When Spider-Man appeared in the final trailer for Captain America: Civil War, Marvel fans went crazy. Although the Sony/Marvel Studios crossover had been confirmed for months, it didn’t matter -- Seeing Ol’ Webhead alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America was enough to send even the most casual of fans into a flurry of joy. His next big screen outing, Spider-Man: Homecoming, is set to come out in July of next year and was featured prominently at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Among the things confirmed at Marvel’s SDCC panel were the casting of beloved actor Michael Keaton and the revelation that the movie’s antagonist would be none other than The Vulture.
This will be the first outing for this Marvel villain on the big screen. Although Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 teased us with a glimpse of a prototype Vulture suit, we will finally get to see Adrian Toomes in action in Homecoming. The Vulture is one of Spider-Man’s oldest enemies, but he often takes a back seat to the likes of more popular villains such as Norman Osborn, Venom, or Dr. Octopus. This got us thinking -- what other lesser Spider-Man villains deserve their own spot in a movie? Entries on this list don’t necessarily have to originate from the Spider-Man comics, but they must have faced off with the web-head multiple times over the course of their history. They wouldn't have to be the big bad of the film, either (the Tinkerer and Shocker reportedly will pop up in Homecoming as well). just good enough to hold their own against Spidey on the big screen. Here are 18 Lesser-Known Spider-Man Villains We Want To See In A Movie.
Kicking off the list is the gangster Tombstone. Debuting in Web of Spider-Man #36, Lonnie Thompson Lincoln was a victim of severe bullying and harassment while growing up in Harlem, New York. As a result, Lincoln became a bully himself when he grew taller and stronger than his high school peers. In his adult life he became a hitman, using his albinism to his advantage by filing his teeth and nails into points as a means of intimidation. In his early appearances, Tombstone spoke only in whispers, adding to his stealthy assassin persona. He later injected himself with an experimental serum which caused him to gain rock-hard skin and peak human strength.
What makes Tombstone such an interesting villain is his connection to secondary Spider-Man character and Daily Bugle reporter Robbie Robertson. As children, the two attended the same high school. When Robertson threatened to run a negative story on Lincoln in the school paper, he was threatened with violence. The exact same situation happened years later, when Robertson was working as a reporter for The Daily Bugle and he witnessed Tombstone kill one of his informers. Bringing Tombstone into the MCU would be a great way to shift the focus of the story away from the same old characters we’ve seen multiple times in the previous movies, while also giving Spidey a formidable foe.
He may have started as an adversary of Captain America, but this character has given the our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man lots of grief over the years. In Captain America #272, Hydra geneticist Edward Whelan was transformed into the hideous Vermin, a cannibalistic creature with a child-like mind and the appearance of a human rat. He is eventually defeated by Captain America and taken into S.H.E.I.L.D. custody. Later on, he escapes and goes on a killing spree, living in the sewers while he kidnaps and devours several people. In this instance, it takes the combined efforts of Captain America and Spider-Man to stop the vile beast. Vermin has also been used as both prey and bait by Kraven the Hunter in an effort to prove his superiority to Spider-Man.
The use of Vermin in one of the MCU films would be the perfect setup for a Spider-Man/Captain America crossover, similar to the comics. In Civil War, Spidey and Cap shared some cool on-screen banter; who wouldn’t want to see a whole movie of that? Vermin is also a much darker character than most of Spider-man’s enemies. The fact that he eats other humans alone is enough to make the story a bit on the grim side, which would be a stark departure for the MCU.
16 The Looter/Meteor Man
For the die-hard Spidey fans in the audience, this is probably the first one on the list you've never heard of. That’s fair -- even many hardcore Marvel fans aren’t familiar with the D-list villain The Looter (Meteor Man). Norton G. Fester was a failure in the scientific community until a mysterious meteor fell from the sky one day. While inspecting the object, a pocket of space gas exploded, spraying Fester in the face with an unknown chemical. As is always the case in comics, these chemicals gave Fester super powers; the scientist now had superhuman levels of strength and agility. However, there was a catch -- in order to keep his powers, the Looter had to continue to ingesting the gas that had given him his abilities. He went on a crime spree, robbing banks and stealing more pieces of the same meteor until he was eventually captured by Spider-Man.
