Before the MCU brought most major Marvel Comics characters under a single franchise, there were different studios churning out Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and X-Men movies that existed in their own universes. In a recent Twitter exchange, filmmaker Scott Derrickson, who directed the first Doctor Strange movie, and is serving as executive producer on its sequel, took to Twitter to announce the previous version of live-action Spider-Man movies are canon to the MCU.
“All Spider-man iterations are defacto MCU.”
This statement from Scott Derrickson takes on a greater meaning considering where the MCU is headed in the next few years. In the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Sorcerer Supreme will travel into other realities and encounter alternate-versions of MCU superheroes. Fans are hoping that means past Marvel movies like Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man films and Hugh Jackman’s X-Men series will be acknowledged as belonging to those other realities.
Additionally, the upcoming Spider-Man 3 movie starring Tom Holland is rumored to include appearances from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as alternate Spider-Men, similar to what fans saw in the 2018 animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. The fact that Derrickson is confident that the previous live-action Spider-Men are already a part of the MCU is another hint that Maguire and Garfield may be showing up in the superhero franchise someday.
The concept of alternate realities that all exist within the larger multiverse might be difficult for regular audiences to wrap their heads around, but comics have been making use of that premise for decades. In fact, the MCU’s rival DCEU has already established their own Multiverse in the CW’s Arrowverse shows, where a surprise cameo by Ezra Miller as the Flash confirmed that different versions of DC superheroes in movies and on TV are all part of the same multiverse, separated into different universes.
While Derrickson was initially attached to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he eventually left the project following disagreements over the direction in which the movie should go. Reportedly, Marvel Studios was unhappy with the strong horror vibe that Derrickson wanted to imbue the project with.
After Derrickson left the film, horror legend Sam Raimi was brought on in his stead. Not only was Raimi responsible for the Spider-Man trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire, but he is also the creative force behind the Evil Dead franchise. Based on his impressive track record, fans are very excited to see what Raimi does with the bizarre and often terrifying world of Doctor Strange.
For now, there is no word yet on whether even a single version of Spider-Man will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But it has already been confirmed that Doctor Strange will appear in Spider-Man 3. It remains to be seen whether the good doctor will be bringing along the chaos of the multiverse into Spidey’s domain, and whether or not that would set up an iconic meet-and-greet between Maguire, Garfield, and Holland’s Spider-Men.