How much do you know about the latest (and greatest) on-screen incarnation of the Marvel villain?
Maybe the best surprise of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was the revelation of Doctor Octopus. The movie slyly hid the iconic character in plain sight by changing him to her and then capitalizing on the update by making Dr. Olivia ‘Liv’ Octavious one of the most unique characters in the blockbuster animated film from 2018.
She made a huge impression on fans (and on Spider-Man (or Spider-Men/Women/Hams). But there is still a great deal unknown about the character, only some of which was hinted at in the film itself.
10 She Was Almost A Man (Again)
Doctor Octopus has always been male in the comic books and previous live-action and animated appearances. The leader of the Sinister Six (who could be making an appearance in the MCU to complete it) was going to be a man again in Into The Spider-Verse until fate intervened.
Co-director/writer Rodney Rothman is friends with actress Kathryn Hahn, who played the character and suggested changing Doc Ock to a woman. Beforehand, the character was more of a ‘Big Lebowski type dude’ in early drafts.
Kathryn Hahn has been a consistent presence in film and television going back to the late ’90s. She’s perhaps best known for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but that is quickly changing. She’s an excellent dramatic actress and she also has numerous connections to Marvel.
She worked with Ant-Man director Adam McKay on Anchorman, voiced Doc Ock, and is playing a character named Agatha – thought to be Agatha Harkness – on the upcoming Wandavision series for Disney+.
In the comic books, Doctor Octopus is nakedly ambitious. The version in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is much more complicated. When Miles Morales and Peter Parker first meet ‘Liv,’ she’s a sunny, curious woman who seems as interested in science as they are.
As soon as she realizes who they are, she reveals her true nature. She transforms into Doctor Octopus and proves she will stop at nothing to realize her goals of becoming the greatest scientist in the world.
7 Inflatable Tubes
Lifelong fans likely noticed numerous differences between the movie version of Doc Ock and the comics. New fans might not have. One of the biggest differences between the two is how the character realizes they’re most important feature: the octopus arms.
In the comics and in Spider-Man 2, one of the best Marvel movies ever, the arms were metal. In Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse they’re inflatable tubes that give her an all-new dimension. They certainly don’t have a mind of their own, as they did in the Sam Raimi film.
6 Enemies To Friends
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse features a lot of combos rarely seen in the comic books (Spider-Ham and… really anybody else for starters). One major one is the alliance between the Kingpin and Doctor Octopus. Though the two are both villains, they’re traditionally not allies.
In fact, they’ve been at each other’s necks numerous times in the past. During the Civil War crossover event in the comics, Doc Ock even animated Kingpin’s corpse with his mechanical arms. Yikes.
5 Uncertain Fate
The final battle takes place in the lab at Alchemex, where Kingpin is using a super-collider to try and open a portal to another dimension to save his late wife. The various Spider-Men crash the party, setting off one of the most dynamic and visual battles in an animated movie.
Doctor Octopus gets tangled up with Spider-Man and has him on the ropes. She then gets hit by a truck that flies out of the dimensional portal and isn’t seen again. That might not be the end for her though.
4 Deleted Scene
Her fate was much more clear in a deleted scene from the movie. In the cut scene, Doctor Octopus jumps willingly into the dimensional portal and says, “The power of the Multiverse in the palm of my hand.” The portal then closes.
This suggests that she survived and is now in another alternate dimension. Even cooler, this scene is a reference to Spider-Man 2, in which the Alfred Molina (one of his best roles) Otto Octavius says, “The power of the sun in the palm of my hand.”
3 My Friends Call Me Liv
There are many subtle things about Doc Ock in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. One of them may not register immediately. When she first introduces herself to Spider-Man, she says “Her friends call her ‘Liv.'” This throws off any suspicion of who she really is, but it also creates some intrigue around a development later in the movie.
When the gang catches up with Aunt May later, May seems to know who Doctor Octopus and calls her ‘Liv.’ This suggests they’re friends (and possibly more, as was the case in the comics).
2 A Different Kind of Role Model
Doctor Octopus is complicated in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Though she’s a villain, her goals are largely rooted in the advance of science (though at the expense of safety).
She also in her own way is a role model. Women in the sciences remain underrepresented, and despite her actions in the movie, she is a highly intelligent woman who achieves a remarkable thing: she opens a portal to another dimension. It’s in its own strange way a positive thing.
1 Not Arachnophobic
A fun wrinkle in the relationship between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus in the comic books is that Otto Octavius is arachnophobic. This makes him particularly skittish around Peter Parker (though oddly he once kept Doc Ock’s arms as a pet in the comics).
Oliva Octavious proved she suffers from no such fear. She immediately goes on the attack when she realizes who Miles Morales is – another feather in her cap as a brilliant mind – and presses the fight throughout the movie. She never once indicates she has any fear of anything (save perhaps not realizing her goals).
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