Spider-Man is officially at, ahem, home in the MCU. He’s got two solo films under his belt, and a burgeoning rogues' gallery to boot.
Both Homecoming and Far From Home boast truly excellent villains in Vulture (played by the wonderfully sinister Michael Keaton) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal evilly/hilariously camping his way through a two-faced creep) — but both Vulture and Mysterio are Spidey’s responsibility by way of Tony Stark.
For a future, as-of-yet unannounced Spider-Man movie, there are a myriad of monsters to take their place as a Spidey nemesis that could potentially have nothing to do with the world’s fallen savior. In fact, that’s ideal! Here are five potential villains we’d like to see facing off against our precious baby Spider-boy on the big screen.
Something that is missing from Spider-Man’s world in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is New York City as a character. It’s as much a part of the Spidey mythos as Spider-sense and it deserves the representation! And who better to personify the worst of New York than Wilson Fisk? I know we’ve seen iterations of him across the multitude of A+ Spider-content we’ve gotten in the last few years, including both the PS4 game and Into the Spider-Verse, but I really want to see how the MCU could fit such a specifically New York villain into its ethos.
And, yes, we’ve also seen him on Netflix’s now-canceled Daredevil, but honestly, bring Vincent D’Onofrio back. Let him play Kingpin in the MCU and let him be Peter Parker’s archenemy in New York. Kingpin is one of Spider-Man’s most iconic enemies, and he could offer up a new kind of villain for Peter: the dark side to wealth and power, an antithetical Tony Stark. He’s not the working man we could identify with, and he’s certainly not the spurned employee. Fisk is a strong enough villain to stand on his own, outside of Tony’s shadow, and as a New Yorker, maybe he already has a personal beef with Spidey. The possibilities are endless!
Let me get this out of the way: I love Felicia Hardy. What makes her a great bad guy for Spidey is that she’s not always a bad guy. The two them go back and forth between being friends, more than friends, and enemies because Cat’s always lived life on the edge. She’s a burglar with the power of bad luck on her side (and what power makes more sense to get the best of the MCU’s Peter Parker, I ask you).
What she’d bring to the table is a grayscale antihero who can often be found doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, and arguably the wrong thing for the right reasons. I think, like Mysterio and Vulture, the writers could find a way to bring her essence to screen in a compelling way that doesn’t just carbon copy the comics version, and I’d love to see what they do with her in a world that knows Peter Parker’s name.
One thing that’s worked so well in the Spider-films so far is how they’ve taken two ridiculous and campy B-level rogues and made them be believably terrifying. Kraven doesn’t necessarily need help on the terrifying front, but he is an absurd villain. His shirt is the skinned head of a lion, I think? And his jazzercize-ready leggings are either actual cheetah (sure, Jan) or lycra.
I tease, but the character is truly one of Spider-Man’s most horrifying enemies. If they wanted to take the titular “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline and adapt it for the Peter we know and love, it’d be a great way to capitalize on the chaos that we know is coming post-Far From Home. The world knows Peter’s name, and now so does Kraven. Coming after him and putting him out of commission — burying him alive might be dark for the MCU, but who knows what the next phase will bring — so that Kraven himself can don the suit and brutally fight criminals in Spidey’s stead. It could be the perfect way to convince people that Peter’s not Spider-Man.
Now onto Kraven’s half-brother, the Chameleon. I’ll be honest, my narrative kryptonite is when we as the audience know that there’s an impostor in our favorite character’s skin, but no one in the story knows. Superior Spider-Man was a hard time, to say the least. So I can’t believe I’m putting him on this list, but Chameleon would be another great way to put the mask back on the face, so to speak.
Chameleon has the added bonus of being Spider-Man’s very first rogue (his first appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #1). And in Winter Soldier we saw that face tech that allowed characters to disguise themselves as other people, so all it would take would be for our guy to get ahold of some of those fancy science toys from the now-defunct S.H.I.E.L.D. camp to do the thing. Add in the shape-shifting Skrulls and we’ve got one heckuva confusing party!
One of the few issues coming out of the MCU Spider-Man films is how little they take advantage of Marissa Tomei’s top-notch portrayal of Aunt May. One way to pull more of May’s story front and center would be introducing Martin Li. Li worked with May in the comics (and in the game) at a soup kitchen, and it would be easy enough to have him show up at May’s new venture supporting victims of the Snappening (aka the Blip). It would, ideally, provide an opportunity for May to guide Peter through dealing with things and we’d get to see more of our favorite Aunt-nephew duo being dorky and awkward together on screen! Not to mention, the duality of having a character like Li who Jekyll-and-Hydes his way into being Mr. Negative would be taking Spidey’s current MCU villain trend of bad guys who don’t not have a point even further. Li is a sympathetic character, it’s just this other side of him that’s a murderous, evil wretch.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.