Spider-Man is back! And while he hasn’t been gone for too long, it would seem that based on the box office, critical, and audience reception, this iteration is here to stay for the long haul. A sequel has already been scheduled for July 5th, 2019 and will kick off Marvel’s Phase 4 (or whatever they end up calling the sequel iteration to their cinematic universe). With Peter Parker confirmed to be the center of the MCU going forward, there are certainly plenty of sequels to come. Since Sony is developing their own Spider-Man side cinematic universe, with its connections to the larger MCU still a bit unclear, characters like Venom, Carnage, Silver Sable, and Black Cat will be out of the loop. But there’s a surplus of great Spider-Man villains ready for a reimagining and waiting to be ushered into this brave new world. Here are some casting choices we’d like to see:
Rami Malek as The Chameleon
A personal favorite of mine, and Spider-Man’s first supervillain in the comics, The Chameleon could really make Peter’s life hell in terms of his personal life and his superhero exploits. A master of disguise, and all around creepy dude who became obsessed with Spider-Man, and later Peter Parker once he found out his secret identity, The Chameleon could give a Spider-Man film a lot to play with in terms of themes of trust and dual identities. Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek is one of Hollywood’s brightest young talents, and he’s got a quality about him that can be both alluring and frightening. It’s easy to see him as the world’s most talented stalker.
Pedro Pascal as Kraven
Fans have been clamoring to see Kraven, and subsequently an adaptation of the famed storyline “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” ever since the Raimi films. A notorious hunter and tactician, Kraven becomes bored with big game hunting and sets his sights on Spider-Man in his efforts to prove he’s the greatest hunter in the world. He’s also the half-brother of the Chameleon which could allow for a great dynamic if these new films decide to go the two villain route. Kraven’s repeated failure and increasing age lead to the events of “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” and one of the most startling moments in Spider-Man’s history. Pedro Pascal, who displayed a roguish charm in Game of Thrones, and more recently, The Great Wall, has the physique and presence to bring Spider-Man into adulthood.
Joaquin Phoenix as Mysterio
The master of illusion, and former special effects wizard and stunt man, Quentin Beck is the kind of rogue made for the movies. With the new Spider-Man relying heavily on technology, Mysterio could definitely give him a run for his money with his robots and array of chemical compounds. Spider-Man has always had a great array of very human villains in outlandish costumes, and there are no more human and outlandish than the failed artist who wears a fishbowl on his head. While he couldn’t commit to the lengthy franchise expectations of Doctor Strange, despite his admitted interest in Marvel films, we think Mysterio could be just the kind of commitment and venture into weirdness that Phoenix would be drawn to. There’s always a sense that something is broken within Beck, and Phoenix could really tap into that with heartbreaking and frightening results.
Daniel Wu as Mr. Negative
A relatively recent addition to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Martin Li is a villain divided. His normal side is invested in helping Chinatown’s homeless population while his evil side works to become Chinatown’s Kingpin of Crime. Both sides are aware of each other, but neither interfere with the other’s business. Spider-Man has a long history of Jekyll and Hyde style villains, but rather than seeing that play our again with the Lizard, we’d rather see a villain who is more visually interesting and directly ties to Spider-Man: Homecoming’s ground level approach. Negative’s aim is to bring out the worst of people, and with Spider-Man being a character based in recognizing our best selves, the thematic battle could be quite effective. Plus, Mr. Negative can create dark energy blades, and who doesn’t want to see that? We’d like to see Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu give Spider-Man a run for his money and probably provide some of the best action scenes Spider-man has ever been a part of.
