Spider-Man has been swinging around our comic shelves since 1962 and has been enjoying critical success on the big screen since 2002. But, as amazing as the character is, a hero is only as good as his villains.
Spider-man has arguably one of the most iconic rogues gallery of villains in comics and the most number of villains to be given the big screen treatment through Spidey’s six solo-film appearances, with the likes of Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman and Venom in Sam Raimi’s trilogy (2002 – 2007), The Lizard, Electro, the Rhino and Goblin again in Marc Webb’s unfinished Amazing trilogy (2012 – 2014), and now the Vulture, Shocker and the Tinkerer in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spidey’s future looks much brighter with his next appearance in Avengers: Infinity War and the currently untitled Avengers Four, before continuing his own solo run in the sequel to Homecoming. The question is; what villains could we be seeing in the sequel, Far From Home, or any future instalments.
We’ve narrowed down the list from many villains from Spidey’s past (including the likes of the Walrus and the Spot) to eight of the characters we would most like to see on the big screen going toe-to-toe with our friendly neighbourhood web-slinger.
After Paul Giamatti’s OTT mechanized Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it seems likely that this character will not be used in future instalments. However, if used in the same capacity as the Shocker in Spider-Man: Homecoming with a moderated, but intimidating performance, this character could work very well.
The first villain co-created by Stan Lee and John Romita. Aleksei Sytsevich was a poor immigrant from Russia who worked as an enforcer for some gangsters until being transformed into the Rhino.
Nearly as strong as the Hulk and, like the Juggernaut, possesses the steady and relentless speed of a freight train, combined with the protection of his impenetrable polymer rhino suit, the Rhino is a powerful foe for Spidey to fight, but easy to outsmart. In the, unfortunately, short-lived TV series The Spectacular Spider-Man, he constantly needs to keep himself cool due to the heat of his suit, leading to a confrontation in the sweltering sewers away from the fresh air, enabling Spidey to stop him.
We’ve seen three Goblins on screen in the past, so maybe Hobgoblin might not be the best choice considering his similarities to Green Goblin. But there are plenty of differences to let him stand apart from them and give the audience something different.
The Hobgoblin was created by writer Roger Stern in response to the fans eagerness for a new Goblin since Norman Osborn’s death in The Amazing Spider-Man #122 (1973). Instead of resurrecting him (as most comics would do), he created a new character who stole the Goblins old equipment and update it.
In the same way that the Green Goblin’s identity as Norman Osborn was kept a secret for 26 issues, Hobgoblin’s identity was planned to be kept a secret for 29 issues. However, the lead writer left early, leaving the creative team who followed to reveal his identity: Ned Leeds in 1987. This wasn’t who Roger Stern had intended, so when he returned in 1997, he corrected this by revealing that the true identity was actually Roderick Kingsley who stole the Goblin’s equipment.
There have been many others to don the Hobgoblin mantle since then, including Jason Macendale (originally known as criminal-for- hire Jack O’ Lantern) who appeared in the 1994 animated Spider-Man TV series, voiced by none other than Luke Skywalker himself: Mark Hamill.
Carnage was created during a time when the heroes seemed to divert into darker paths. He was a much crueller and blood-thirsty version of Venom. Mass murderer Cletus Kasady was a prison cell-mate of Eddie Brock aka Venom, and when Venom escaped prison the black symbiote left a red spawn of itself behind, which bonded with Kasady. Whereas Eddie Brock/Venom refers to himself as “Us”, Cletus/Carnage bonded so well, he refers to himself as “I”.
Whether Marvel does this remains to be seen, considering Sony’s upcoming Venom movie which will feature Carnage to some extent. The Venom movie is not considered a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the likelihood of Venom appearing in the next Spider-Man movie is very slim.
However, in both the comic series Ultimate Spider-Man and the game adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the developers created methods of being able to get directly to Carnage’s appearance without the use of Venom, so it is likely that the writers would be able to use one of these methods to introduce the character to the MCU, but this all depends on whether the producers want to introduce the symbiotes.
His most prominent appearance was during the famous 14 part ‘Maximum Carnage’ storyline in 1993, which spanned across all of the Spider-Man titles at that time, including Spider-Man: Unlimited, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man. It featured appearances from many famous heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe including Venom, Demogoblin, Shriek, Deathlok, Captain America, Iron Fist, Morbius, Black Cat, Carrion, Cloak and Dagger and Spider- Doppelganger.
It would be a great story to adapt to the big screen, but it wouldn’t be one for the kids and is considered one of the darkest Spider-Man stories ever told.
Part of the comic code meant that certain subjects could not be touched upon, this included the depiction of supernatural vampires. To get around this, creators Roy Thomas and Gil Kane created Morbius as a sci-fi vampire. Michael Morbius is a biochemist who sought a cure to a rare blood disease he was dying of. He attempted to use a mixture of electric shocks and the blood of vampire bats resulting in his transformation into a vampire.
