About That ‘Spider-Man 4’ Villain …

— by CAM SMITH —

Few news items are more entertaining to track than the burgeoning web of rumors which surround any given “Spider-Man” film prior to production. While some carry a nugget of truth at their sensationalized center, the more entertaining ones are the flat-out gonzo speculations that emanate from more questionable sources (i.e.: “Thomas Hayden Church AND Topher Grace playing Chameleon!” … “John Jameson set to be the Hobgoblin in ‘Spidey 3’!” … “Aunt May IS Carnage!”).

This week, printed an article that stated Canadian sweetheart Rachel McAdams was the top contender for the role of Felicia Hardy, better known as the saucy, buxom thief Black Cat, in the ever-evolving “Spider-Man 4” project. Without any real confirmation, this story holds all the weight of Tim Story’s artistic reputation. Sharp minds will recall that even back around 2005, Felicia Hardy was making headlines across the internet, with Chloe Sevigny rumored to be donning the sorta-villainess’ fur-lined bodysuit. While I’m of the camp that feels that using the character is a bad idea — a cat-themed female baddie? Familiar, much? — I’m more intrigued by the revelation later in the piece declaring that the creative team was scouting actors to play a new male villain.

Say what? Most Spidey-fans had assumed that Dylan Baker would be finally delivering on his winking cameos from the last two films and adding a layer of scaly reptile skin to his wardrobe playing the Lizard. Could this not be the case?

There have been early bits and pieces casting this plan into doubt, first with the New York Post quoting producer Todd Black as saying that the villain would have a “specific tie to New York City” — though one could interpret this as relating to the famed “reptiles in the sewers” urban legends — and Nikke Finke reporting that a pre-Whiplash Mickey Rourke was being eyed by Sony for a big baddie role (hmm … more on this later).

So, for fun and pointless speculation, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 most likely candidates destined to join the ranks of Venom, Green Goblin, Sandman and Dr. Octopus in sinisterly stepping into the realm of live-action. Each rogue will be ranked on a 1-5 “Spidey-Sense” scale, with 5 being reserved for those with the best chance of taking on Tobey Maguire’s wall-crawling avenger in 2011’s fourth “Spider-Man” web-stravaganza.

So, without further adieu:

The Vulture (aka Adrian Toomes)
Who’s he? An elderly-aged former electronics engineer, who invented a super-powered flight harness which gave him superhuman strength and the ability to, well, fly really fast. Turning to crime, and operating under a fearsome avian moniker, this soaring psychopath bears razor-sharp wings which can fire projectiles.

Why he’s in: Because he came a feather’s throw away from teaming up with Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman in “Spider-Man 3.” Ben Kingsley was approached to don the character’s fluffy green jumpsuit before being cut-loose when the studio decided to go in a more venomous direction. Every time a new instalment goes into development, Mr. Toomes’ name tends to frequently show up like a bad penny.

Why he’s out: Simply put, Vulture lacks the compelling dimensions to hold the spotlight on his own. After the awesome intensity and intimidation factor of the series’ past villains, a bald, older man in Big Bird wings feels a little too lightweight.

Spidey-Sense Scale: 4 out of 5

Scorpion (aka Mac Gargan)

Who’s he? A deadbeat private detective recruited by J. Jonah Jameson to take part in a risky experiment imbuing humans with the characteristics of animals. Driven insane by the procedure, and trapped inside a powerful, weaponized suit — complete with acid-spraying stinger — Gargan adopted the name Scorpion and holds a deadly vendetta against Peter’s blustering boss.

Why he’s in? His presence would produce a great insectoid hero/villain dichotomy and their similar abilities would make for some great sparring matches. Using Scorpion would also allow for even more screen time for the brilliant J.K. Simmons (Yay!).

Why he’s out?: After the astonishing wonder of watching Doc Ock’s eight mechanical arms come to whirring, snapping life, Scorpion’s single lethal appendage would be underwhelming to say the least. He’s an easy character to expand upon, but perhaps not appealing and original enough for the creative team to bother trying.

Spidey Sense Scale: 3 out of 5

Kraven (aka Sergei Kravenoff)

Who’s he? Originating from the darkest, most dangerous jungles, Kraven is the world’s top-most big-game hunter, a maniac who favors hand-to-hand combat over guns and gains strength from a magical serum.

