Why Is Michael Keaton Filming More 'Vulture Stuff' For The Spider-Man Universe?

Michael Keaton as Vulture
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Here’s one way to tell just how incredibly cool Michael Keaton is. He’s part of both the DC and Marvel on-screen universes, and hardly gives it a second thought as to what that means for his legacy. Keaton was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel recently, and was being peppered with questions about his return to the Batman role for next year’s The Flash. As he deflected, admitting that he didn’t speak with Val Kilmer and George Clooney as he prepared to step back into the cape and the cowl. But in the process of that interview segment, Keaton dropped a Spider-Man bomb when he revealed:

I’m shooting tomorrow. Yeah, man. Some Vulture stuff.

I’m sorry, what? This isn’t so far out of left field, because Michael Keaton started playing Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture, in Spider-Man: Homecoming and expects to keep playing the part as the Spider-Man universe at Sony expands. However, there isn’t anything at the moment that we think Keaton needs to be filming as Vulture, so the comment was confusing. There are three possible reasons why Michael Keaton would need to be filming “Vulture stuff” in Hollywood today, so let’s go over them.

Michael Keaton

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Michael Keaton could be shooting Morbius pickups.

We have seen Keaton’s Adrian Toomes in the two trailers for Sony’s upcoming Morbius, and it’s possible that he’s reshooting his part for some post-credit manipulations. Jared Leto stars as the main character in Morbius, a doctor trying to cure his own rare blood disease who turns himself into a Living Vampire. But Morbius and Vulture are Spider-Man villains, and Sony is building a Spider-Man universe, so Keaton might have had to film some alternate takes for the part he’s going to play in January’s feature. 

Sony did something similar to this in Venom: Let There be Carnage, where Andy Serkis worked on his end-credits scene right up until his movie released. So it’s not unusual for actors in a comic-book movie, especially one that’s connected to other features, to have to go back and film additional footage, and if I had to guess, that’s where I’d think that Michael Keaton was heading. 

Michael Keaton

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Michael Keaton might be in Kraven the Hunter.

At the same time, it’s possible that Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is going to be the glue that holds the Spider-Man villains together. In the Morbius trailer, Toomes tells Leto’s character, “You and I should stay in touch.” Go back to the end-credits scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, where an imprisoned Toomes speaks with Mac Gargan (Michael Mando), a criminal who’d go on to become The Scorpion. Gargan has a grudge against Peter, and that could surface later. 

But the next Sony movie set to film as part of the Spider-Man universe of Marvel characters is Kraven the Hunter, which will star Aaron Taylor Johnson. Rumor says that the movie is in pre-production and might even have begun filming as it coasts to a 2023 release. Keaton doesn’t have to be a major part of the Kraven movie. But if his Vulture is the one building a Sony-level Sinister Six to go after Spider-Man, then having him film a scene or two where he meets and speaks with Kraven makes sense. 

Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

They are sneaking Michael Keaton into Spider-Man: No Way Home. 

OK, this last one is a stretch. Because at this stage, Spider-Man: No Way Home should be finished. Or, as close to finished as possible. Yes, the upcoming sequel has a LOT of villains in it, from Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) to Electro (Jamie Foxx). Vulture could be worked into the fray. But he also could serve the Venom role and appear in a post-credits scene that further connects Tom Holland to the developing Spider-Man universe. It’d be very appropriate. But this also feels like something that would have been shot a while back, and not saved until less than a month before the movie opens. 

So those are my current best guesses. One of them HAS to be right, because those are the options on the current board for Spider-Man content. I like the theory of Michael Keaton being the glue that holds the villainous realm of the Spidey universe together, but we’ll see how that shakes out in the years to come. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and 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.