This week delivered some shocking but hugely exciting news for Spider-Man 3. Benedict Cumberbatch has reportedly signed on to return as Doctor Strange in the threequel. The good doctor’s involvement might tell us many things, including that it potentially confirms the movie having a multiverse angle, but it’s also exciting just because it means we get more of the fun dynamic between Peter Parker and Stephen Strange.
It’s interesting to note, then, that star Tom Holland teased this pairing way back in summer 2019. While promoting Spider-Man: Far From Home, Holland told CinemaBlend that he wanted to work with his fellow British actor again as he enjoyed the science vs. magic contrast between the two characters.
“I’m really wanting to do a team-up with Doctor Strange, because we’re both New Yorkers and I just really like the idea of a science guy being teamed up with a guy who does magic,” Holland said. “Because it totally contradicts everything he knows. And I like the idea that there is real science that Peter Parker talks about, and then there’s Doctor Strange gibberish, where he’s like, ‘The time rift and the thing and the thing.’ So it’s kind of fun.”
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So, did Holland know something about what Marvel were planning way back then, or is his enthusiasm for a Doctor Strange team-up what inspired it to become a reality in the first place? Well, we know that Holland has some sway by this point, as he was even involved in the re-negotiations between Marvel and Sony that allowed Spidey to stick around the MCU. And Marvel also probably thought it was a good idea after seeing Holland and Cumberbatch’s hilarious dynamic when they were paired together on the Avengers: Infinity War press tour in 2018.
Of course, Cumberbatch’s Strange will be Parker’s new mentor in Spider-Man 3, following on from his late, beloved father figure Tony Stark and Nick Fury (or at least his Skrull double) in Far From Home. Strange and the web-head also have a long history of working together in the comics. We can maybe infer, then, that the Sorcerer Supreme is key to how Jamie Foxx will return as Electro, given that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will break down the walls between realities.