All the talk about the multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home obscures a big question about Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Is Spider-Man going to fight the Sinister Six?
The Sinister Six, a rotating group of six (or sixty) villains who team up with the common goal of killing Spider-Man, has so far struggled to assemble on the big screen. Its original membership in the comics includes Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, and Vulture.
Before Spider-Man joined the Avengers film franchise, Sony had plans to use the Sinister Six as an anchor for a cinematic universe full of Spider-Man villains. The studio planted the first seeds in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man and 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Eventually, Sony wanted to premier The Sinister Six on November 11, 2016 — but it never happened.
The ghosts of Sony’s Sinister Six still linger, and now there’s a real opportunity for resurrection.
Venom, released in 2018, grossed an impressive $856 million and is soon to be followed by a sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage. And Morbius, another movie featuring a dark Spider-Man villain played by Jared Leto, comes out on January 28, 2022.
There’s more. A Black Cat/Silver Sable movie is currently on ice, but Kraven the Hunter has a release date of January 13, 2023. The film will introduce Kraven, a Russian big-game hunter who serves as the antagonist in “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” an iconic 1987 storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man comics written by J. M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck.
Count them: Five villains — almost enough for a “Sinister Six.” But really, there are many Spider-Man villains in the MCU, and chances are, they may form the Sinister Six.
Just consider what we know about Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to erase the world’s public knowledge that he is Spider-Man. Strange messes up the magic (no thanks to a panicky Peter) and causes a severe rift in the multiverse.
The rift allows many different continuities to blend together — Doctor Octopus, last seen in the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man 2 released in 2004 (and played by Alfred Molina), and Electro, from the Marc Webb-directed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (played by Jamie Foxx) both appear in the trailers. There are even wild rumors that Rhys Ifans will reprise his role as Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man.
But of this pantheon of peril, who may actually join the Sinister Six?
Below, we break down every possible Spider-Man villain who is currently alive, either in the MCU or in other canons, and weigh their chances at forming the Sinister Six.
Vulture (Adrian Toomes)
A founding member of the Sinister Six and one of Spider-Man’s earliest villains, Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. Vulture, is played by Michael Keaton in the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Vulture is defeated in Homecoming, but he is apprehended and sentenced to prison. And now, he’s free. A surprise appearance in the trailer for Morbius announced that Keaton will return as Vulture, and he seems ready for a fight.
Sinister Six chance — High. Vulture is a connecting thread between the MCU and Morbius. We need more context for Vulture’s role and we will need to wait for the movie to come out for that. But as a founding member of the Sinister Six in the comics and Spider-Man’s first villain in the MCU, it’d be fitting that Vulture would head up the recruitment process.
Scorpion (Mac Gagan)
Mac Gagan, aka Scorpion, is a minor villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Played by Michael Mando, the character doesn’t appear in costume or even with any powers in the movie.
But a scorpion tattoo on his neck and a cryptic post-credits scene — in which he tells Adrian that he’s got “some boys on the outside” who’d love to meet Spider-Man — shows the Scorpion is both alive and very much an active threat to Spider-Man. Scorpion is also a one-time Sinister Six member in the comics, which means the MCU could follow suit.
Sinister Six Chance — Low. Michael Mando isn’t confirmed for a role in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But also, Scorpion isn’t on agreeable terms with Vulture, based on the Homecoming post-credits scene. Still, it certainly sounds like Scorpion wants to get a band together to take down Spidey. If Vulture doesn’t form the Sinister Six, it may be Scorpion that does it.
Doc Ock (Otto Octavius)
Though he heroically sacrificed himself at the end of Spider-Man 2, Alfred Molina’s unforgettable Dr. Otto Octavius, or “Doc Ock,” resurfaces in Spider-Man: No Way Home. His chilling greeting — “Hello, Peter” — is enough to set off the spidey senses for generations of fans.
Exactly how Otto makes it out alive to appear in No Way Home and his origins are yet to be determined. He also bears a slightly different look than he did in Spider-Man 2, favoring more black clothing and a different hairstyle. Alfred Molina is playing the role once more, but the infinite multiverses mean we could be seeing a variant Doc Ock and not the Doc Ock of Sam Raimi’s classic movie.
Sinister Six Chance — High. At the very least, we know he’ll be in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but his exact role in the film remains to be seen. Watch this space.
The Lizard (Dr. Curt Connors)
In 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, the first Spider-Man reboot movie starring Andrew Garfield in the title role, actor Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Curt Connors, a geneticist and U.S. Army veteran who tries to use science to regrow his lost arm and instead turns himself into a giant mutant lizard.
The role was previously played by Dylan Baker in 2004’s Spider-Man 2 and 2007’s Spider-Man 3. And while Dylan Baker’s version never becomes the Lizard in Raimi’s trilogy, Rhys Ifans’ version undergoes the transformation in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Now there are unfounded internet rumors Ifans will return as Lizard in Spider-Man: No Way Home, with one shaky source suggesting he will become human once more at the movie’s end.