The Looter would be a perfect fit for the MCU because his origins could tie directly into Marvel’s cosmic universe. With the introductions of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos, and Doctor Strange, the MCU appears to be putting an emphasis on the lore of their multiverses. They could easily link Spider-Man to the story by having one of his villains be created by forces of a cosmic origin. Not to mention the fact that the nature of the Looter’s powers could be approached from a drug abuse angle, which would help to ground the plot in the real world.
Although she shares a costume with the famed villain, there is more to Calypso than just being a female Kraven. First appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #209, Calypso is a Voodoo priestess who uses her magical powers to assist Kraven in his fight against Spider-Man. However, she seems to take some sort of sick pleasure in watching the Hunter when he goes into fits of anger over the web-crawler; tormenting him so much that he eventually commits suicide in the Kraven’s Last Hunt story arc. Calypso also has a history with the Lizard, as she put the beast under a mind control spell in order to bait Spider-Man into a death trap.
Calypso would be a cool villain to see on screen for two major reasons. First, she is one of the few magical villains Spider-Man has. While most of Spidey’s enemies gain their powers through science lab accidents or space rocks, the Voodoo priestess knowingly trained herself in the dark arts through years of study and ritual sacrifice. Secondly, including her could make for a great adaptation of Kraven’s Last Hunt, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told.
14 The Terrible Tinkerer
The Tinkerer was never a major enemy to Spider-Man, but he is one of the oldest and most influential. First appearing in the second issue of the original Amazing Spider-Man run, Phineas Mason was a brilliant engineer who used his skills for evil. Tinkerer was more of a cerebral villain; for a long time he fooled the NYPD, as well as Spider-Man, into thinking his superior intellect was of an alien origin. He went on to build technology and weapons for the villains of the Marvel Universe.
Therein lies the potential for the Tinkerer in the MCU. Technology already plays a large part in the stories of many Marvel characters, heroes and villains alike. While the superheroes can just go and ask Tony Stark for an upgrade (or Melvin Potter over in Hell's Kitchen), the villains usually resort to either stealing a hero’s tech or haphazardly building it themselves. Phineas Mason could act as the tailor for MCU’s villains. The inclusion of the Tinkerer would also add a much-needed supporting threat to the universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe could definitely stand to include more organized crime, and Hammerhead is about as old-school gangster as you can get! Beaten as a child, Hammerhead had aspirations to become a top-level crime boss when he grew up. In his first foray into organized crime, he is forced to hide his Russian heritage, kill one of his high school bullies, and then ultimately murder his father in cold blood as a test of loyalty. We seriously can’t do it justice in writing; it would make for an awesome on-screen story.
Hammerhead’s life of crime eventually catches up to him as he gets shot in the head during one of his many undertakings. Luckily for him, he was found in an alley by a surgeon, who inserted a metal plate into his skull and saved his life. Since then, Hammerhead has had the plate replaced by one made of vibranium/adamantium (they never specify which), allowing him to use his head as a battering ram.
The previous Spider-Man films have all felt a lack of mob presence. In the comics and the '90s cartoon, the character was constantly going up against organized crime and villains like Kingpin and Tombstone. Kingpin isn’t going anywhere in the MCU anytime soon, though Hammerhead could be the one of the players to step up and fill the void left by Fisk’s current incarceration.
12 Dansen Macabre
Dansen Macabre first appeared in Marvel Team Up #93 as a member of the Cult of Kali, a group that studied ancient magic in order to gain mystical abilities. Dansen Macabre is definitely one of the more unique Spidey villains; she uses the hypnotic power of dance to take control of her enemies’ minds. The powers of her spell can also form a disguise, making her invisible to the five human senses. In their first meeting Danse Macabre takes control of Spider-Man and forces him to fight fellow superhero Shroud.
This character probably couldn’t an entire movie on her own, but would be an awesome secondary character or member of an evil team. Her powers are so off the wall crazy that it would instantly make an impression to fans of the MCU, as well as make her a formidable enemy to any of the Avengers. The cult angle of her origin story could also be interesting to explore within the mystical lore of the series.
