Summary

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home revealed that Doctor Octopus knew the Green Goblin’s secret identity.
  • The explanation for this surprising reveal could stem from Doctor Octopus’s ability to hack into devices, as showcased in the comics.
  • This newfound knowledge sheds light on the intricate connections between characters in the Raimi Spider-Man universe.



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One confusing mystery in Spider-Man: No Way Home was solved over 17 years before the MCU film by an often-overlooked part of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise. No Way Home brought Spider-Man movie villains back to cinemas and allowed them to interact with each other in ways that the original Spider-Man film franchises rendered impossible. Case in point: Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus shared scenes with Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, despite the latter having died before the former became a supervillain. Yet – rather confusingly – Doctor Octopus is revealed to have known that the Green Goblin’s secret identity is Norman Osborn.


No Way Home retroactively establishes that Octavius knew Norman Osborn, and while this is not surprising – both are brilliant scientists in their Marvel universe – Otto’s knowledge of Osborn’s greatest secret is. After Norman Osborn’s death, Octavius partnered with Oscorp Technologies (run by Harry Osborn at the time) for his fusion experiments, yet Spider-Man 2 gave no indication that Octavius would know about Norman’s murderous alter ego. While No Way Home never explains how Octavius discovered Norman’s secret, a canonical part of the Raimi Spider-Man universe provides the best potential answer to this odd mystery.

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Canonical Raimi Spider-Man spinoff materials reveal that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man shares a universe with many Marvel superheroes and supervillains.



The Spider-Man 2 Novel Reveals One Of Doctor Octopus’s Secret Abilities

The Spider-Man 2 novelization by Peter David, like other non-movie materials in the Raimi Spider-Man franchise, expands the story and lore of the three films with more dialogue, scenes, and characters. When confronting Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in a café, Doctor Octopus reveals a hidden ability of his iconic mechanical tentacles:

My babies are multitalented. This entire city’s communications system lives and dies on fiber optics, which my tentacles are easily able to plug into.

In context, Doctor Octopus used this ability to tap Peter Parker’s phone and learn of his whereabouts to confront him. This hidden ability also inadvertently provides one of the best possible explanations for how Doctor Octopus would have learned that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin. Considering his goal of obtaining more tritium for his fusion device from Harry Osborn, it is reasonable to assume that Doctor Octopus used this ability to hack the Osborn penthouse’s devices as well, inadvertently discovering the Goblin lair (which uses Oscorp computers) and thus connecting the dots that the late Osborn was the Goblin.


The Raimi universe’s novels, video games, and spinoff comics also reveal that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man has a far larger rogue’s gallery than what the films show and that he shares a universe with many other Marvel superheroes.

Doc Ock’s Hacking Abilities Originate From The Comics

Fascinatingly, Doctor Octopus’s enhanced hacking abilities originate in Marvel’s comics. In the infamous Clone Saga, Kaine (a Peter Parker clone) murdered the original Doc Ock, but he was soon succeeded by Carolyn Trainer, a brilliant student and admirer of his. Trainer equipped herself with a set of Octavius’s mechanical tentacles and declared herself the new Doctor Octopus, using the same deadly gadgetry – and adding her own new ones to the tentacles – as her predecessor against Spider-Man and his clone, Ben Reily.


One of Carolyn Trainer’s additions to the tentacles’ arsenal is an enhanced ability to connect to and hack computers. As shown in one conflict with Alistaire Smythe (a genius in his own right), Trainer quickly and effortlessly hacked into one of Smythe’s devices. Once Otto Octavius was resurrected – courtesy of the criminal organization The Hand – Trainer returned the tentacles to him, granting him the same enhanced hacking abilities as his short-lived successor. Considering the comic accuracy of Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, it is fitting that he includes this obscure ability from the comics.

The Doctor Octopus Hacking Explanation Makes The Most Sense


The true identity of the Green Goblin was not public knowledge in the Raimi Spider-Man universe, though the Goblin’s death by impalement was, as revealed by the Sandman in No Way Home. The Raimi universe’s Otto Octavius was a genius who could have potentially figured out Osborn’s secret on his own – but the fact is, he was a good man before becoming Doctor Octopus. It is perhaps too much of a stretch to suggest that Octavius would have kept this knowledge to himself while working closely with Harry Osborn and Oscorp Technologies.

Having Octavius discover the Green Goblin’s identity after becoming a supervillain makes far more sense, as Doc Ock would have no reason or interest in acting on this knowledge. As Doctor Octopus, Otto had no interest in the dirty secrets of his late colleague, as he was almost completely preoccupied with rebuilding his fusion device at any cost. While Doctor Octopus would have taken this knowledge with him to his watery grave in the main Raimi timeline, Spider-Man: No Way Home allows him to reflect on his discovery and interact with the Green Goblin onscreen.


Spider-Man No Way Home Poster

Spider-Man: No Way Home

For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the trials and tribulations of being a superhero. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) asks for help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) when his identity becomes a problem for the ones he loves. Unfortunately, when the spell goes wrong, Spider-Man will now have to face off with villains such as Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) as Peter finally comes to terms that he can’t run from being Spider-Man. Supported by his close friends and help from an unexpected place (or multiverse), Spider-Man will go toe-to-toe with some of the most legendary foes in his storied history.

Release Date
December 17, 2021

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