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Doctor Strange and Mysterio battle in Spider-Man: No Way Home concept art

Mysterio may have been slated to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home at one stage, according to this unused visual concept

Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home has its fair share of baddies, but the action movie could’ve had at least one more. New concept art reveals that Spider-Man villain Mysterio was to be part of the fun, and he’d have faced the Sorcerer Supreme.

Andrew Reeder, an artist who’s work on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Trek, and many other science fiction movies, shared a host of concept art images. Most are standard fare: establishing shots rendered in 3D, particular environments and such captured at specific angles, that sort of thing. However, in one image, we get the MCU’s Mysterio facing Doctor Strange over the Statue of Liberty.

In the picture, viewable through Reeder’s public portfolio, they’re both readying attacks, Mysterio in the left foreground, Doctor Strange in the right background. They seem primed to launch into each other. Of course, if you’ve seen No Way Home – and most people have – you’ll know Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Mysterio doesn’t make any appearance, much less fight Doctor Strange around one of the most famous landmarks in the world. At some point, that was plausible, but didn’t make it into the finished movie.

Things change a million times while developing a studio blockbuster like Spider-Man: No Way Home, then they change a million more when cameras roll. Who knows what the full context was here. Maybe they were just testing ideas? Or maybe an early draft had Mysterio, but Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t interested, or there was already so much going on.

Whatever the case, this presents a fascinating hypothetical, and reminds us of the wealth of alternative iterations many of the best movies go through before they reach us. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a nod to this in Doctor Strange 2, or further down the line in Phase 4? At this point, with the multiverse shattered, anything can happen.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theatres now.