All right, so now that we know a new Spider-Man movie is coming out, who’s going to be the bad guy?
Some backstory: just two weeks ago, the internet cracked in half with the recent (and rather explosive) announcement that Spider-Man is going to be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea that Sony would ever make a deal with Marvel seemed like a fairytale, but now the pieces have been set and Marvel’s Spider-Man is set to come out in just a few years.
For anyone unclear on what this means, it comes down to this: Spider-Man is now going to enter the same world as the now-iconic Avengers characters, meaning we’re going to see him interact with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evan’s Captain America, and so on. With that in mind, it seems like a sure bet that he’ll probably be joining the team by the time Avengers: Infinity War rolls around.
However, that’s all some ways off. For now, we’ll concentrate on Spidey’s first MCU solo outing, and try to make a guess at who the villain will be. Let’s survey our options:
1: A prior villain
So, let’s see. Out of our bank of previously-used villains, we have multiple Green Goblins, Doctor Octopus, Venom, Sandman, the Lizard, Electro and the Rhino. These are some of Spider-Man’s most well known, most interesting enemies, but…
They’ve all been on screen before – and we’ve seen Goblins up there three times already. Since Marvel is rebooting Spider-Man a third time, it seems unlikely that they’d use a villain that the audience is so familiar with, and thus draw more comparisons to the prior two continuities. I could be wrong, but I predict that we’ll be seeing something new this time around.
2: The Vulture
Why the Vulture? Well, primarily because the Vulture has come so close to getting into a Spidey movie, so many times, that he seems like one of the more obvious choices. Sam Raimi wanted the Vulture in Spider-Man 3, then wanted him in Spider-Man 4 and his flight harness was teased in Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In the comics, the Vulture was Spider-Man’s first supervillain, and he’s continued to menace the wall crawler ever since. Though often underrated and/or misused, I think that the Vulture would be best approached by emulating J.M. DeMatties Funeral Arrangements storyline, wherein the character is diagnosed with terminal cancer and sets out on a suicide mission to take down everyone who he blames for turning him into the embittered, caustic criminal that he is today.
For my money, I’d bet that this guy is near the top of their list, if not at the top.
Mac Gargan was the original anti-Spider-Man, created entirely for the purpose of killing the webhead, and there’s a lot of room to play around with his origin while not losing the key elements: Margan is a down-on-his-luck private investigator, he’s transformed into the anti-Spidey, and then he flips out.
Once the basic parameters are set, there’s a lot of potential to flesh out Gargan’s backstory. Though Scorpion has often been the victim of poor writing and lazy character development, the character himself has enormous potential to be one of the MCU’s most memorable villains. Scorpion would also present an opportunity to show the public’s uncertainty regarding Spider-Man, if they stick with the general idea that Scorpion’s creation is bankrolled by a public figure (it doesn’t necessarily have to be J.J., I don’t think).
This character has already been rumored, which isn’t too surprising; he’s unique, visually distinctive, and he’s one of the Stan Lee classics. Mysterio, as the so-called master of illusions, offers a lot of special effects opportunities that would make for a very different – and unpredictable – Spider-Man film.
On film, Mysterio could be played similarly to a sort of less-horrific Freddy Krueger, constantly warping reality in bizarre and unsettling ways.
Though Morlun is one of the more recent Spider-Man villains to hit the scene, having first appeared in 2001, he’s also one of the most cinematic.
A sort of immortal, vampiric supernatural force, Morlun is driven to feed off of the powerful energies produced by so-called totems – beings that have bridged the gap between man and beast, such as our poor part-arachnid protagonist. Though Spider-Man and Morlun have only fought a few times, each encounter has left massive devastation in its wake.
In a Spider-Man movie, Morlun would present a threat unlike any that we’ve yet seen: an unstoppable, seemingly godly force that is driven to destroy Spider-Man at all costs. It would give the filmmakers an opportunity to really demonstrate Spider-Man’s fierce strength of will, his endless perseverance against a force more powerful than he is, and his determination to do the right thing at all costs. Such a film could capture the same spark that made Roger Stern’s classic two-parter, Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut!, such a classic. Spidey is always at his best when he’s the underdog, part of why Spider-Man 2 is still the benchmark when it comes to Spider-Man movies.
It would probably be better to leave out the deterministic aspects of Morlun’s original storyline, and how it relates to Spidey’s origin; the spider bite that gives Peter his powers should remain an accident, not an act of destiny. But what matters, really, is the idea of Morlun himself, and that Peter will have to put in everything he’s got if he wants to take Morlun down.
Great character, but it’s not going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if we someday do see an adaptation of the infamous Clone Saga, in one form or another, but certainly not for Spider-Man’s reintroduction.
Sure, there’s a lot more to Miles Warren than the Clone Saga, but it’s his defining storyline. The second his name gets mentioned, it’s what people are going to expect.
Also unlikely. Carnage, AKA the symbiotic alter ego of serial killer Cletus Kasady, has always been a character that spins off of Venom, and it would be rather strange to do Carnage before the Venom symbiote has even appeared.
That said, Carnage is another character oozing with cinematic potential. Kasady’s chaotic, anarchic philosophies are diametrically opposed to Peter Parker’s utmost focus on responsibility. And—similarly to Morlun—using Carnage as villain would also present an opportunity to show Peter overcoming a force far more powerful than he is.
Just a month ago, this would have been impossible, since Marvel has the rights to the Kingpin, and Sony has the rights to Spider-Man. Now, it’s a hot topic of conversation, especially since Kingpin is set to be introduced in the upcoming (and fantastic looking!) Daredevil Netflix series.
That said, while I wouldn’t be surprised if we do someday see Spidey and the Kingpin intersect, I wouldn’t count on it happening in this movie. Kingpin is more important to the Daredevil mythos than he is to Spider-Man, and I’d imagine that Marvel will want to keep all of his big character defining moments in the Netflix series…at least for a while.
7. Kraven the Hunter
One of the all-time greats, largely due to J.M. DeMatteis’ dark storyline, Kraven’s Last Hunt, wherein the hunter buries Spider-Man alive and assumes his identity. If Kraven is chosen, then Last Hunt is the story to adapt. It’s the story that brought Kraven from the B-list to the A-list. Though not especially visually engaging, Kraven could present a more cerebral sort of enemy, incredibly different from any that we’ve seen so far.
Hobgoblin? What, before the Green Goblin? Nah.
Hydro-Man? Wouldn’t count on it.
But on the other hand, there are many more options out there. Tombstone, for one. Shocker. Chameleon. Shriek. Mendel Stromm. Carrion. Smythe and the Spider-Slayers. Cardiac. Black Cat. Spider-Man has so many villains that the possibilities really are endless. Maybe they could even bring in the so-called Legion of Losers, comprised of such terrifying foes as the Spot, Gibbon, Grizzly and the Kangaroo…
Or maybe not.
In any case, the news is fresh and we still have a long way to go before any real news leaks. So in the meantime, we’ll just have to keep on theorizing.