Why he’s in? Sam Raimi has made numerous favorable mentions of the savage huntsman in the past, and his ruthless (mostly non-super-powered) obsession in taking down the Web-slinger would be a new avenue for the venerable film franchise to swing down. Plus, of all of the choices, Kraven feels like the most obvious role to cast Mickey Rourke in.

Why he’s out? Similar to Vulture, he may lack enough oomph to wow movie-goers already spoiled by gargantuan sand creatures and sky-surfing goblins. His best chance of tearing it up on the big-screen may be in being paired off with Lizard, perhaps in a loose translation of the famous “Kraven’s Last Hunt” six-part storyline, or even Todd McFarlane’s classic “Torment” arc.

Spidey Sense Scale: 4 out of 5

Silvermane (aka Silvio Manfredi)

Who’s he? A dangerous Italian mobster and mastermind behind the Maggia crime family who once attempted to unite all of New York’s various gangs into a single unstoppable force. Near the end of his mortality, he had his decrepit form placed in an unstoppable cyborg body.

Why he’s in?: If the filmmakers are truly interested in a villain with close ties to New York City, Silvermane may just be their man, as the best option, Kingpin, is owned by Fox. Boo-urns.

Why he’s out? While the notion is sort of appealing, I’m not sure many fans want to see Spidey taking on street-level organized crime. That’s more of a Batman-type gig nowadays. Not to mention that Silvermane is hardly a great character to trumpet on posters and press stills.

Spidey Scale Sense: 2 out of 5

Carnage (aka Cletus Kasady)

Who’s he?: A Hannibal Lecter-like mass murderer who gets hold of one of the Venom alien’s offspring and becomes a scarlet-coated symbiotic serial slayer. Picture Grace’s Venom character, only scarier, more vicious and completely unpredictable.

Why he’s in? He’s something of a fan favorite, and would allow for the series’ first unrepentantly evil homicidal force. As well, Dr. Conners IS still in possession of that suit fragment from “Spider-Man 3” …

Why he’s out? If Raimi was ambivalent towards Venom, you can bet he doesn’t give a bouncing big wheel over the somewhat one-dimensional blood-thirsty alien killer. Frankly, Carnage is more likely to be saved for the Venom spin-off currently being rewritten by director Gary Ross.

Spidey Sense Scale: 2 out of 5

Swarm (aka Fritz von Meyer)

Who’s he? A Nazi war criminal whose consciousness was resurrected into an entity made almost entirely out of mutated bees. Possesses the ability to control BEES, BEES, MILLIONS OF BEES!

Why he’s in? He made the cut to appear in the new “Spider-Man” Broadway musical, so he seems to be experiencing a career resurgence …

Why he’s out? Probably because, in a post “Wicker Man” and “Happening” world, nobody cares about the bees anymore. Although Raimi’s films have had a fantastic edge, Swarm is way the heck out there.

Spidey Sense Scale: 1 out of 5

Chameleon (aka Dmitri Smerdyakov)

Who’s he? A Russian-born master-of-disguise, who puts Lon Chaney Sr. to shame, with malleable skin and the ability to disappear into any identity and body-type. Also, later revealed to be Kraven’s brother.

Why he’s in?: He was the first true Spidey arch-nemesis, first appearing in “Amazing Spider-Man #1,” so he has classic-status on his side, which seems to be big factor in informing Raimi’s choices. If done properly, he could add considerable suspense to the film in that he could be anywhere, anytime, and hide right in front of the audiences eyes. Sam Raimi also has plenty of experience with this type of character after helming “Darkman.”

Why he’s out? He lacks the necessary menace to carry the film solo. His psychological game would be tremendous, but the climactic fight scenes would be painfully one-sided. He would work best being matched with a less cerebral, more physical threat (*Cough* Man Mountain Marko *Cough*). Additionally, he may be a little too “been there, done that” for Raimi, a director usually given to challenging himself every time out.

Spidey Sense Scale: 3 out of 5

Morbius (aka Michael Morbius)

Who’s he? Why, he’s a Greek Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who accidentally transformed himself into a living vampire after attempting to cure himself of a rare blood disease.

Why he’s in? Because vampires are hot business right now thanks to the success of “Twilight” and “True Blood.” His name also crossed Raimi’s tongue more than once during his “Drag Me to Hell” press tour duties.