Adrien Brody as Morbius
Michael Morbius, a doctor with a rare blood disease whose attempt at a cure results in vampiric abilities, is a bit of an oddity among Spider-Man’s villains. He’s not incredibly popular, but he’s visually interesting and first appeared during a storyline in which Spider-Man grew too extra arms and started mutating into a Man-Spider. I think a Halloween set, body horror film could be a really unique route to go with a Spider-Man film and allow for an interesting aesthetic shift, albeit a temporary one. Morbius has also been an ally of Spider-Man, and perhaps his appearance in a film could be secondary to a larger villain. Adrien Brody is more interesting an actor than he’s often given credit for, and he’d make a hell of a tragic vampire born of science, rather than the supernatural.
Giancarlo Esposito as The Jackal
Professor Miles Warren is most famous for kicking off the infamous clone saga, which depending on your take is one of the most confusing or interesting storylines to happen to Peter Parker. There’s a way that the “Clone Saga” could be done right, and in fact I’m hopeful that they’ll attempt it. While the film iteration probably won’t delve into Warren’s creepy infatuation with his student, Gwen Stacy, Warren could be a great addition to the faculty at Peter’s high school, or be his mentor during his first year of college. If we do get the Jackal, the more recent Anubis mask disguise would be more interesting than another green-clad villain. Giancarlo Esposito made our palms sweat on Breaking Bad, and while I suggested him for Osborn a few years ago, I think Warren might allow him more room to really make the role his own.
Max Thieriot as The Rose
While it seems unlikely that we’ll see Vincent D’Onofrio play the Kingpin in the Spider-Man films, which is a shame, there’s still hope for some Fisk action. Richard Fisk, the son of the Kingpin, became a crime boss of his own, one who sought to steal the Kingpin’s empire from beneath him. Richard could easily be a secret son of the Kingpin, a result of a previous affair, and could seek to become a power player while his father resides in a jail cell. While so much of Spider-Man’s villains are colorful and tethered to super powers, there’s always been something satisfying about seeing him take on organized crime and finding himself in a world that’s far more complex than he imagined. Max Thieriot, who never failed to impress on Bates Motel, could bring an intensity and sense of hurt to the role. Plus, I like the idea of The Rose being close of age to Spider-Man, to fulfill the notion of power without responsibility.
Tim Robbins as Doctor Octopus
Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock still stands as one of our greatest comic book movie villains. He was brilliant and sympathetic with just the right amount of menace that still allowed him to be redeemable by the film’s end. For this new version of Ock, we don’t want a redeemable villain. We want the selfish, egotistical, and jealous Doctor Otto Octavius from the comics. Ock should be dangerous and entirely unhinged, the living embodiment of the feeling that the world owes us something. Tim Robbins is always a force to be reckoned with and he has a huge presence that would work great for Spider-Man’s second greatest nemesis.
Jena Malone as The Hobgoblin
We’ve seen male Goblins over and over, so let’s switch it up and make Hobgoblin a woman. Spider-Man has a shortage of female villains, and with Black Cat and Silver Sable off the board for now, Spider-Man needs a strong female adversary. There’s been a whole host of Hobgoblins in the comics and one of those character’s stories could easily be adapted for a different gender. Roderick Kinglsey, the original Hobgoblin was a fashion designer with an obsession with Norman Osborn and that would serve as a solid basis for this new iteration. Jena Malone, who was tremendous in The Neon Demon, could create a fascinating portrayal of a Hobgoblin whose villainy pulls Peter into the world of Norman Osborn.
Kevin Bacon as Norman Osborn
I suspect it will be some time before we see Peter’s arch-nemesis make an appearance, given the heavy reliance on Goblins in the previous two franchises. But Norman Osborn is simply too great and too important a character to remove from Peter’s mythos. Even if we don’t see the Green Goblin for a while, I’d love to see Osborn have a presence, even if only as a corporate rival to Tony Stark. Not only does Kevin Bacon make a great villain, but he’s got a unyielding coolness that would fit right in with the modern vibe of this new Spider-Man franchise. Plus, he’s already got an in with Jon Watts, who directed him in Cop Car.
Which characters and actors would you like to see join this new Spider-Man franchise?
Featured Image: Sony Pictures Releasing