A Fan Theory About ‘Doctor Strange’ Sequel May Explain Spider-Man’s Sudden Departure

Since the announcement of Spider-Man’s exit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), fans have wondered how Marvel Studios will address the superhero’s absence in future movies.

One fan theory may provide an explanation. It hinges upon Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange, set to premiere in 2021. Warning: Spoiler alerts about Spider-Man: Far From Home ahead. 

What’s the fan theory? 

As Comicbook.com pointed out, one fan theory has been making the rounds on Reddit and “is easily the best one floating around online.”

What is the theory?

Tom Holland
Tom Holland. | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Think back to how Spider-Man: Far From Home ended. Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) ended the movie by going on the run after his identity had been revealed and he was made out to be a villain or criminal. 

The fan theory is this: If Parker turned to Doctor Strange for help, he and his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) could end up in another universe practically identical to their current one but without Avengers, major threats to society in the way of evil superheroes, or Parker himself. 

Parker and his aunt would have to leave behind their home and everyone close to them and start over in an alternate universe. Upon doing so, he’d learn there were threats such as Venom and Carnage and he has no choice but to become Spider-Man once again. 

The theory also says this can all happen if one scene were added to the ending credits of the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, setting up Parker’s new storyline for future Spider-Man movies made by Sony. 

Why Spider-Man left the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Holland has played the character of Peter Parker or Spider-Man for the past four years. He played the role of the teen superhero wielding spidey powers in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and Captain America: Civil War (2016). 

So, why did Holland who has successfully played Spider-Man for close to five years have to leave the MCU? Because of failed negotiations between Sony Pictures and Disney over finances. 

Disney wanted to co-finance future Spider-Man movies while Sony wanted their financial agreement to remain the same. Unable to come to an agreement, Spider-Man and Holland had to leave the MCU. That means Holland’s Spider-Man won’t appear in any upcoming Marvel movies and other superheroes in the MCU won’t show up in any of Holland’s Spider-Man made by Sony. 

Partnership ‘never meant to last forever’ 

Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, commented on the failed negotiations and Spider-Man’s departure from the MCU saying the partnership between Sony and Disney wasn’t built to be a long-term deal. 

“It was never meant to last forever. We knew there was a finite amount of time that we’d be able to do this, and we told the story we wanted to tell, and I’ll always be thankful for that,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly following the announcement. 

While the announcement came as sad news to Marvel fans, Holland has publicly stated he’s optimistic amid the upset and said he’ll continue to play the role. As for his fellow superheroes in the MCU, they want Spider-Man and Holland to stay. Jeremy Renner who plays Hawkeye asked Sony to return the superhero to Marvel with an Instagram post.