Why he’s out? It’s really questionable whether Spider-Man’s movie universe lends itself to vampires, especially considering that, given the hero’s ocean of baddies, this guy’s something of a minnow. And does Sony even own the rights to Morbius, who was originally written into New Line’s “Blade: Trinity”?

Spidey Sense Scale: 2 out of 5

Shocker (aka Herman Schultz)

Who’s he?: A New York born-and-bred high school drop-out who became a safe-cracker with the aid of a pair of self-designed gauntlets which shoot concussive vibrating air-blasts at high frequency.

Why he’s in: Again, the New York connection. He’s also a dark horse fan fave with a nifty quilted costume and occasionally sharp comedic demeanor.

Why he’s out: If you’re going to go with a villain capable of projecting energy, Electro feels like the safer, more recognizable, bet. Shocker often feels, and is sporadically portrayed as, an amusing second-stringer.

Spidey Sense Scale: 2 out of 5

Electro (aka Maxwell Dillon)

Who’s he? If the name doesn’t give it away already, Dillon is a former electric company employee who gained the freak power to control electricity after being struck by lightning. Shocking, positively shocking.

Why he’s in? Of the many evil heavy-hitters in Spidey-verse, he feels like one of the most natural to translate to film. His electrical powers could spark some incredible effects sequences and it would allow fans the chance to see Spider-Man make himself some genuine webbed-up boxing-gloves. If the writers can conjure up a compelling back-story, he’s a real contender.

Why he’s out? It all depends on how easy he is to flesh out. Honestly, the only real caveat against using him is his outlandish outfit, which will require serious re-imagining before stepping in front of the camera.

Spidey Sense Scale: 5 out of 5

The Lizard (aka Curt Conners)

Who’s he? A gifted surgeon and scientist who injected himself with an untested reptilian DNA serum in order to regrow his amputated arm. From then on, it’s Jekyll and course, green-hued Hyde, baby!

Why he’s in? Dylan Baker has already played the character twice now, and he’s earned his due. Lizard is an inherently cinematic villain and could provide some spectacular Velociraptor-style mayhem. There’s also a strong emotional core to ol’ leatherhead, which could be emphasized through his relationships with his wife and young son, as well as Peter.

Why he’s out? He’d be the third tragic baddie transformed by an experimental scientific mishap. Too many?

Spidey Sense Scale: 5 out of 5

Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck)

Who’s he? A movie-land special effects maestro-cum-malevolent master of illusions. Using hypnosis, smoke and mirrors, Spidey-sense blocking gas and web-dissolving chemicals, Mysterio is one of the Friendly Neighborhood Wall-crawler’s most enigmatic and slippery foes.

Why he’s in? His presence would allow for some stunning, surreal visual treats, allowing the CG animators to run hog-wild with their collective imaginations. He also has one of the more iconic costumes — Fishbowl for the win! — which, if adjusted properly, could make for a striking, one-of-a-kind villainous image.

Why he’s out? Mysterio walks a very fine line between cool and camp, and the filmmakers may not wish to roll the dice on such a goofily designed and weird character. His shadowy back-story and personality also makes him extremely tough to add relatable dimension to.

­Spidey Sense Scale: 3 out of 5

Rhino (aka Aleksei Sytsevich)

Who’s he? A super-enhanced thug trapped inside an experimental ultra-strong polymer rhino suit, that’s who!

Why he’s in? He would pose a formidable, unusual physical hazard for our dear Mr. Parker.

Why he’s out: Would probably prove to be too goofy-looking on film. Rhino also lacks much in the way of an interesting personality and charisma and would only really work in small doses. And let’s be realistic: can you imagine many decent actors lining up to get zipped inside the goon’s 100-lb. animal suit for six weeks?

Spidey Sense Scale: 1 out of 5

Black Fox (aka Raul Chalmers)

Who’s he? An international jewel thief well into his sixties, who yearns to pull off enough sizable heists to fund his retirement to the French Riviera. Think of the Springfield Cat Burglar from that hilarious episode of “The Simpsons.”

Why he’s in? I, uh, er … Well, what I mean to say is that he’d maybe make a, um, good companion character to Black Cat … (yes, I realize I’m really reaching here).

Why he’s out? Basic common sense dictates it.

Spidey Sense Scale: -5 out of 5

Hobgoblin (aka Ned Leeds/Roderick Kingsley/Jason Philip Macendale Jr.)