11 The Spot
As much as we know you want to, don’t laugh. The Spot has been the laughing stock of Spider-Man and his adversaries ever since his first appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man #98. It all started when one of Kingpin’s loyal scientists attempted to recreate the inter-dimensional powers of the Marvel hero Cloak. Things went awry when Johnathan Ohnn was finally able to replicate one of the portals, and it began to close in upon itself. Rather than losing his life’s work, Ohnn stepped inside the gateway, and when he emerged, he himself was covered in the very same substance that made up the portal. Nicknaming himself “The Spot” (which got a roaring reaction out of Spider-Man), he could create and travel through his "spots" at a whim.
Yeah, he looks like a Dalmatian -- and has a name like one too -- but the Spot could easily be one of Spidey’s most powerful foes. Think about it. He can travel through space to any point in the galaxy on a moment’s notice. He can also use his powers to make his enemies’ attacks come right back at them. The aesthetic of The Spot might have been a misstep, but he definitely doesn’t deserve to be the joke everyone makes him out to be.
10 The Spider-Slayers
Even though Alistar Smythe appeared as a cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (played by B.J. Novak), neither he nor his Spider-Slayers have ever made it to the silver screen. The Spider-Slayers are robots designed to (as the name suggests) slay Spider-Man. These mechs were originally conceived by Alistar’s father, Spencer Smythe, back in Amazing Spider-Man #25. The early versions were fairly basic, consisting of a streamlined design and only one or two abilities. Spencer Smythe eventually died after prolonged exposure to the radiation that powered his creations, and when Alistar took over for his father, he began making the robots more complex, with intimidating designs and an arsenal of weaponry. Eventually, frustrated with his inventions’ failures, Smythe turned himself into what he called “The Ultimate Spider-Slayer” by giving his skin a bio-armor and enhanced strength.
Using the Smythes as villains in a Spider-Man movie would be create protagonists with actual depth; there is tension in the father/son relationship between Alistar and Spencer as well as a human element of each character that is not seen in many Spidey villains. Neither of them want to rule the world or destroy the city. Spencer needed money, and Alistar just wants revenge for his father’s death (which he blames on Spider-Man).
9 Cold Heart
Cold Heart is a minor Spider-Man villain that originally appeared in Spider-Man #49. Kateri Deseronto was a former agent of the United States Government who tragically lost her son when he was caught in the crossfire of a battle between an unidentified superhero and super-villain. The loss left her in a poor mental state, as she was dismissed from her job and swore revenge on all superheroes. Deseronto stole a pair of cryo-blades and a suit of armor from her previous employers and began hunting down heroes under the name Coldheart. One of her duel blades has the power to freeze people at a simple touch. Her second blade is capable of shooting an ice beam from long distances.
Coldheart has the distinction of being one of the few villains to actually defeat Spider-Man. However, she spares the wall-crawler when the young boy he had just saved from Hobgoblin begs for his life. Deseronto is currently presumed dead; the last time she was seen was in 2006, when she was caught in the explosion of the Stamford Incident (the event that triggered the original Civil War comic).
Having a villain like Coldheart would only add to the themes of the recent Civil War movie. Heck, MCU Baron Zemo basically had the exact same motivations as Deseronto. Not to mention that Coldheart’s design is fantastic, and her abilities are something that hasn’t been seen in the MCU before.
The villainous Shriek was probably the best thing to come out of the Spider-Man Unlimited series, thought her origins are somewhat murky. All that is known is that she was abused as a child, which led to her turning to drugs and becoming a dealer when she got older. One night, during a deal gone bad, Shriek was on the receiving end of a bullet to the head. When she later was put into the dark dimension of the superhero Cloak, she went insane and gained her powers: the ability to control and manipulate sounds. Much like the well-known Inhuman, Black Bolt, Shriek can create a concussive force through sound waves. She can also manipulate people’s emotions and disorient her opponent when they're nearby.
Now that Marvel is finally getting a Cloak and Dagger series off the ground, it would be the perfect time to introduce Shriek to the MCU. The villain also played a large role in the Maximum Carnage story arc; with Marvel’s tendency to adapt famous stories, it’s almost a no-brainer that she should show up in the MCU in some capacity.
