After dipping its toes into the standalone Spider-Man universe, Sony Pictures took a plunge recently into the development of its live-action Spider-Verse world by casting Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a Kraven the Hunter movie that will be directed by J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, All Is Lost). This means that all of a sudden, Sony has a Spider-Man universe that already includes Venom (Tom Hardy), Carnage (Woody Harrelson), Morbius the Living Vampire (Jared Leto) and Vulture (Michael Keaton, seen in the Morbius trailer) and now Kraven. Once Sony finally brings Spider-Man back over from Marvel, this universe will be humming with activity.
Since it seems like Sony Pictures is hellbent on finally, and properly, constructing its universe -- as opposed to trying to do it all in one movie, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 -- we started thinking about other classic Spider-Man villains who’d benefit from a solo movie, eventually teasing out their tussle with Tom Holland’s web-slinger. Do you have any favorites we haven’t mentioned?
So far, over the course of his long cinematic history, Spider-Man has seen a number of his earliest villains realized in real-life, some with fantastic results (like Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus) and some with mixed results (The Lizard). And yet, his earliest opposition, the villain introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #1, has yet to be given the chance, and that should change. The Chameleon’s name explains his powers. He can masquerade as any individual, and uses that skill to take down powerhouses in the Marvel universe. The cool part? Chameleon is half-brother to Kraven, and is the person who convinced his half-brother to hunt Spider-Man in the first place. Could he be introduced alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, then spun off into his own movie?
Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin of Crime
At a time where villains like the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) and Cruella (Emma Stone) are getting their own movies, no villain deserves his or her own cinematic universe than The Kingpin. Used to incredible effect in the Netflix Daredevil program, the Kingpin lords over a criminal enterprise that controls the bulk of New York City’s seedy underground. His movie could be a catalyst for smaller villains like The Enforcers, or be the portal that brings pivotal characters like The Punisher and Daredevil into Marvel’s big-screen universe. Following up Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance might be difficult, but Wilson Fisk is such a magnetic and despicable character, he deserves a movie of his own.
Felicia Hardy, The Black Cat
There has been talk of a Black Cat movie happening at Sony Pictures, as well as a Silver Sable story (or, if rumors can be believed, a team up script). No matter how it’s done, The Black Cat could be introduced as a slinky criminal holding up an Oceans Eight-type heist picture that just happens to be set in the Spider-Man universe. Felicia Hardy is a professional thief, and the best at what she does. But changing up either the items she has to steal, or her motivations for stealing it, could really amp up the stakes in a Black Cat feature. Also, Hardy ends up being a dangerous love interest for Spider-Man, and that could be a cool wrinkle for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker to face.
Flint Marko, The Sandman
There’s an excellent, and tragic, story waiting to be told with classic Spider-Man villain Flint Marko, and it’s hinted at in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 but short-shrifted. Marko gets turned into a shapeshifter when exposed to nuclear-enhanced sand (I’m not kidding), and while that power is used to decent effect in the comic books, the Raimi movie was the first one that explored the pain and heartbreak that would accompany this happening to a human being. Marko had a wife and a daughter, and his transition into Sandman separated him from them. A solo movie could dig deeper into that circumstance, and make us invest as much into Marko as we do for Joker and Cruella.
So far, the movies that I laid out are character studies of the fascinating individuals in Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery. But what about a movie that just strips a villain down to his base essence and unleashes some cool tech? Spencer Smythe is a scientist specializing in robotics who is hired by J. Jonah Jameson to capture and kill Spider-Man. He invents numerous Spider-Slayers, creative robots that could look amazing on screen, and create vicious headaches for the wallcrawler. Because Jon Watts brought JK Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: Far From Home, a Spider-Slayer movie could be jump-started easily, and would be a total blast.
Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin
The Godfather of Spider-Man villains. The solid foundation of the first Raimi movie who ended up playing a significant part in the sequels. A villain who has been avoided in the MCU so far because of the impact Willem Dafoe’s version had on audiences. It’s time to revisit Norman Osborn, who really is the main antagonist to Spider-Man. Having gone through Vulture and Mysterio in his first movies, Tom Holland needs a manipulative nemesis who is dedicated fully to tearing his life apart at the seams, exposing his identity, and ruining the lives of everyone close to Peter. The Batman has Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and Spider-Man has The Green Goblin.
Give him a solo movie to establish his menace, then unleash him on Spider-Man and Sony’s burgeoning universe. Norman could power years of films in this world, and I’d be lined up for all of them.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.