Michael Keaton reportedly only signed a one-picture contract to play Vulture and could make Spider-Man: Homecoming both his first and last time playing the character. Since the very beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there has been one complaint that has continued to pop up with almost every film. Thanks to Marvel Studios' model of focusing heavily on the heroes, the villains are oftentimes underserved in the eyes of many, and even if there are exceptions, most of them only have a single film to make an impact before being killed, locked away, or just forgotten.
With Spider-Man and his incredible rogues gallery joining the MCU, there was hope that some of his bigger foes could be used to give the universe long-lasting, memorable villains. Keaton has the first crack at this as Vulture in Homecoming, but it will be his only chance to make an impression as of right now.
In an article from THR about all things Sony/Spider-Man, they were able to confirm that Keaton only signed a one-picture deal with Marvel Studios and Sony. While this does not seal his fate in Homecoming, it does show that they currently don't have any plans to bring him back and will add Vulture to the growing list of villains the MCU has quickly disposed of.
Marvel has made a habit of locking in their heroes for multi-picture deals, but the history with their villains is not as long-term. Jeff Bridges, Guy Pearce, Robert Redford, Lee Pace, Corey Stoll, James Spader, and possibly Mads Mikkelsen only made one appearance as their respective villains, but Marvel has gone the other way and signed Tom Hiddleston, Josh Brolin, and Hugo Weaving to contracts for multiple appearances. Even so, as we saw with Robert Downey Jr., MCU contract fulfillment is hardly a death sentence for any character, but it would mean that another Vulture appearance for Keaton will probably see a big payday.
Keaton was initially hesitant to sign on to Homecoming and even fell out of talks at one point, only to later have things come full circle and him brought aboard. Part of his initial hesitancy could have come from Marvel/Sony wanting his contract to have an option in place for another appearance, and it was only after this was not required that Keaton joined. Still, Homecoming could very well wrap up with Vulture defeated and locked away, with Sony and Marvel always having the ability to bring Keaton back at a later time if desired. Screenings have just started for Homecoming but embargoes have made it difficult to figure out if Keaton will go down as a memorable foe or a rather forgettable one. With the release only a few weeks away, fans will soon figure out if there is a future for Vulture.
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