John Jameson is no stranger to the Spider-Man movie franchise. He was featured in all three of Sam Rami’s original Spider-Man films and played a somewhat large role in Spider-Man 2 (he was engaged to Mary Jane). He is also the son of Peter Parker’s fan-favorite boss, J. Jonah Jameson, and an acclaimed astronaut. During one of his excursions to the moon, John Jameson discovered the Godstone, an unearthly gem that forcefully attached itself onto his neck. Upon returning to earth, Jameson discovered that the gem transformed him into a wolf-like creature every time there was moonlight. As the Man-Wolf, he had heightened senses, super strength, and superhuman agility.
Man-Wolf is a case of Jekyl and Hyde comparable only to The Hulk. But John Jameson doesn’t embrace his alter ego like someone like the Green Goblin does -- he genuinely wants help and has no control over his actions. Having Man-Wolf in the MCU would add some more weight to the J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man fued, as well as stir up trouble in Peter's personal life. And let’s not forget that the Godstone could have origins in the same universe as Guardians of the Galaxy, further tying earth to the story of the greater multiverse.
Hydro-Man is often overlooked because his abilities are very similar to one of Spidey’s more popular foes, the Sandman. Yeah, they both control an element of the earth and can shape shift their body. And yes, Sandman has a much deeper story. But that doesn’t mean Hydro-Man doesn’t deserve a shot on the big screen. Morris Bench was working at a facility out on the open sea when he witnessed a battle between Spider-Man and Namor the Submariner. During the fight, Bench got knocked into the large radioactive generator, and Hydro-Man was born. Morris blamed Spidey for his accident (which is pretty fair) and decided to hunt him down in an act of revenge (not so fair). For a short time even, Morris and Flint Marco (the Sandman) merged together to form the Mud-Thing.
Hydro-Man might not sound too threatening at first, but think about it -- over 70% of the Earth is covered water. Given all the things Hydro-Man could do, you wouldn't be too safe on land, either. Besides, his primary attack is to drown you to death, and drowning is supposedly one of the most terrifying deaths one can experience. The visual effects potential alone would be a good enough reason to add Hydro-Man to an upcoming Spidey flick.
5 The Beetle
The Beetle is a character that nobody seems to know what to do with. He originally debuted in Strange Tales #123 in a story that saw him taking on the Human Torch and The Thing. He made recurring appearances in some of the early Spider-Man comics before being bounced around multiple different super-villain teams (many of which were made of B, C, and D-list villains). There have been five different incarnations of the Beetle, but for this entry we are going to focus on the original, Abner Jenkins.
Jenkins was a skilled aviation mechanic who grew bored with his job and turned instead to a life of crime. He built himself a suit of power armor that included wings and gauntlets that could be used to stick to any surface he pleased.
The Beetle has one of those costumes that ranges from campy to glorious, depending on which era he was in. The original outfit looks like some retro-future space suits that people back in the '60s thought would be used in the year 2000. The redesign in the '80s, however, was pretty awesome. Much like the Tinkerer earlier in this list, the Beetle would one of the rare brains-over-brawn villains in the MCU.
4 Molten Man
The Molten Man first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #28 to crash Peter Parker’s high school graduation. Mark Raxton was a brilliant scientist who was working along Spencer Smythe at Oscorp Industries to create a new form of liquid metal alloy. Bet you can’t guess what happened next!
Yup, a lab accident exposed Raxton to the alloy, which fused with his skin. And just like everyone else on this list who was created by a lab accident, he decided to use his powers for evil, robbing banks and causing terror.
Molten Man’s abilities make him a tall order for Spider-Man; his slick skin is resistant to webbing, he has superhuman strength, and he can literally melt through solid steel with just a touch. He is one villain that Spider-Man can’t just punch through like normal. To make things even more interesting, it was revealed that Mark Raxton is actually the step brother of Peter’s friend Liz Allen, a character set to be played by Laura Harrier in Homecoming. A great opportunity to use one of Spidey’s better C-list foes has been presented, though it remains to be seen whether or not Molten Man will show up at some point.
