The Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer finally debuted earlier this week, and it promised that the incoming threequel will be all that we’ve been hoping for—a multiversal adventure featuring a Sinister Six made up of villains from past Spidey franchises. And to top it all off, we’ve got the fun dynamic of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange. At least, that’s what it looks like.
You see, fans immediately became suspicious of Strange because he’s portrayed very differently in the No Way Home trailer than we’ve seen him before. The Sorcerer Supreme, known for being sarcastic and anti-social, is strangely pally with Peter. That we could buy, as it might just be a more light-hearted take on the character to fit with the Spider-Man movie vibe. However, his reckless decision to perform a reality-altering spell at the webhead’s request is raising major red flags. And would Strange really mess it up just because Peter got too chatty?
There’s a strong feeling going around, then, that this might not actually be the real Strange. With Doctor Strange 2 coming immediately after NWH, it’s feasible for the good doctor to be busy elsewhere at this point, allowing for someone else to impersonate him. But who could it be? One idea is Mephisto, because of course. Another theory, though, suggests Strange might really be Quentin Beck AKA Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Seeing as he’s the master of illusions, it’s widely thought that Beck might’ve only faked his death in Far From Home, meaning that framing Peter for his murder could be just step one in a larger scheme for revenge. He also claimed to be from another Earth in FFH, indicating an interest and knowledge of the multiverse.
The trailer depicted Strange performing some very authentic-looking magic—like punching Peter’s astral form from his body—so the real one clearly factors into the film to some degree. But maybe only after Mysterio’s subterfuge has been uncovered.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to swing into cinemas on Dec. 17.