Why The MCU Will Never Be The Same After Spider-Man: No Way Home

Warning: There are spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home" throughout this article.

After every Marvel Studios release, someone declares that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same again. While that may sound like hyperbole, a whole lot of  world-changing things happen in these movies and TV shows (sometimes literally), and "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is no exception. 

However, the ramifications don't just affect Peter Parker and his friendly neighborhood in the MCU. We're talking about events that could reach across the multiverse, not just the likelihood of "Rogers: The Musical" sweeping the Tonys, or the massive promotional campaign that included adding Captain America's shield to the Statue of Liberty (it doesn't stay there for very long). 

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Sanctum Sanctorum

Before he goes on to his next adventure in "Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness," Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme helps his fellow Avenger out with a spell to make the world forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Though they certainly didn't mean to do it, Peter and Strange opened up the MCU to the multiverse with their botched spell. And it's for real this time, not just a scripted piece of backstory made up by Mysterio. 

Between Spider-Man and Dr. Strange drawing people from the multiverse into their universe, Loki jumping around to different timelines, and the Scarlet Witch's ability to augment reality, it really will be madness going forward from here. The possibilities are so endless that it's hard to even speculate what could come next. Could more Marvel Legacy characters from non-MCU movies? Could the Fantastic Four or the X-Men enter the MCU by breaking through the multiverse's barriers? These things are now on the table thanks to "Spider-Man: No Way Home", but we'll just have to wait and see how these story elements are incorporated into the narrative moving forward.

While we take some time to speculate, we should actually make a correction. We have to say former Sorcerer Supreme when we refer to Dr. Stephen Strange now, because there is a new head honcho in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Because Strange was "blipped" for five years when Thanos snapped the fingers of the Infinity Gauntlet, Wong stepped up and he was named the new Sorcerer Supreme ("on a technicality," Strange grumbles). I can't help but think of that Paul Rudd moment from his "Hot Ones" appearance. Look at us, Wong. Who would have thought that Strange's servant from the comics would be elevated on the big screen from a Master of the Mythic Arts in his own right to Sorcerer Supreme? Not me, but I don't hate it! And I definitely can't wait to see Dr. Strange answer to Wong for his actions in this movie when they get back to the Sanctum.

The Man Without Fear

Dr. Strange wasn't the only hero looking to help Peter after his life got turned upside down thanks to Mysterio. Aunt May and Happy Hogan enlisted the legal services of Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock to help them navigate the craziness from the law's point of view. It was a quick scene, but it gave us a lot to work with. Not only did we get to see Matt do his thing as a lawyer, he also saved Peter from getting hit in the head with a brick that flew through their window. Not exactly beating up bad guys in a hallway with a club, but it was still a small glimpse of the Daredevil that we came to know and love from the acclaimed Netflix series.

Speaking of that series, does Matt's appearance mean that those shows ("Daredevil," "Luke Cage," "Jessica Jones," "Iron Fist," "The Punisher," and "The Defenders") are now part of the proper MCU canon? Another familiar face from those shows popped up in this week's episode of "Hawkeye," so it's very much a possibility. Or, just like they've done with "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and the Darkhold, Kevin Feige and company could be picking and choosing what elements from the Marvel Television projects will be sticking around after that division was folded into Marvel Studios. My guess is that the Netflix shows follow variants of the Defenders, but the Sacred Timeline versions of themselves look like and have very similar lives to those variants. (Fingers crossed that the MCU's Danny Rand ends up being completely different though.) Either way, it will be very cool to see how they work around the in-universe and real world logistics of these characters being added to the MCU.

Does Whatever A Spider Can

Naturally, after the events of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," the biggest changes are those that directly affect the titular web-slinging hero. While trying to stop the villains from the multiverse by curing them of their villainous ailments, Spider-Man is bested by Green Goblin in a battle that tragically costs Marisa Tomei's May Parker her life. This heart-breaking moment drives Tom Holland's Peter into a rage we've never seen in him thus far. Thankfully, Ned, MJ, and the Spider-Men from the multiverse were able to help him focus on their mission, which was one that Aunt May herself fought for: "With great power there must also come great responsibility."

As if this loss wasn't enough, Peter makes the difficult decision to have Doctor Strange erase him from everyone's memories in order to keep the multiverse from descending upon his world. With one more spell to correct their mistakes, the day is saved — but no one knows who Peter Parker is any more. It's so heart-breaking to see Ned, MJ, and Happy interact with him post-spell, but thanks to Peter's choice to not reintroduce himself to them, he can go on as Spider-Man anonymously without the worry that his enemies might target his loved ones again. Armed with that extremely depressing double-edged sword, he has a completely clean slate now.

It'll be interesting to see how he refills that slate for both parts of his life though. While we did see Peter get a new apartment at the end of the movie, many are likely curious to see how Peter manages to work the system so he has a social security number or health records when he eventually applies to MIT again after he inevitably aces his GED. But more importantly, what exactly do his Avengers colleagues and the general public remember about Spider-Man? Clearly, he's still a menace (according to J. Jonah Jameson) after the spell was cast, so the world remembers Peter's superhero alter ego. Basically, it's a "Brand New Day" for Holland's Spider-Man and the possibilities are as endless as the multiverse itself. No matter what happens next, True Believers are ready to swing along for the ride.