Considering that Lizard does become a human again at the end of Amazing Spider-Man, it seems weird to change him back into a Lizard and back into a human again, no?
Sinister Six chance — Low. Ifans has not been confirmed to return for No Way Home.
Venom (Eddie Brock)
While there is a Venom in the Raimi trilogy (played by Topher Grace), actor Tom Hardy is now the face of Venom as a result of an unlikely hit 2018 movie and an upcoming sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, co-starring Woody Harrelson as the symbiote villain “Carnage.”
The Venom films position Venom to be an anti-hero, feasting on bad guys and trying to defend innocent people. This mirrors the comics as Venom, having been defeated by Spider-Man, moves to San Francisco to find redemption as a vigilante protector.
Sinister Six Chance — High (ish). Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage are not canon to the MCU, but the whole multiverse business means that can easily change. And as the host of an insatiable alien parasite, staging a confrontation involving Venom and Spider-Man — whether as friends or enemies — won’t be hard to do.
Kraven the Hunter (Aloysha Kravinoff)
A Kraven movie has been in development on and off for some time, but in a story published May 2021, Deadline reports actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson has got the role after impressing executives in the unreleased movie Bullet Train.
What’s significant about Kraven is that, like Vulture, he is another founding member of the Sinister Six in the comics. But his actual movie may or may not stand apart from the MCU. Deadline reports that the movie is “stand-alone,” but what that actually means is unclear. (Venom, for example, is a stand-alone movie but it too might merge with the MCU soon.)
Sinister Six Chance — Low. With a tentative release date of 2023, it may be too late for Kraven to join the Sinister Six — if the villains form in No Way Home. But if they form later, then there’s room for Kraven. His role as a founding member can’t be underestimated.
Morbius (Dr. Michael Morbius)
A genius scientist who turns himself into a vampire, Jared Leto will play the tragic Spider-Man villain in the 2022 film Morbius. Originally slated for release in early 2021, there is plenty of reason to believe that Morbius may actually end up debuting in No Way Home.
The film seems to take place in the MCU, with Spider-Man blamed for murder in graffiti art shown in the trailer. The inclusion of Michael Keaton’s Vulture further confirms that Morbius is an MCU movie, even if it’s not directly overseen by Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Marvel and Sony’s very public spat in 2019 seems to have resulted in more open borders between the studios and their franchises — hence Morbius having more elements of the MCU than previously thought.
Sinister Six chance — Low. With Morbius’s release pushed to 2022, after No Way Home, there’s a chance the delay means Morbius isn’t actually consequential to the Spider-Man movie. It is curious that Vulture is in it, but perhaps Morbius will be reserved for another vampire hunter in the Marvel Universe.
Electro (Max Dillon)
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jamie Foxx plays Max Dillon, a lonely electrical engineer who develops an obsession for Spider-Man and soon comes to possess electrical superpowers.
While Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of the most unpopular movies in Spider-Man’s history, fans were still stunned to hear that Foxx is reported to return for Spider-Man: No Way Home in October 2020. His Electro is missing from the trailer for No Way Home, but he is still expected to appear in the film.
Like Kraven and Doc Ock, Electro is yet another founding member of the Sinister Six, so his return to the big screen seriously indicates that there are ambitious plans for a super-group of supervillains to fight Spider-Man. But with the exact nature of the role unknown for now, it’s not easy to say it’s for certain.
Sinister Six chance — High. We haven’t seen Electro in No Way Home yet, but Jamie Foxx is confirmed for a role in No Way Home. Expect sparks.
Mysterio (Quentin Beck)
The least surprising “twist” in Far From Home — and pretty much all of the MCU — are the motives behind Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. Of course he’s the bad guy! Besides being one of Spider-Man’s most recognizable enemies, he’s also a founding member of the Sinister Six. There is no way Mysterio is actually a “superhero.” Come on.
While Mysterio’s demise is blamed on Spider-Man by the Daily Bugle, fans theorize that Mysterio’s unrivaled ability to manipulate what you see means he might not actually be gone for good. It’s a hard theory to buy, given that the movie left no indication that he survives. Still, it’s hard to tell what’s real when it comes to the master of illusion.
Sinister Six chance — Low. Quentin is dead. If he’s still alive after Far From Home, it may diminish the significance of what Peter Parker is currently going through.
Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)
He’s easily one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies of all time, but the Green Goblin isn’t a founding member of the Sinister Six. Still, Willem Dafoe’s role as billionaire-turned-monster Norman Osborn, a.k.a. Green Goblin, in 2002’s Spider-Man is an unforgettable one that has led to the 66-year-old enjoying unlikely familiarity with younger audiences as a meme figure.
The Goblin is teased to appear in some capacity in No Way Home. But Dafoe is not confirmed to reprise his role in the movie and the trailer for No Way Home is very careful to omit actually showing the Goblin. But those laughs...
Sinister Six Chance — High. Those laughs in the trailer are unmistakable.
Spider-Man: No Way Home will be released in theaters on December 17, 2021.