Who’s he?: Hobgoblin is a fiendish mantle held by a number of individuals, which requires them to use weapons and equipment inspired by Norman Osborn’s secret journals and wear a scary orange Halloween get-up.

Why he’s is? It would be a potential opportunity to bring back Willem Dafoe and James Franco for wicked cameos. Hobbie could also tap into Peter’s guilt over his friend’s untimely death. Furthermore, if writers went with the Ned Leeds version, it would give his wife, Elizabeth Banks’ Betty Brant, a heap more to do.

Why he’s out? Aren’t we all totally Goblin-ed out by now? Franco’s New Goblin (aka the Paintballing Snowboarder/Snowboarding Paintballer) was something of a wash-out and demand for another variation is hushed at best.

Spidey Sense Scale: 1 out of 5


So what do you think It’s Just Movies readers? Who would you like to see get their butt handed to them in “Spider-Man 4”? Are you a Black Fox or Swarm defender? Chime in on our comments section and make your Spidey-lovin’ voices heard.

Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at

5 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    “Tim Story’s artistic reputation…”

    Ha ha. Classic. Great piece.

  2. Kat #

    Great story! I can’t wait until the movie comes out.

  3. moviefan #

    Hey cam a very nice article. I personally want to see lizard and kraven. I think these two together would work out well together. Plus just stick to them only. Both we dont really need to get into much of a backstory. Connors like one scene of him testing his lizard dna forumla. Then we have kraven who we can learn is one of the world’s best hunters, comes to nyc to fight the man lizard he heard about.

    Then we have kraven going after lizard who is attacking the city. Spider-man trying to stop kraven since he learns it is connors. Trying to cure connors. Then kraven turns his sights on spidey as the much better prize. That is how I would like to see spider-man 4 go.

    As for other villains i do want to see used down the road i totally want to see mysterio, come on he would be a great visual villain to use. Also i would like to use shocker/electro, vulture could be a good one too. Spidey has so many foes we havent tapped into that could be great thing to see.

    As for this total 180 degree twist with black cat rumors poping up. Its a bit odd cause past few months it was looking more and more like it would be the lizard solo or with another villain too.

    Now i do like the rumor of rachael mcadams for felica hardy/black cat. I would be down with her if she was picked. Also i read some roman actress is also testing for this possible female lead role.

    Also some fans are thinking with the reports that black cat is in and is a lead role, that maybe mj(dunst) may have a much smaller role this time around. Or maybe she decided to drop out. Now i wouldnt mind if she did. Dunst i thought was a total miscast for the role of MJ.

    So if dunst has a smaller role or left the film. I could see them maybe saying she got back into the theater/acting/modeling work. Found a job in LA for example and her and peter decided to take a break.

    So then if the black cat rumors are indeed 100% true, which it seems partially is felica/black cat can be a new love interest for peter.

    Also i read earlier this week when the rumor popped up there was another peice to the story.

    But it went something like this, They are thinking of having felica’s father also in the film. But they were going to change his back story from being a cat burglar like it is in the comics. To something totally different. They were going on saying he was to be the new owner of the daily bugle(think of dexter bennent of the current ASM comics run). Then be some different villain himself like the vulture or some other silly idea. Now to me personally i hope that isnt want they are planning. It would be silly to change the hardy’s backstory for no real good reason.

    Now if the father story is part true, this is how i would like to see how it goes. Her father we can say was a cat burglar when she was a kid. He stoled alot of money and items. He then retired from the crime business. Uses that money to become rich and powerful. So In that way we still have he was a criminal. Then if they want do the whole ideal he buys the bugle. Then maybe say if their is a second villain, that guy had pass dealings with him and then bumps father hardy off. Then somehow it leads into felica becoming black cat and go on from there. I dont really know how i would go about how to make felica into black cat.

    One last thing i would like to see if black cat is indeed a villain in the film. Is for them to throw in those bad luck powers of hers she has in the comics. That would make for some fun scenes with her and spidey.

    sorry for the super long post.

  4. Disco #

    Fantastic write-up.

  5. Disco #

    Oh, and I really like the layout, too.

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. About That "Spider-Man 4" Villain … | It's Just Movies | Spiderman 4 | Wallpapers | Comics | Photos | Pictures | DVD Movie | Trailer | Clips | Icons | Games | PSP | Xbox 14 11 09