Dr. Otto Octavius

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Name: Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius
Occupation: Supervillain, scientist, sometimes hero
Relationships: Rosalie Octavius (wife, deceased), Norman Osborn (colleague, old friend), Curt Connors (colleague, friend), Peter Parker (mentee, enemy)
Fandom: Spider-Man (Sam Raimi Trilogy)
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Dr. Otto Octavius/“Doctor Octopus” (played by Alfred Molina) was the primary antagonist in Spider-Man 2.


Originally a kind-hearted and brilliant nuclear physicist, Octavius had a dream of creating manmade solar energy. To help achieve his goal, Octavius invented large metal arms that attached to his back to help him with his hazardous work. However, Octavius lost control of his nuclear reactor, funded by Harry Osborn, during a demonstration, resulting in the death of his wife and the fusing of the arms to his body. The inhibitor chip that kept the arms’ artificial intelligence from overwhelming his brain was also broken in the accident, allowing them to take over his mind and turn the Doc to a life of crime in order to achieve his dream.

Octavius had several run-ins with Spider-Man, and in their final confrontation, Octavius discovered the Webhead’s secret identity is his protégé, Peter Parker. Parker convinced him to stop the new reactor before it destroyed half of New York. In the end, Octavius regained control of his arms and sacrificed himself to save the city, drowning in the river with his machine.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Molina reprised his role as the Doc in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home in the MCU, in a multiversal crossover event. It is understood that he was pulled into the Marvel Cinematic Universe shortly before his death in Spider-Man 2. In that world, Peter Parker repairs the inhibitor chip, letting Octavius regain his sanity and revert back to the kind, fatherly personality he exhibited before the accident, even assisting Spider-Man in the final battle at the Statue of Liberty. He also reunited with old friend and colleague Norman Osborn, played by Willem Dafoe, who had died in his universe two years prior to the events of Spider-Man 2. He was sent back to his own universe at the end of the movie with the other villains, hopefully with the chance to change his fate and not perish as he did in the original timeline.


Octavius is one of the more beloved Spidey villains, due in part to Molina’s menacing yet charming performance, and in part to Octavius’s sympathetic origin story and motivations.

Doc Ock’s actuators, the metal arms attached to his back, were nicknamed by Molina during the filming of SM2 as “Harry, Larry, Moe, and Flo.” Many fans have adopted these names as canon, and in fan fic the actuators are often considered Octavius’s “children”. (Octavius referred to the arms as his “babies” in the novelization of Spider-Man 2.) The Doc is also seen as something of a father figure to Peter before losing his mind in the accident, and in No Way Home, Octavius happily greets his iteration of Peter Parker, calling him “dear boy.”

Otto is commonly shipped with his wife Rosie, as their marriage, though demonstrated onscreen only briefly, seems extremely happy and mutually supportive. Rosie assists in her husband’s research despite not being a scientist herself, and Otto claims that he learned poetry when they were dating just to impress her. Alternatively, the pairing of Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn became fairly popular after fans saw Molina’s Octavius and Dafoe’s Osborn interact onscreen for the first time. The two clearly had prior history that fans were left to speculate over. Another popular ship is Otto/May (Marisa Tomei’s May, specifically), due in part to the canonical relationship the characters shared in the comic, but also possibly because of Molina and Tomei having already played lovers in the 1994 film, The Perez Family. (An iteration of this ship, May Parker/Olivia Octavius, already appeared in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.)

2021 Tumblr Resurgence

A promo video for ?some new spiderman thing? reminded people that Alfred Molina's Doc Oc exists, and exploded in a wave of popularity on Tumblr. It sparked conversations about what people found appealing in Molina's portrayal in contrast to more "idealized" but less plausible beauty ideals in more recent superhero films. (See "Meta" below)