Otto Octavius
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and
Marvel Cinematic Universe
character
Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2.jpg
Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2 (2004)
First appearanceSpider-Man 2 (2004)
Last appearanceSpider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Based on
Adapted by
Portrayed byAlfred Molina
Voiced by
In-universe information
Full nameOtto Octavius
AliasDoctor Octopus
NicknameDoc Ock
SpeciesHuman cyborg
TitleDoctor
OccupationPhysicist
AffiliationOscorp Industries
WeaponFour robotic arms with artificial intelligence
SpouseRosalie "Rosie" Octavius
NationalityAmerican

Otto Octavius is a fictional character portrayed by Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2 (2004) and later in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Octavius is introduced in Spider-Man 2 as a nuclear physicist and friend and mentor of Peter Parker, whose research into fusion power with his wife Rosie (portrayed by Donna Murphy) is being sponsored by Oscorp's genetic and scientific research division, headed by Harry Osborn.

When Octavius' fusion reactor experiment using tritium becomes unstable, resulting in Rosie's death, the harness of powerful robotic tentacle arms equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) which he was using to safely handle the materials is fused to his body, burning the inhibitor chip keeping the arms from controlling his nervous system. After ending up in the hospital and massacring the surgeons attempting to save Octavius by sawing them off, the arms' AI begin influencing his mind and convince him to steal funds in order to attempt the experiment again, over the course of which crime spree the Daily Bugle dubs him Doctor Octopus, or "Doc Ock" for short. Along the way, he comes into conflict with Spider-Man, with Osborn offering to give Octavius the tritium he needs to complete his experiment in exchange for handing him over to him. Ultimately, as the experiment begins to destroy New York City, Spider-Man reveals himself as Peter to Octavius after damaging his arms, and inspires him to regain control of them and sacrifice himself to sink the fusion reactor into the East River, where he presumably drowns.

The character returns in Spider-Man: No Way Home, being transported into another universe shortly before his death, due to a magic spell gone wrong causing a rupture in the multiverse, and ends up clashing with that universe's Spider-Man and his allies. After Spider-Man replaces his faulty inhibitor chip with a working one, Octavius regains control of his arms and mental state like he did before his original death, and joins Spider-Man and two alternate versions of him in fighting other universe-displaced supervillains, including Octavius' former colleague and Harry's father Norman. After briefly reuniting with his version of Spider-Man, now older, Octavius is returned to his universe. Molina has expressed further interest in reprising the role in the in-development Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU) film based on The Sinister Six.

Molina's performance as the character, considered one of the earliest portrayals of Octavius as a tragic villain, has been positively received by critics and audiences, and the character has come to be considered to be one of the most iconic villains in superhero films.

Concept and creation

Alfred Molina in 2009
Alfred Molina in 2009

The character of Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus first appeared in print in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963), and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.[1][2][3][4] Lee recounted: "usually in creating a villain the first thing I would think of was a name, and then I would try to think of, 'Well, now that I've got the name, who's the character going to be and what will he do?' For some reason, I thought of an octopus. I thought, 'I want to call somebody Octopus. And I want him to have a couple of extra arms just for fun'. But I had to figure out how to do that".[5] The character soon re-appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #11-12 and then again in #31-33, becoming a fan favorite.

Otto Octavius was originally intended to be the secondary antagonist of Spider-Man (2002), but director Sam Raimi eventually dropped the concept in favor of spending more time with Harry and Norman Osborn.[6] Raimi decided to use Octavius as the main antagonist of Spider-Man 2 (2004) due to being both a visually interesting villain and a character who could be seen as sympathetic.[7] Before Alfred Molina was cast in the role several actors were considered for the role, including Ed Harris, Chris Cooper (who would later portray Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Christopher Walken, and Robert De Niro;[8][9] In February 2003, Molina was cast as Octavius for the film, undergoing physical training for the role.[10]

Raimi had been impressed by his performance in Frida (2002) and also felt that his large physical size was true to the comic book character.[11] Molina was unaware that he was a strong contender for the role, only briefly discussing it.[7] He was excited to get the role, being a big fan of Marvel Comics.[12] Although he was not familiar with Doc Ock, Molina wanted to maintain the cruel, sardonic sense of humor the character had in the comics.[13]

Special effects

To create Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles, Edge FX was hired to create a corset, a metal and rubber girdle, a rubber spine and four foam rubber tentacles which were 8 feet (2.4 m) long and altogether weighed 100 pounds (45 kg). The claws of each tentacle, which were called "death flowers", were controlled by one puppeteer sitting on a chair. Each tentacle was controlled by four people, who rehearsed every scene with Molina so that they could give a natural sense of movement as if the tentacles were moving due to Octavius' muscle movement.[10] On set, Molina referred to his tentacles as "Larry", "Harry", "Moe" and "Flo".[14]

For Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles were created through CGI instead of puppetry. According to Tom Holland, Molina had to subsequently "relearn" how to act using them.[15]

Return of the character

Molina first expressed interest in portraying the character again in The Amazing Spider-Man series. In an August 2014 interview, while promoting Love Is Strange (2014), Molina expressed his openness to return as Doctor Octopus in a film based on the Sinister Six, then-intended for a 2016 release, after the character's appearance in that film was teased at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), but reflected that the filmmakers could choose to go for another actor.[16] By September 2019, an untitled The Sinister Six film had re-entered development,[17] Amy Pascal stating the following October that it would feature villains of Marvel Studios' Spider-Man films.[18] By September 2021, the film was confirmed to be in active development, to be set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe.[19]

After The Amazing Spider-Man film series was cancelled, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced in February 2015 that Spider-Man would appear in the MCU, with the character appearing in an MCU film and Sony releasing a Spider-Man film co-produced by Feige and Pascal. Sony Pictures would continue to own, finance, distribute, and exercise final creative control over the Spider-Man films.[20] "For the first few films, it was always, 'How do we do things that have never been done before?' It did not occur to us to do a new Goblin story, or to do an Oscorp story, or to do Doc Ock, or anyone that had been done before, which is why Vulture and Mysterio were really the key characters," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige reflected. Feige conceded "you can't get better than Alfred Molina as Doc Ock" and furthered that if they "were ever going to bring Doc Ock back, it would have to be Alfred Molina and in early development on this third Homecoming movie, we realized that thanks to the MCU, there was a way to do that."[21]

In December 2020, it was reported that Molina would reprise his role as the character in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), which is intended to be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[22] In April 2021, Molina confirmed his involvement with film, calling it "wonderful" to reprise his role. He also revealed that Octavius's story in the film would pick up mere moments after the events of Spider-Man 2. Molina was digitally de-aged in the film to resemble how he appeared in 2004, despite his concerns about his fighting style not looking realistic due to his age in a similar way to Robert De Niro's character in The Irishman (2019).[23]

Fictional character biography

Early life

Otto Octavius is a brilliant nuclear physicist, a friend of Dr. Curt Connors, and a scientific idol of Peter Parker, who aims to write his college paper on him. His work is connected to and funded by Oscorp, run by Norman Osborn, whom Octavius knew. Years later, Osborn would become the Green Goblin after an experiment involving super-soldiers gone wrong and die while fighting Spider-Man; Octavius later attended his funeral.[a] Despite this, Octavius continues his work with his wife and lab assistant, Rosie.

Becoming Doctor Octopus

Further information: Spider-Man 2

Two years later, Parker meets Octavius through Norman's son and the former’s best friend Harry Osborn. Octavius initially dismisses Parker until he remembers that Oscorp funds his research and that Parker is the "brilliant but lazy" student of Dr. Curt Connors, after which Octavius takes a liking to Parker because of his intelligence and shared interests. Octavius creates an artificial sun with four mechanical tentacles controlled by a back-mounted harness and a neural inhibitor chip on his neck as part of a fusion reactor experiment using tritium. However, the experiment goes awry, resulting in Rosie's death, the harness being fused to his body, and the inhibitor chip controlling the arms being destroyed. Octavius ends up in the hospital, but the arms' artificial intelligence (AI) massacre the surgeons attempting to save him and convince him to steal funds and attempt the experiment again.

Along the way, he comes into conflict with Spider-Man and offers to bring him to Harry in exchange for more tritium. To lure Spider-Man, Octavius kidnaps Mary Jane Watson and battles him atop an elevated train, which he sends careening out of control. Octavius takes Spider-Man captive, delivers him to Harry, keeps Watson as a hostage, and begins another attempt at the fusion reactor experiment. Spider-Man arrives to stop him and damages the arms before revealing his identity as Parker to remind Octavius of how he believed intelligence should be used for good.[b] Inspired by Parker's words, Octavius regains control of his arms and sacrifices himself to sink the fusion reactor into the East River.

Entering an alternate reality

Further information: Spider-Man: No Way Home

In an alternate reality, Dr. Stephen Strange casts a spell to erase people's memories of Peter Parker (later nicknamed "Peter-One")'s identity as Spider-Man, but Peter-One's frequent alterations causes the spell to bring in people from across the multiverse who knew Parker's identity, including Octavius while strangling his version of Parker (nicknamed "Peter-Two"), moments before the latter can redeem Octavius. After being transported to this new reality, Octavius encounters Peter-One on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. Believing Peter-One is his Spider-Man, Octavius battles him and steals a piece of his nanotechnological Iron Spider suit, upgrading his arms. After discovering Peter-One is not his Parker, Octavius loses control of his arms when Peter-One uses the stolen nanotechnology to hack into them. Peter-One interrogates Octavius, but they are interrupted by the Green Goblin, whom Octavius recognizes as Osborn. Strange teleports the two of them to the New York Sanctum and locks Octavius in a cell next to an alternate version of Curt Connors. Later, Octavius meets Max Dillon and Flint Marko, and reunites with Osborn; the two learn from Marko that they both died while fighting their Spider-Man.

