The movie's multiversal villains are the result of Peter Parker trying to protect his secret identity after a vengeful Mysterio revealed it to the world in the final moments of 2019's Far From Home. But how does No Way Home link to the future of Spider-Man and the MCU? Let's take a look at the post-credits scenes and their consequences for Spidey and friends' MCU futures.
The villains are cured and returned to their universes along with the other Peter Parkers (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield), the world's forgotten MCU Peter exists, and our hero is back to anonymously fighting crime in New York City. Cut to a lovely bar in Mexico.
Drinking there is Eddie Brock, aka Venom (Tom Hardy). Even though Venom is a villain from the Spider-Man comics, the recent films starring Hardy are separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe because Sony holds the rights to the character. But Sony and Marvel co-produce Spider-Man films like No Way Home, so they've clearly agreed to a little post-credits crossover: We actually saw Venom and Brock jumping into the MCU from the universe of the Venom movies during the Let There Be Carnage mid-credits scene.
In this scene, the journalist and his alien buddy learn about Iron Man, Hulk and Thanos, apparently from a bartender played by Cristo Fernández, whom you might know as the delightful Danny Rojas in Ted Lasso.
Eddie decides to track down Spidey in New York, but Venom notes that they're drunk and decides to go skinny-dipping. Before they can take their nudey swim, they're teleported away -- likely sent home as a result of the same spell Strange used to send the other Spider-Men and their villains back to their universes.
They failed to pay their bill, which is rather rude, and left behind a fragment of the symbiote, which is extremely rude.
What does it mean?
We're gonna get a symbiote-empowered Danny Rojas -- "Football is Venom!"
Or the symbiote will follow through with Eddie's idea and track down Spidey, which could result in Peter bonding with the symbiote. Eddie and Venom were brought into the MCU after the symbiote offered Eddie "a taste" of the symbiote hive mind's collective knowledge. They see Peter's identity being revealed on television and somehow recognize the wall crawler, even though he doesn't exist in the Venom movie universe.
It's possible this version of Venom has the memories of the one killed in Spider-Man 3 through the symbiote hive mind. That universe's Venom symbiote bonded with Tobey Maguire's Peter, possibly leaving some sense of the wall crawler in their collective consciousness.
In the comics, the Venom symbiote came to Earth with Peter after the extremely silly '80s crossover event Secret Wars (which was really just a 12-issue ad for a toy line). He rejected the alien and left it for dead.
It then found Eddie Brock, a reporter whose journalistic career was inadvertently ruined when Spidey exposed a major story as false, and the two bonded to become Venom (this was adapted for Spider-Man 3) -- infused with Peter's powers and knowledge of his secret identity. Their shared hatred initially led them to hunt Spidey, but they came to an uneasy truce and later became allies. The symbiote hive mind concept is explored in Donny Cates' excellent 2018 Venom comics run.
In No Way Home, Tobey Maguire's Peter mentions his encounter with the black alien goo, but the Andrew Garfield one is stunned by mention of aliens, suggesting there hasn't been a Venom in the Amazing Spider-Man universe.
The drop of symbiote goo left on the bar is important because it leaves the way open for Venom to exist in the MCU separate from Hardy and his Venom movies, which are produced by Sony and aren't directly part of Marvel's movie series.
It's unclear if MCU Spidey will bond with the symbiote -- it might seem like a rethread of Spider-Man 3, but it could make sense since the character found himself alone at the end of No Way Home and the alien traditionally feeds on negative emotions.
Regardless, concept artist Thomas du Crest (who worked on No Way Home) in a Jan. 4 tweet shared some renderings of what Holland's Peter might look like in the alien costume.
We got a similar moment in the post-credits scenes of Morbius, which hit theaters April 1. That movie is set in the same universe as Venom (rather than MCU), and extra scenes saw the MCU's Adrian Toomes (aka Vulture) being teleported into that reality. It's possible Venom will run into Toomes in some future movie.
Post-credits: A Strange teaser
Once the titles are finished, we jump away from the Spidey drama to a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is scheduled for release on May 6. Marvel later put this trailer out on YouTube (and released a second one during the Super Bowl and another one month before the movie's release). It seems tampering with the multiverse has spiraled out of control for Strange, and he's been forced to turn to Wanda Maximoff (aka the Scarlet Witch) for help.
She's been living in isolation since the events of WandaVision and assumes Strange is here to bring justice for her grief-fueled bewitching of Westview, but he assures her that he's just there to learn about the multiverse from her. In the final moments of WandaVision, we saw her searching alternate universes for her lost sons.
The rest of the teaser features a dark version of Doctor Strange (a character who'll be familiar to people who watched the animated MCU series What If... ?), former Strange ally Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), debuting hero America Chavez, and a tentacle monster with a huge eye.
The trailer also gives us a glimpse of Strange's former love Christine Palmer wearing a wedding dress, but her role in the sequel is unclear.
What does it mean?
This gives us a taste of the allies and villains we'll see in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. The dark version of Doctor Strange is almost certainly Strange Supreme, who played a pivotal role in What If... ?
This alternate-reality Strange became obsessed with reversing the death of fellow surgeon and lover Christine (Rachel McAdams). He amassed incredible power by absorbing other mystical beings, but he can't revive Christine and ultimately destroys his universe.
We last saw Strange Supreme in the What If... ? season finale, when the Watcher delegated the task of watching over the trapped Armin Zola, Killmonger, and the Infinity Stones in a pocket dimension (it is a little odd that the Watcher outsourced a watching task -- that's his whole job).
You might remember Mordo becoming disillusioned with what he saw as Strange and the Ancient One abusing the mystic arts in 2016's Doctor Strange, and stealing Jonathan Pangborn's powers in his quest to rid the world of sorcerers during that movie's post-credits scene. It's likely that'll bring him into conflict with Strange in the sequel.
America Chavez, who'll be played by Xochitl Gomez in her first MCU appearance, doesn't really do anything in the trailer. However, her comics counterpart has the power to open holes in reality, allowing for multiversal travel. Seems like a useful ability in a movie with this theme.
The tentacle beastie is likely Gargantos, an obscure sea monster that first appeared in the comics in the '60s, or maybe Shuma-Gorath, an interdimensional tentacle beastie of immense power.