The Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel may be bringing the Sinister Six to the MCU, marking out a villainous start to Marvel's Phase 4. Spider-Man 2 will spin straight out of the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4 and thus launch the post-finale age from the franchise. Naturally, given how secretive the team-up has been - and how far off the movie itself is - precious little is known about the movie; at most there are reports filming will take place in Europe, perhaps hinting that Peter Parker will become a foreign exchange student.
Whatever the case may be, fans are particularly interested in working out just who the film's villains will be. Spider-Man has one of the best rogues' galleries in the comic book industry, second only perhaps to Batman. What's more, the first film set up a wide range of potential enemies; how could they all come into play?
The answer, it seems, could be the Sinister Six!
This Page: The Sinister Six's Journey To The Big Screen
Who Are The Sinister Six?
In 1964, Stan Lee had a tremendous idea. He realized that he was developing a formidable rogues' gallery for Spider-Man and saw the potential mayhem for the wall-crawler if the bad guys teamed up. The first Amazing Spider-Man Annual introduced the Sinister Six, a dangerous team of all-star Big Bads assembled by Doctor Octopus. The original Six consisted of Doc Ock himself, Kraven the Hunter, the Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, and the Vulture. At the time, Spider-Man's powers were fluctuating dangerously, making matters worse for our friendly neighborhood web-head.
The Sinister Six have since reassembled many times, usually because of either Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin. Sandman has proved their most reluctant member, sometimes blackmailed and forced to ally with the others. On several occasions, the assembled Sinister Six have actually come close to conquering the world; ironically, the Sandman is the one who has frequently undermined them by betraying them and working with Spider-Man.
Probably the most dangerous version of the team was formed in the pages of Marvel Knights: Spider-Man. This time around, Norman Osborn upped the ante by forming the so-called "Sinister Twelve." They forced Spider-Man and the Black Cat to break Osborn free from prison, but thankfully Spider-Man received back up from Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil, Yellowjacket, and the Fantastic Four to even the odds.
Read More: A History Of The Sinister Six
Over the years, a large number of villains have worked as part of the Sinister Six. The latest version was formed by Miles Morales's uncle, Aaron Davis, who has taken up the identity of the Iron Spider. It consists of the Hobgoblin, a new (female) Electro, Sandman, the Spot, and an energy-manipulator known as Bombshell.
The Sinister Six's Long Journey to the Big Screen
Sony has long believed the Sinister Six could become a box office success to the point where the studio originally planned Sinister Six as their first Spider-Man spinoff; the villain roster comprised of the Green Goblin, the Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, and an unknown sixth member. Drew Goddard was signed up as director and was trying to talk Tom Hardy into signing up as Sandman.
Unfortunately, Sony's long-term plans led to them shoe-horning setup into The Amazing Spider-Man 2. When that film failed to perform as intended - the Sinister Six subplots were frankly intrusive - the idea was left dead in the water. In early 2015, Marvel and Sony announced their revolutionary deal to bring Spider-Man into the MCU. Although Sony is still working on the spinoffs, Sinister Six appears to have been forgotten. Ironically, Hardy wound up joining Sony's Spider-villains films as the star of this year's Venom instead.
In 2015, Goddard explained that he envisioned Sinister Six as a sort of "summer annual" - a film that wouldn't be particularly continuity-heavy where Spider-Man just wound up thrown through the wringer. "It was a Spider-Man movie," he reflected sadly. "It was the Spider-Man movie of my dreams." Curiously enough, Goddard didn't view the Marvel/Sony deal as a death-blow for the film. "This is Hollywood, man," he added. "You've gotta play the long game." Maybe he's right.
Three Members of The MCU's Sinister Six Already Exist
Spider-Man: Homecoming has already brought three potential members of the Sinister Six into play. The most obvious is, of course, the Vulture, who has been subtly adapted as an analog for the Green Goblin; just as Norman Osborn was the father of Peter's friend Harry, so the Vulture is the father of the girl he likes, Liz. In the comics, one of the reasons Osborn is so dangerous is because he discovered Spider-Man's secret identity, in the same way, the Vulture has discovered it.
It's true that Homecoming ended with the Vulture in prison, but since when has that stopped any supervillain? Besides, the prison scene is used to set up another possible member of the Sinister Six. Michael Mando made a brief appearance as the new Scorpion, seemingly inspired by the Ultimate Comics version of the character. There's no way that cameo wasn't intended to be a hint that the Scorpion will be a future villain in the Spider-Man films. Indeed, in Homecoming's mid-credits scene he approached a now-jailed Vulture about teaming-up to get revenge on Spider-Man - a classic Sinister Six setup.
Intriguingly, the Scorpion may actually prove to be an important link between the MCU and Sony's Spider-villain spinoffs; he's said to be one of the villains in 2019's Silver & Black. It's quite unclear what the situation is here and how important Scorpion is to the plot, but that opens some further interesting possibilities. Whether that happens or not, though, Mando is likely to return in a future Spider-Man sequel.
A third potential member is, of course, the Shocker, who was Vulture's key henchman in Homecoming and has been a member of the Sinister Six in the comics.
Who Else Could Be In The MCU Sinister Six?
Of course, that leaves three other members. It's worth noting that Marvel seems unwilling to use major villains who've appeared on the big screen before, which pretty much rules out Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, the Sandman, Electro, the Lizard and the Rhino. That needn't be a barrier. Marvel is quite enjoying throwing a creative spin on the Spider-Man franchise, so it's possible the film will still feature a goblin; just instead of the green variety, it could be Hobgoblin. Peter's best mate Ned Leeds is traditionally associated with the character, and we never got any insight into Ned's family life in Homecoming.
We can probably also rule out characters being considered for Spider-Man spinoffs. Although Marvel may ultimately allow Sony to connect in glancing ways, it's unlikely they'll go for an all-out crossover. Thus, the Sinister Six is unlikely to feature Venom, Silver Sable, Black Cat, Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, or even Mysterio.
That doesn't mean Marvel are out of options. In the comics, Aaron Davis aka cat-burglar the Prowler is currently the leader of the Sinister Six, and he just happened to make his big screen debut in Homecoming, acquiring his trademark gauntlet. While Davis has only recently become associated with the Sinister Six (the story arc is ongoing right now), he'd be a logical choice.
As for further members, there is a wide range of comic-based possibilities, from the super-spy Chameleon to the energy-manipulating Bombshell. Recent rumors have suggested Marvel is looking to cast a "femme fatale" for the Homecoming sequel; it's possible this will be the sixth member of the team, perhaps a drastically redesigned version of an iconic villain.
With so many villains already in play, it's almost inevitable that Marvel will introduce the Sinister Six sooner or later. Drew Goddard was right to view this as "the Spider-Man movie of [fans'] dreams," an all-out action adventure that sees Spider-Man pitted against not one but six of his deadliest enemies. What's more, with Peter already believed to be heading to Europe, Homecoming 2 already has the feel of an "annual" story rather than a tightly-woven piece of continuity - something that would be a refreshing break from the all-encompassing events of the next two Avengers films.