When Peter-One offers to cure the villains, Octavius is reluctant, believing he does not need fixing. Nonetheless, Peter-One and Osborn give him a new inhibitor chip, giving Octavius his humanity and control over his arms back. Octavius expressed his gratitude to Peter-One for his help and offered to help cure the remaining villains, but Osborn's Goblin personality takes control and convinces the uncured villains to fight back. Octavius attempts to stop them, but is blasted out of a building by Dillon and forced to escape. Later on, Octavius reunites with Parker and Peter-One before joining forces with them and a third version of Parker (nicknamed "Peter-Three") to cure Dillon and fight back against the Goblin. Afterwards, Strange returns the displaced individuals back to their native universes, with Octavius taking an arc reactor back with him.

In other media

Video games

Reception and legacy

Alfred Molina's role in Spider-Man 2 was widely well-received. In May 2014, IndieWire ranked him as the 5th greatest film supervillain of all time.[24] Additionally, Abraham Riesman of Vulture.com in his February 2018 list placed the character as number 16 in the rank of his 25 greatest movie supervillains.[25] The special effects used for his robotic arms were also praised, with Roger Ebert calling it the film's "special-effects triumph".[26] Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro stated that Octavius was a "pleasingly complex" villain in Spider-Man 2,[27] with Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times concurring with Caro, opining, "Doc Ock grabs this film with his quartet of sinisterly serpentine mechanical arms and refuses to let go."[28] IGN's Richard George felt "Sam Raimi and his writing team delivered an iconic, compelling version of Spider-Man's classic foe... We almost wish there was a way to retroactively add some of these elements to the original character."[29] Empire also praised Octavius as a "superior villain" in 2015.[30]

The character’s revival in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) was spotlighted before the release of the film with a trailer. The reveal was cited as a highlight and inspired various Internet memes of the scene of Octavius saying "Hello, Peter".[31][32] Looking back at the Sam Raimi trilogy, Tom Holland, who portrays Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, praised Molina's performance in Spider-Man 2, noting that he was initially terrified of the character back when he saw Spider-Man 2 for the first time.[33] Holland later expressed his enjoyment at later working with Molina in Spider-Man: No Way Home, calling Molina "one of [his] favorite people [he]'s ever worked with".[15] Neil Soans,[34] Peter Travers,[35] and Jade King singled out Norman Osborn portrayer Willem Dafoe and Molina for praise, King asserting that the two stole "the show as Green Goblin and Doc Ock" and were "brilliant depictions of these characters".[36]

Awards and nominations

Molina has received many nominations and awards for his portrayal of Otto Octavius.

Year Film Award Category Result Ref(s)
2005 Spider-Man 2 London Film Critics' Circle British Supporting Actor of the Year Nominated [37]
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Nominated [38]
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama Nominated [39]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [40]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Visual Effects Film Won [41]
2022 Spider-Man: No Way Home Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Pending [42]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in Spider-Man (2002).
  2. ^ After this moment, Octavius is brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and continues a cured life in a separate timeline.

