Failed No Way Home Casting Opportunity Robbed Us of a Perfect Doc Ock (Sorry, Alfred Molina)

Failed No Way Home Casting Opportunity Robbed Us of a Perfect Doc Ock (Sorry, Alfred Molina)
Image credit: Legion-Media

Doctor Otto Octavius is one of Spider-Man's most compelling villains.

He defeated Spider-Man in their first battle, once almost married Aunt May, and even took over Spidey's body and became the Superior Spider-Man. Introduced way back in The Amazing Spider-Man #3, he's one of Marvel's oldest and most established villains.

Thus far, Alfred Molina has been the only person to play Doc Ock in a live-action Spider-Man movie – widely touted as one of the greatest villain portrayals in any superhero movie.

He starred in 2004's Spider-Man 2 as a tragic villain, a brilliant scientist who became driven by ego, vengeance, and an AI robot with its tethers in his brain. He returned in the MCU 's Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021 after an insane reveal in the trailer months prior.

As incredible as the multiverse plotline was – bringing several iconic actors back into their roles alongside Tom Holland – it was ultimately fan service.

Doc Ock is too popular and too important of a character to not be brought into the MCU's main Earth-616 timeline, complete with a new backstory and a new actor.

While Molina may be the archetype of a perfect Doc Ock, they'd want a younger actor who can play the role for years to come. Moreover, a new actor would allow the MCU to separate itself from its past, focusing on the future rather than continuously delivering fan service.

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A few actors have been fan-cast as Octavius, including Mark Hamill, Rainn Wilson, Jon Hamm, and Christoph Waltz.

Our favorite fan cast came from a piece of Instagram fan art from @savagecomics – Michael Shannon in comic-accurate Doc Ock threads.

Shannon has the perfect sense of tonality and facial expressions needed to play a cartoonish, comic-book villain; he once played General Zod, the classic Superman villain.

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His menacing voice would fit perfectly with Doc Ock's long-winded monologues, juxtaposed with Tom Holland's classic Spidey quips.

More than that, he just looks the part. Savage Comic's fan art looks like it was pulled straight from a modern Spider-Man comic.

Shannon was portrayed wearing a comic-accurate Doc Ock costume: Green torso, yellow gloves, and shaded goggles. Past comic book movies – like the one Molina starred in – shied away from giving their characters costumes that were too "over-the-top." But the MCU has since excelled at doing just that – dressing their characters in a comic-accurate manner without making it look goofy.

While we all loved Molina as Doc Ock, a time to recast will soon come. If Michael Shannon looks half as good on-screen as he did in Savage Comics fan art, we're all for a new Doctor Octopus.