3 Morbius the Living Vampire
Dr. Michael Morbius made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #101. It was a strange time for Ol’ Webhead; Peter was going through a phase in which he'd grown four extra arms and on his way to becoming Man-Spider (don’t ask). The writers wanted to introduce a sort of supernatural villain into Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery, but feared that it would turn readers off. After all, Spider-Man was a series that was mostly based on science. A compromise was eventually made in the form of Morbius the Living Vampire. Michael Morbius was a doctor who was searching for a cure for his own rare blood disease. He used some unorthodox methods on himself, such as electrotherapy and the use of vampire bats (also don’t ask). These treatments instead turned him into the scientific equivalent of a vampire -- he grew fangs, had to ingest blood to survive, and became deathly allergic to the sun.
While initially a villain, Morbius turned into sort of a tragic hero later down the line. This kind of anti-hero is something the MCU is currently lacking outside of the Punisher. The introduction of Morbius could also pave the way for vampire hunter Blade to make an appearance, as the two have squared off in the comics several times.
2 2. The Jackal
This is probably the most controversial entry on the list. Everyone has an opinion on the Clone Saga, most of which are not too positive. Love it or hate it, there's no denying that it had a large impact on Peter Parker’s story, and at the center of the Clone Saga stands the villainous Jackal.
Miles Warren has been around Spider-Man for almost the character’s entire existence. Before he turned evil, Warren was a professor at Empire State University who became infatuated with the young Gwen Stacy. After her tragic death at the hands of the Green Goblin, Warren swore that Spider-Man would pay for letting her die. He had somehow obtained tissue samples of both Gwen and Peter and intended to clone them for his own scientific benefit. A confrontation between Warren and one of his colleagues led Warren to accidentally kill his partner. Warren blames his friend’s death on his alter ego “The Jackal,” and a new villain was born. Originally, Warren outfitted himself with a power suit, but he later took on the features of an actual Jackal via experiments on his own DNA. The Jackal caused a huge stir when he revealed a clone of Gwen Stacy and Ben Riley, a perfect clone of Spider-Man who would go on to take over for the wall-crawler for a time as the Scarlet Spider. Near the end of the story, it is revealed that Norman Osborn was behind everything (what a shocker!), and the Jackal is killed. He was last seen in the story arc Spider-Island.
The Clone Saga might have been epically bad, but its perpetrator definitely was not. The Jackal is one of the best manipulators and scientific minds when it comes to Marvel villains, and he is one of the only Spider-Man baddies to figure out Spidey’s secret identity on his own. Warren, a villain, was able to convince the Punisher to try and kill Spider-Man. If that wasn’t enough, Jackal was able to convince the entire Marvel universe that Peter Parker was a clone and that Ben Riley was the real Spider-Man. The MCU needs to include the Jackal in some way, shape, or form in one of the solo Spider-Man movies.
Maybe this one is a stretch, because most Marvel fans have at least heard of Hobgoblin. The reason he makes the list of “lesser” villains is because many seem to forget just how significant he is to the Spider-Man lore. When you ask people who Spidey’s greatest enemy is, most will tell you Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. But if you look back, Osborn was dead from 1973 until 1995. That is 22 whole years without a Norman Osborn Green Goblin. In the mid-'80s, Spider-Man writers wanted to give Spidey another arch-nemesis without cheapening the impact of Osborn’s death, and their solution was the Hobgoblin. The villain made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #238 with an aura of mystery. Literally, the identity of the Goblin remained a secret for 51 issues, or about four years. This is still the longest running mystery in all of the Spider-Man lore. During this entire time he acted as puppet master, manipulating people into doing his dirty work in an attempt to keep his identity secret. Hobgoblin is a top-tier villain in the Marvel universe.
Even so, the Green Goblin seems to get all the love. He has been a big bad in two separate film universes, all while Hobgoblin gets left out in the cold. Hobgoblin has ties to several important people in Peter’s life, such as Betty Brant (Peter’s first true love), Ben Urich, and Flash Thompson. He has had multiple identities through the years, each one staying consistent with the personality of the original. The Green Goblin is Norman/Harry Osborn in a costume. The Hobgoblin, however, is a symbol of villainy that has tormented Spider-Man for over thirty years, and he deserves a crack at the big time.
Did we miss any of your favorite B, C, or D-List Spidey baddies? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, The Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel- March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers movie– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020