After what seemed like a multitude of leaks, Spider-Man: No Way Home is finally dropping soon. This closes the chapter on major studios desperately concealing information to maintain the surprise factor in theaters.
The latest addition to the MCU, a collaborative effort by Sony and Marvel, begins at the previous film's cliffhanger in the installment. Spider-Man: No Way Home also leads directly into the upcoming film Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, set to release in May 2022.
The timeline of Shang-Chi and the Hawkeye series dictates when No Way Home occurs. It is highly likely that the movie is set in 2024, after the events of Shang-Chi, and near Hawkeye's timeline.
However, like 2010's Iron Man 2, 2011's Thor, and Captain America films, the latest three MCU projects could be set within a week, like the MCU event known as Fury's Big Week.
Disclaimer: Major spoilers ahead.
Easter eggs and theories from 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
No Way Home spawned several callbacks to previous installments starring Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. The film also established Matt Murdock/Daredevil's fate in the MCU while mirroring several elements from the other Spider-Man series.
While Spider-Man: Far From Home sets up a plot point regarding the webcrawler's secret identity, this film expands on it. No Way Home takes its cues from the Civil War comic series. In the #2 comic issue, Peter Parker reveals himself as Spider-Man.
No Way Home also takes inspiration from 2007's One More Day comic series, where Peter enlists Mephisto's help to save May. However, in return, Mephisto claimed Peter's marriage with MJ, which might have inspired No Way Home's ending.
In the One More Day comic series, Mephisto merges realities where May is still alive and everyone is unaware of Peter's identity as Spider-Man. This is similar to what happens in the No Way Home.
Peter's request to Strange
This situation is inspired by Amazing Spider-Man Vol #640, where Peter makes the same request to Strange about making the world forget his identity as Spider-Man.
MCU Peter's sliced tie
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tom Holland's Peter gets his tie sliced off while fighting Doc Ock. This serves as a callback to Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, where Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker gets his tie sliced off while fighting Harry Osborn (Green Goblin).
Aunt May's death
In the movie, May Parker collapses after being injured by Green Goblin's pumpkin bomb. Her demise comes after trying to cure Norman Osborn with their prepared serum. This seems to be a direct reference to Marvel's Spider-Man PlayStation game from 2018.
May dies when she is infected with the Devil's Breath serum. Peter then has to choose between saving May or saving the entire city with the antiserum.
Ned possesses some magical prowess and can conjure portals with Strange's sling-ring. This might reference The Amazing Spider-Man #275 comic, where Ned helps Mordo become the Sorcerer Supreme after stealing a book called the Word of God from the Sanctum Sanctorum.
While conversing with Tobey Maguire's Peter, Ned also learns about the fate of Harry Osborn, who took on the mantle of Green Goblin and tried to kill Peter even after being his best friend. This is the same thing that happened to Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker.
No Way Home could be referencing Ned Leeds' comic book origins as the antagonist Hobgoblin with these easter eggs.
Future implications of Venom's spawn left in the MCU
In the first post-credit scene, Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock is seen in a bar in Mexico learning about the Avengers from the bartender. Meanwhile, Venom is seen aiding Eddie to maintain his composure while drunk.
However, at the end, when they are transported back to their original universe, a spawn of the Venom symbiote is left on the table. This spawn could eventually reach MCU's Peter Parker or Flash Thompson, making him Agent Venom from the comics.
However, it is also possible the MCU could be using this symbiote spawn along with the 'hive mind' theory from the comics to bring Tom Holland's Spider-Man to the Venomverse.
The other Easter eggs in No Way Home are pretty obvious to mention. This includes a reference to Black Spider-Man/Miles Morales and the heavily memed Norman Osborn's phrase:
"You know, I'm something of a scientist myself."