there definitely was places that in the story we tweaked it, but particularly in how we explain stuff in the Miss Minutes video. And then obviously like When He Remains is telling his story and how he did everything, I think that was, we had an idea, but it was sort of always evolving based upon the ripple effect of the nature of the beast basically."
Spider-Man: No Way Home arrives in cinemas on December 17, 2021.