After tangling with the likes of Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home will see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker being forced to clash with villains from other universes. We’ve known since late 2020 that Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus are returning to the superhero movie scene, and the presence of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin was confirmed in the first No Way Home trailer this past summer. Now, following a report of their involvement in late October, the newest No Way Home trailer revealed that Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman and Rhys Ifans’ Lizard will indeed show up in the threequel. However, the circumstances involving their presence are… a little confusing.
In the latest look at Spider-Man: No Way Home, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange revealed that all these multiversal villains are destined to die fighting their versions of Spider-Man, and that they need to return to their realities for fate to take its course. But here’s the thing: Sandman and Lizard didn’t die at the end of their respective Spider-Man movies, so how are they part of this group? Before speculating about that, we need to go over how their stories concluded years ago.
Where We Left Off With Sandman And Lizard
Spider-Man 3’s version of Sandman was depicted more sympathetically compared to his comic book counterpart, as Thomas Haden Church’s Flint Marko only wanted to raise money for his sick daughter. It was also revealed that he was the one who actually killed Ben Parker, albeit accidentally, but not initially knowing this, Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker was understandably driven to seek revenge. The events of Spider-Man 3 ultimately led to Sandman teaming up with Venom to destroy Spider-Man, but after Marko learned that Peter and Spidey were one and the same, he revealed the truth about how Ben died. Peter forgave Marko and allowed the former adversary to drift away to parts unknown.
As for The Lizard, like his comic book counterpart, Rhys Ifans’ Dr. Curt Connors became the reptilian villain in The Amazing Spider-Man as a consequence of an experiment to regrow his arm. Unfortunately, the formula Connors injected into himself warped his mind, resulting in him trying to spread a chemical cloud over New York City to turn humans into lizard-like beings like him. Luckily, Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy created an antidote that Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker was able to disperse, resulting in Connors and his handful of victims returning to normal. Connor was subsequently imprisoned, and when Michael Massee’s mysterious character (later revealed to be Gustav Fiers) visited him, Connors begged him to leave Peter alone.
How Do Sandman And Lizard Return To Villainy?
So we have one villain who seemingly gave up his crime spree and another villain who was locked up and in no way close to reverting into a lizard monster. Working off the information laid out in the previous section alone, they’re hardly in the same category as Electro, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, all of whom we saw die. The former two perished in their attempts to murder their web-slinging adversary, while the latter sacrificed his life to prevent his fusion reactor from destroying New York. In other words, we know how their stories end, whereas with Lizard and Sandman, their fates were left more open-ended.
So because of their inclusion in Spider-Man: No Way Home, are we being informed that Sandman and Lizard’s beefs with their Spider-Men was reignited, and they. It’s possible. This is harder to envision with Flint Marko since the only reason he turned to crime was to help his daughter, and that didn’t change once he obtained his sandy powers. With Curt Connors, despite him evidently not wishing Peter Parker any ill will after being captured, it’s easier to imagine a scenario where he somehow escapes custody, recreates the Lizard formula and reverts back to his corrupted, monstrous self. This puts him on another collision course with Spider-Man, but he doesn’t make it out alive. Still, having these characters transform into more straightforward supervillains feels a little convoluted, but there may be an alternative, more comic book-y reason for why Sandman and Lizard have been thrown into the No Way Home mix…
Are These The Same Versions Of Lizard And Sandman We Previously Saw?
Just because all the revealed villains for Spider-Man: No Way Home (so far) are familiar doesn’t mean these are the exact same versions from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb-directed movies. We may be dealing with slightly tweaked versions of their universes. Sandman and Lizard may not die in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, respectively, but perhaps the versions we see in No Way Home come from realities where things unfolded differently and their stories ended on a fatal note. This would explain why they’ve been looped in with Electro (who looks like a normal human this time around rather than blue), Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus.
If that’s the case, then I hope Spider-Man: No Way Home sheds a little light on how these versions of Sandman and Lizard differ from the ones we previously saw. I’m not asking that the movie carve out 5-10 minutes of flashbacks or exposition for them, but it would be nice to at least know how they met their demises, along with any other characterization differences. If Spider-Man 3’s Sandman and The Amazing Spider-Man’s Lizard made it out of their stories alive, where did things go wrong for their doppelgängers?
Whatever’s going on with Sandman and Lizard in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we’ll get to see these two wreak havoc with their fellow baddies in theaters starting December 17. Those of you who want to look further ahead into the MCU’s future would be wise to browse through our upcoming Marvel movies schedule, and you can catch up on most of the franchise’s past installments on Disney+.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He’s aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.