Just like normal vampires, Morbius can create other vampires by biting them on the neck. He has pale skin, red eyes and normally wears a black trench coat. He doesn’t normally want to hurt anyone, but loses control any time his vampire thirst gets the better of him.
Morbius soon became a popular character and even starred in his own comic series in 1975 and was also a large part in the Neogenic Nightmare storyline in the second series of Spider-Man: The Animated Series in 1995. He was even a big part of the Maximum Carnage storyline. In one story, he stood trial for his crimes, where his attorney was none other than the Hulk’s cousin herself: She- Hulk.
Morbius has large connections to other members of the Spider-Man universe too including Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat (who will be starring alongside Silver Sable in their own Sony produced movie, just like Venom, entitled Silver and Black), and Shriek, who made a small appearance in the PS2 and Wii version of the Spider-Man 3 game.
The most likely contender for the next instalment of Spider-Man, after his small cameo in Homecoming, complete with scorpion neck tattoo. Mac Gargan was selected for an experiment by Dr. Farley Stillwell, funded by Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, purely in an attempt to stop Spider-Man and ultimately unmask him.
The reason the experiment involved a scorpion is because scorpions are natural predators of spiders, meaning the Scorpion was bigger and stronger than Spidey, but the experiment had a negative effect on Gargan’s sanity, forcing him to believe he was trapped in his costume and unable to live a normal life.
In his many appearances, he is usually seen wearing a bulletproof green suit with a large cybernetic tail that is capable of shooting blasts and acid. This can be easily adapted in the same method used for Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, using a mixture of special effects with practical puppetry and animatronics in order to bring one of Spidey’s truly iconic villains to life.
The first villain that Spider-Man ever faced in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963). Dmitri Smerdyakov is one of the most dangerous foes to appear in Marvel comics. He can become anyone and hide in plain sight. Fortunately, Spidey has just the power for that.
Part of Spidey’s powers include his spider sense, which have been shown in almost every film he’s appeared in, though strangely not in Homecoming. It’s a useful ability to have when facing a foe who can impersonate anyone including the wall-crawler himself.
Initially, the Chameleon used masks as disguises to hide his white face. He has later gone on to use a special belt buckle that stores a near infinite number of profiles on a mini computer, enabling him to transform immediately.
Many stories including the Chameleon involve Spider-Man teaming up with Daredevil because of them being two of the few heroes who could sense him. If Marvel were to ever do a team up movie with Daredevil, or even the Defenders, Chameleon would be one of the top choices along with Tombstone or Hammerhead to use.
Mysterio, or as Spidey lovingly refers to him as “Bubble-Head” or “Fishbowl”, was an accomplished master of illusion and stuntman who worked on big budget movies as a special –effects designer.
Quentin Beck started designing his own Spider-Man suit with the capabilities to mimic what he can do in order to frame and discredit him after a friend joked that Quentin should kill Spidey and replace him. Quentin then originated the identity of Mysterio, sporting a green costume with a purple cape and, his defining feature, a dome shaped helmet made of Plexiglas, to save the day and stop Spidey.
Mysterio is one of the original members of the Sinister Six, along with Doc Ock, the Vulture, Electro, Sandman and Kraven. He is a master magician and hypnotist and is able to produce thick shrouds of gas to conceal his entrances and exits, which is emitted from nozzles in his gloves and boots.
He is usually near the top of any fans villain wish list for Spider-Man movies, and he also starred as the main antagonist in arguably one of the best Spider-Man games ever made: Shattered Dimensions.
1: Kraven the Hunter
The hunter Sergei Kravinoff (and half-brother of the Chameleon) is one of the most iconic foes in Spidey’s complete rogues gallery. After his mother’s suicide, Kraven left his father after he quickly remarried to travel the world using only his wits to survive.
During his work at an African Safari, Kraven discovered a natural and extraordinary talent for hunting. He enhanced his agility by using a potion given to him by a witch doctor and started to become bored of fewer challenges that met his match, until the Chameleon contacted him about hunting his greatest game: Spider-Man.
Kraven is such a powerful and intelligent foe that Spidey nearly always finds it difficult to defeat him. One particular story proved once and for all that Kraven was the better hunter: Kraven’s Last Hunt!
In this story, Kraven defeats Spidey and buries him alive. He takes Spidey’s suit (at the time the black suit was in play) and pretended to be Spider-Man, leaving the real Spidey to claw his way out of the dirt while he brutally attacked criminals. When Spider-Man confronts Kraven, the hunter does not fight back, considering himself the victor and announces that his hunting days are over. He returns home and commits suicide whilst reminiscing about his past, leaving a confession of his burying and impersonation of Spidey, along with photographic proof.
There are plenty of other villains that could potentially appear in future instalments, and considering Sony are going ahead with a shared universe of their own based on Spider-Man’s villains, we could be seeing many more of them.