References

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 19. ISBN 978-0756692360. One of Spider-Man's most recognizable foes burst onto the scene in this epic tale of the origin of Doctor Octopus.
  2. ^ Siegel, Lucas. "The 10 Greatest SPIDER-MAN Villains of ALL TIME!". Newsarama. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  3. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 93: "Dr. Octopus shared many traits with Peter Parker. They were both shy, both interested in science, and both had trouble relating to women...Otto Octavius even looked like a grown up Peter Parker. Lee and Ditko intended Otto to be the man Peter might have become if he hadn't been raised with a sense of responsibility.
  4. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #3. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Thomas, Roy (August 2011). "Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Interview!". Alter Ego (104): 3–45.
  6. ^ Subtitled Factoids: Weaving the Web (DVD). Sony. 2002.
  7. ^ a b Making the Amazing (DVD). Sony. 2004.
  8. ^ Cohn, Angel (May 20, 2004). "Meet Spider-Man 2's Dr. Octopus". TV Guide. Archived from the original on December 30, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Cohn, Angel (May 20, 2004). "Meet Spider-Man 2's Dr. Octopus". TV Guide. Archived from the original on December 30, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020. "[Director] Sam Raimi saw a whole bunch of us character actors," Molina reveals. "It was me, Ed Harris, Chris Cooper and Christopher Walken. We were all actors on a list because we all had movies that made a bit of a splash.
  10. ^ a b Hiatt, Brian (February 13, 2003). "Eight Arms to Hold You". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2007.
  11. ^ Otto, Jeff (June 29, 2004). "Interview: Sam Raimi". IGN. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2007.
  12. ^ Brett, Anwar (July 9, 2004). "Alfred Molina". BBC. Archived from the original on February 28, 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2007.
  13. ^ Otto, Jeff (June 25, 2004). "Interview: Tobey Maguire and Alfred Molina". IGN. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  14. ^ Mike Cotton. "Spider-Man 3." Wizard: The Comics Magazine June 2007: p. 30–31.
  15. ^ a b Coggan, Devan (October 14, 2021). "Tom Holland opens up about Spider-Man: No Way Home and facing off against Alfred Molina". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 14, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (August 18, 2014). "Alfred Molina Would Bring Back Doc Ock in a Heartbeat for SINISTER SIX". Collider. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 27, 2019). "Spider-Man Back In Action As Sony Agrees To Disney Co-Fi For New Movie, Return To MCU: How Spidey's Web Got Untangled". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  18. ^ Hood, Cooper (October 7, 2019). "Spider-Man Producer Hints At Plans For Sinister Six In A Future Movie". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; Pattern, Dominic (September 24, 2021). "Hero Nation Podcast: 'What If?' EP A.C. Bradley Teases Marvel Animated Series' Season 2 + The Captain America & 'West Wing' Crossover That Never Happened". Deadline Hollywood (Podcast). Retrieved September 28, 2021. Because Sony's always kept, outside of the current Spider-Man stuff they're doing with the Disney MCU...I know one of their long-term goals is to make Sinister Six. That's kinda the project we're all waiting for; their version of the bad guys from the Spider-Man [universe].
  20. ^ "Sony Pictures Entertainment Brings Marvel Studios Into The Amazing World Of Spider-Man". Marvel.com. February 9, 2015. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  21. ^ Fink, Richard (January 1, 2022). "Kevin Feige On Why MCU Avoided Green Goblin & Doc Ock Before No Way Home". Screen Rant.
  22. ^ Kit, Borys; Couch, Aaron (December 8, 2020). "'Spider-Man 3': Alfred Molina Returning as Doctor Octopus". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  23. ^ Aurthur, Kate (April 16, 2021). "Alfred Molina Details Doc Ock's Return in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home': 'The Tentacles Do All the Work' (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  24. ^ "Ranking The 10 Best And 10 Worst Villains In Superhero Movies". IndieWire. May 1, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  25. ^ Riesman, Abraham (February 20, 2018). "The 25 Best Movie Supervillains, Ranked". Vulture. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  26. ^ Roger, Ebert (June 30, 2004). "Ebert reviews Spider-Man 2". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 7, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  27. ^ Caro, Mark (June 28, 2004). "Caro reviews Spider-Man 2". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
  28. ^ Turan, Kenneth (June 29, 2004). "Turan reviews Spider-Man 2". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007.
  29. ^ George, Richard (April 19, 2007). "Spider-Man in Film Volume One". IGN. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2007.
  30. ^ "Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time". Empire. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  31. ^ "'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Trailer: First Look Provides So Many Memes - Thrillist". Thrillist. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  32. ^ Hasnain, Qasim (December 22, 2021). "Alfred Molina Asks Spider-Man: No Way Home co-star Jacob Batalon for His Autograph". MovieWeb. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  33. ^ Prosser, Keegan (October 29, 2021). "Spider-Man: Tom Holland Was Terrified of Molina's Doc Ock as a Child". CBR. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  34. ^ Soans, Neil (December 16, 2021). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Movie Review: A tribute to Spidey's fans!". ETimes. Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe return to reinforce why Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn are considered amongst the most heartfelt yet menacing antagonists, not just in Spider-Man films but across the superhero genre.
  35. ^ Travers, Peter (December 17, 2021). "'Spider-Man: No Way Home' review: Tom Holland is better than ever in this thrill-a-minute whirlwind". Good Morning America. It’s delicious to see Molina and Dafoe back in the mischief business, that is until Peter decides these titans of terror may really be good at heart.
  36. ^ King, Jade (December 20, 2021). "Spider-Man: No Way Home Is The MCU At Its Absolute Worst". The Gamer.
  37. ^ Soares, Andre (February 9, 2005). "London Film Critics Awards 2005". Alt Film Guide. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  38. ^ Multiple sources:
  39. ^ "2005-A* 9th Annual Satellite™ Awards – January 2005". Satellite Awards. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  40. ^ "The 31st Annual Saturn Awards Nominations". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on October 29, 2005. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  41. ^ "3rd Annuel VES Awards". Visual Effects Society Awards. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  42. ^ Tinoco, Armando (August 12, 2022). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'The Batman', 'Nightmare Alley', 'Spider-Man', 'Better Call Saul' Top List". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 12, 2022. Retrieved September 3, 2022.