Movieline has dropped an exclusive report claiming that they have it from an inside source close to Spider-Man 4 that all the previous rumors of The Lizard and/or Black Cat serving as the villains for Sam Raimi’s next Spidey film are totally off the mark.

So who will be the principal villain(s) in Spider-Man 4, according to Movieline? That’s where things get a bit odd (even more so than the Black Cat rumors).

According to this exclusive report (which is being backed by our friends at First Showing), actor John Malkovich is being eyed for a role as The Vulture, a classic Spider-Man foe whose power is a flight suit with razor-sharp wings. Ok, so maybe that isn’t so odd: Malkovich as The Vulture is one of those head-slap, “Should’ve thought of that” casting choices we all see with 20/20 hindsight. However, news that Anne Hathaway (previously rumored for a role as Black Cat) is being eyed for a role as “The Vulturess” have fans around the ‘Net scratching their heads in confusion.

Even more confusing, is the rumor that Hathaway would still be playing the character of Felicia Hardy; in the Spider-Man comics, Hardy was the alter-ego of Black Cat. The Vulturess would be a brand new addition to the Spidey Universe (as far as I know), and if Hathaway is indeed being eyed for the role, it raises a lot of questions (and a few alarms) that I believe we should toss out here and now:

  • Would The Vulture and Vulturess be a team?
  • If they were a team, would Hathaway be Malkovich’s daughter, or (gross) his wife/lover?
  • Do we really need two villains with the same exact power?
  • Why use the Felicia Hardy character just to introduce a new villainess?
  • Wouldn’t having a Bird and Cat as villains just be cooler?

Now I can understand why (from a studio exec’s perspective) having Black Cat in Spider-Man 4 might seem like a bad idea: the character is too reminiscent of Catwoman, who is still a viable villain for Chris Nolan’s next Batman film. Catwoman is, of course, much more well-known than Black Cat, which could make BC a hard sell to a movie audience who can’t tell their Cat ladies apart.

It’s this same line of reasoning that has me believing Movieline when they report that their same source has confirmed that Dylan Baker’s Dr. Connors will absolutely NOT be appearing as The Lizard in Spider-Man 4 (though Baker will be back as Connors). The source states that studio execs were put-off by the thought of such an outlandish villain appearing in a Spidey film – though in the last installment, they did have an alien goo and a big pile of sand as villains, so what kind of hairs are they really splitting?

No Lizard in Spider-Man 4

Anyway, we’ll keep you updated as this story develops – which I’m sure will be quickly, given the crazy nature of all this.

Oh Sam Raimi, can you just reveal who the bad guys are going to be? This is getting nuts…

Spider-Man 4 is going to hit theaters May 5, 2011. How does all this Vulture/Vulturess talk strike you?

Sources: Movieline & First Showing