WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home, in theaters now.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally hit theaters, and its truly jaw-dropping success at the box office proves that not even a pandemic can stymie people’s love for the Web-Slinger. While there have been conflicting reports about the future of the character, it has been confirmed that Marvel and Sony bosses Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal are “actively developing” Spider-Man’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning that this isn’t the last audiences have seen of Tom Holland in his spiffy new red-and-blue tights.
However, fans are well aware that a hero is only as good as his villains. No Way Home gave viewers an overload of baddies as five of Spider-Man’s most iconic nemeses joined forces to take him down and protect their own futures. With Marvel working on more Spider-projects, here is a list of six supervillains who may appear in them to menace Peter Parker in future installments.
An icon of Spidey’s rogues gallery, the Scorpion was first introduced as Mac Gargan, a private investigator hired by J. Jonah Jameson to learn how Peter Parker got such great photos of Spider-Man. When that filed, Jameson took the next logical step and paid Gargan to undergo radical genetic experiments and put on a suit equipped with a mechanical tail to defeat the Web-Slinger. With his mind warped by the treatments, Gargan went on to menace both Spider-Man and Jameson as the Scorpion for decades to come.
Mac Gargan was already brought into the MCU in Spider-Man: Homecoming, played by Michael Mando. There, he was an ordinary criminal who planned to buy a cache of powerful weapons from Adrian Toomes before being arrested. Gargan ended the movie with a score to settle with Spider-Man, so the foundation is laid for a rematch in a future installment. It’s also worth noting that for a time, Gargan was empowered by the Venom symbiote. Given that No Way Home‘s stinger saw a piece of the black goo left behind in Mexico by a dimensionally-displaced Eddie Brock, it may find its way into the worst of hands.
Another member of Spider-Man’s classic rogues gallery, Aleksei Systevich was a dimwitted Russian mobster who also underwent radical genetic experiments, giving him superhuman strength and a suit of armor to match his new calling as a professional bad guy. Rhino is often a purely physical threat to Spidey, an unstoppable force in a grey costume whose defeat usually comes due to his own stupidity. However, in recent years the character has been painted in a more sympathetic light, wanting to move past being a villain but finding that circumstances have trapped him in the underworld and won’t let him break free.
Rhino made a brief appearance at the beginning and end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, played by an extremely hammy Paul Giamatti. He only suited up in the final scene, with a Rhino costume that looked more like an Iron Man suit that Tony Stark would’ve rejected for being too unwieldy, and audiences never got the chance to see him truly duke it out with Spider-Man. Giamatti was considered to return for No Way Home, but for whatever reason, that didn’t end up happening. There’s now room for the Rhino to return to the big screen and bring his unique brand of menace and depth to the MCU.
Mr. Negative sets himself apart from other characters on this list by being a modern villain, debuting in 2007 as opposed to the 1960s and ’70s. He’s first introduced as Martin Li, a wealthy philanthropist who runs the F.E.A.S.T. Project, a homeless shelter where Peter Parker’s Aunt May works. Unbeknownst to everyone, Li hides his villainous alter-ego Mr. Negative, a ruthless mob boss who heads the Chinatown gang the Inner Demons and has a bevy of superpowers that can heal or corrupt anyone he touches.
Although he’s relatively new to the scene, Mr. Negative has become a central member of Spider-Man’s rogues, acting as one of the main antagonists in the much-acclaimed Spider-Man video game. No Way Home set up that before her death, May Parker was still an active employee at F.E.A.S.T., and with her gone, Martin Li could potentially step in and turn her legacy into something monstrous, giving him a unique antagonism with the Web-Slinger that audiences haven’t seen before on the big screen.
Spider-Man boasts one of the best rogues galleries of any superhero, but one mark against it is that it is overwhelmingly male. The most notable exception is Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, a high-tech professional thief who sometimes has the power to cause bad luck to befall her enemies. Black Cat is also known for being a love interest for Spider-Man, flirting with the high-flying Web-Slinger during their bouts but unwilling to settle down with normal, boring Peter Parker.
Like Rhino, Felicia also put in a brief appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, depicted as Harry Osborn’s savvy assistant and played by Felicity Jones. A spin-off centered on Black Cat teaming up with the mercenary Silver Sable was in development but has since been canceled, with Sony considering moving the project to television. Until then, fans may enjoy seeing the Black Cat cross Spider-Man’s path, no matter how much bad luck she brings with her.
The Jackal is a bit of a controversial figure in Spider-Man lore — in no small part because his whole schtick has very little to do with being a jackal. Real name Miles Warren, the character was a science professor at Empire State University who developed a romantic obsession with one of his students, Gwen Stacy. After Gwen’s death, Warren blamed Spider-Man and turned himself into a green-suited supervillain to get his revenge.
A brilliant geneticist, Jackal sunk all his efforts into perfecting clones of both Gwen and Spider-Man himself. While the Spidey clone was believed to be killed, he later returned to the fold as Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider and kicked off “The Clone Saga,” an untenable Gordian knot of a storyline that is not only one of the most infamous Spider-Man stories ever published, but also emblematic of the wretched excesses of early ’90s comic books.
Jackal is a ridiculous character, even by the standards of Spider-Man bad guys, but his impact is undeniable. Clones and other rivals with spider-powers have been a thorn in the Web-Slinger’s side for decades. When they do show up, there’s always the terrifying possibility that the Jackal isn’t far behind, ready to rain chaos into Spidey’s life.
No Way Home ended with Peter Parker making the ultimate sacrifice, letting Dr. Strange erase everyone’s memories of him in order to hide his secret identity and protect his loved ones. However, the fact remains that many see Spider-Man as a menace and responsible for the drone attack on London and murder of Mysterio in Far From Home. It’s not hard to imagine someone might want to bring Spider-Man to justice — or punishment.
Enter Frank Castle, who made his first appearance in a Spider-Man comic, allying with the Jackal to take down the Web-Slinger. Like most of the Marvel Universe, Spidey finds himself at odds with the Punisher’s lethal approach to crime-fighting, something which could translate well to the big screen. Marvel Studios has already committed to bringing elements from Netflix’s Daredevil into the fold, with Matt Murdock making a cameo in No Way Home and Wilson Fisk returning to create chaos in Hawkeye. It’s not hard to imagine Jon Bernthal cementing his status as “the perfect Punisher” in the next Spider-Man movie.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently playing in theaters.
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