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Otto Octavius

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Otto Octavius
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and
Marvel Cinematic Universe
First appearanceSpider-Man 2 (2004)
Last appearanceSpider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Based on
Adapted by
Portrayed byAlfred Molina
Voiced by
AliasDoctor Octopus
NicknameDoc Ock
SpeciesHuman cyborg
WeaponFour robotic arms with artificial intelligence
SpouseRosalie Octavius

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Otto Octavius, Ph.D., is a fictional character portrayed by Alfred Molina in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002-07) as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name—sometimes known by his alias, Doctor Octopus. Octavius is portrayed as a tragic villain, having four robotic arms fused to his back after a live demonstration of his fusion power research.

Molina's portrayal of the character has been positively received by critics and audiences. Molina will reprise his role in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), after the character's presumed death in Spider-Man 2 (2004).

Concept and creation[edit]

Alfred Molina in 2009

Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus was 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 Normam Osborn.[1] Raimi decided to use Octavius as the antagonist of Spider-Man 2 (2004) due to being both a visually interesting villain and a character who could be seen as sympathetic.[2] Several actors were considered for the role, including Alfred Molina, Ed Harris, Chris Cooper (who would later portray Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro;[3][4] In February 2003, Molina was cast as Octavius for the film, undergoing physical training for the role.[5]

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.[6] Molina only briefly discussed the role and was not aware that he was a strong contender,[2] also being a big fan of Marvel Comics, being excited to get the role.[7] Although he was not familiar with Doc Ock, Molina found one element of the comics that he wanted to maintain, the character's cruel, sardonic sense of humor.[8]

Special effects[edit]

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.[5] On set, Molina referred to his tentacles as "Larry", "Harry", "Moe" and "Flo".[9]

For Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles were created through CGI instead of puppetry.[10]

Return of the character[edit]

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 Sinister Six (2016) 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 other actor.[11]

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.[12] 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 will be 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).[13]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Becoming Doctor Octopus[edit]

Otto Octavius is a brilliant nuclear physicist and a scientific idol of Peter Parker, who aims to write his college paper on him. Parker meets Octavius through Harry Osborn's Oscorp funding of Octavius. At first, Octavius dismisses Parker until he remembers that Oscorp pays the bills and that Parker is the "brilliant but lazy" student of Dr. Curt Connors. Octavius sets up an artificial sun with four mechanical tentacles controlled by a device by his neck, attempting a fusion reactor experiment using tritium. The experiment goes awry, resulting in the death of his wife, the harness being fused to his body, and the inhibitor chip controlling the arms being destroyed. The arms' artificial intelligence (AI) massacre the surgeons attempting to save Octavius, convincing 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 Osborn 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 Osborn, 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. Inspired by Parker's words, Octavius sacrifices himself to sink the fusion reactor into the East River.

Entering a different reality[edit]

In a different universe, J. Jonah Jameson who is the executive reporter for is provided a doctored video exposing Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker by an anonymous former working associate of Mysterio, prompting him to broadcast it to the entire world. Jameson frames Parker for the attack on London and the murder of Mysterio. After being proven innocent months later, Parker goes to the Sanctum Sanctorum and convinces the sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange to cast a spell and restore Parker's secret identity. Strange's attempt to cast a spell and restore Parker's secret identity, initially going awry and breaking open the multiverse. This accidentally transports Octavius to a different reality and saving him seconds before drowning in the river.[13] Unbeknownst to Octavius others from their own respective universes were also transported including Eddie Brock, Curt Connors, Max Dillon, Flint Marko, Norman Osborn, Venom and two versions of Peter Parker.

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Molina reprises his role as Octavius in the Spider-Man 2 video game (2004).
  • This version of Octavius appears as a playable character in the 2007 game Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, now voiced by Joe Alaskey. The game is set in an alternate timeline where all of the villains from the Spider-Man film series survived their initial debuts. Doc Ock is present with various other villains during an attempt to kill Spider-Man in the game's opening cutscene. After Spider-Man defeats the villains, the group is attacked by a swarm of symbiote-like creatures known as P.H.A.N.T.O.M.s. The villains, including Doc Ock, are suddenly teleported elsewhere while Spider-Man is rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D. Doc Ock is then brainwashed by the villainous mastermind behind the P.H.A.N.T.O.M.s using a mind-controlling amulet and is sent to Tokyo to create a P.H.A.N.T.O.M. generator. There, Spider-Man fights him by the generator and destroys the amulet, restoring his free will. Afterwards, Octavius reluctantly joins forces with Spider-Man and becomes playable for the remainder of the game.

Reception and legacy[edit]

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.[14] The effects used for his robotic arms were also praised, with Roger Ebert calling it the film's "special-effects triumph".[15] Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro stated that Octavius was a "pleasingly complex" villain in Spider-Man 2,[16] 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."[17] 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."[18] Empire also praised Octavius as a "superior villain" in 2015.[19]

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.[20] 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".[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Molina has received numerous 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 [21]
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Nominated [22]
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama Nominated [23]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [24]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Visual Effects Film Won [25]

See also[edit]


  1. Subtitled Factoids: Weaving the Web (DVD). Sony. 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Making the Amazing (DVD). Sony. 2004.
  3. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hiatt, Brian (February 13, 2003). "Eight Arms to Hold You". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. Otto, Jeff (June 29, 2004). "Interview: Sam Raimi". IGN. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. Brett, Anwar (July 9, 2004). "Alfred Molina". BBC. Archived from the original on February 28, 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Otto, Jeff (June 25, 2004). "Interview: Tobey Maguire and Alfred Molina". IGN. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Mike Cotton. "Spider-Man 3." Wizard: The Comics Magazine June 2007: p. 30–31.
  10. 10.0 10.1 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. 13.0 13.1 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  14. "Ranking The 10 Best And 10 Worst Villains In Superhero Movies". IndieWire. May 1, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Caro, Mark (June 28, 2004). "Caro reviews Spider-Man 2". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  17. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. George, Richard (April 19, 2007). "Spider-Man in Film Volume One". IGN. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  19. "Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time". Empire. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  20. Prosser, Keegan (2021-10-29). "Spider-Man: Tom Holland Was Terrified of Molina's Doc Ock as a Child". CBR. Archived from the original on 2021-10-29. Retrieved 2021-10-31. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. Multiple sources:
  23. "2005-A* 9th Annual Satellite™ Awards – January 2005". Satellite Awards. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  24. "The 31st Annual Saturn Awards Nominations". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on October 29, 2005. Retrieved December 30, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. "3rd Annuel VES Awards". Visual Effects Society Awards. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2011. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

Others articles of the Topic Film : Josh (2000 film), 1971 in film, Film, Rotten Tomatoes, DUIS. L'école de la normalité, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Independent filmmaker

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