Spider-Man has one of the most recognizable rogues galleries in comic book history. While prior Spidey films have brought such classic foes as Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, and the Lizard to life, it’s actually rather surprising just how many great Spider-Man villains out there haven’t tasted the big screen yet.
Well, that’s about to change. Everyone knows that the major antagonist of Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the long awaited Adrian Toomes, AKA the Vulture, who will be brought to life by the always excellent Michael Keaton. But while Vulture will certainly be the star of the supervillain show this time around, don’t think that he’ll be alone. At least four other major Spider-Man foes will either be featured in the film or set up for likely inclusion in future movies.
So while Spider-Man: Homecoming gets ready to shatter box office records across the world, let’s take a look at the Spider-Man villains who are supposed to appear in the film — all of them, including Prowler and the Scorpion (!) — and learn 18 Things You Didn’t Know About Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Villains.
18. The Prowler in the Movie is Aaron Davis, Not Hobie Brown
The recent release of the full cast list for Spider-Man: Homecoming has several surprising twists, but arguably the most significant may be the reveal of Donald Glover as Aaron Davis, better known in the comics as the Prowler.
Though the original Prowler was Hobie Brown, in recent years the mantle has been taken up to popular acclaim by Aaron Davis, a brilliant cat burglar recognized as “the most dangerous thief in America,” who employs an array of advanced, high-tech weaponry to accomplish his thefts. Significantly, Davis is also the uncle — and archenemy — of Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man that everyone’s talking about.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Miles is going to pop up in Spider-Man: Homecoming — or even Homecoming 2, for that matter — but it does mean they’re laying down serious groundwork for future movies. Since Miles Morales was originally created at least in part due to Donald Glover’s interest in the Spider-Man role years back, it’s a cool twist that Glover is now playing the character’s uncle.
17. Prowler Has Used the Vulture’s Wings
The Aaron Davis incarnation of the Prowler, as depicted in Ultimate comics, actually has a lot of connections to many of the other villains on this list. For one, much of his gear comes from the Tinkerer, a villain we’ll be discussing a bit later. Prowler also has a tense rivalry with the Ultimate version of Scorpion, which led to Davis and his superheroic nephew teaming up to take Scorpion down.
He’s also worn the Vulture’s wings, which he employed to dramatic effect. Considering that Vulture is going to be the primary antagonist of Spider-Man: Homecoming, there could be some extra setup going on here if Davis is in cahoots with the Vulture in some way. If and when Davis becomes the Prowler somewhere down the line, there’s a decent chance that he could bust out a modified version of the flight harness that Vulture has in Homecoming.
16. Scorpion was a Private Investigator Before He Was a Supervillain
Another surprise revealed in the Homecoming cast list was that actor Michael Mando is playing Mac Gargan, a character that fans will immediately recognize as the Scorpion.
When it comes to reputations, Scorpion has gotten a raw deal over the years, but he actually started his career as one of Spider-Man’s most intelligent, crafty foes. Mac Gargan was a talented private investigator originally hired to figure out how Peter Parker gets all those great Spidey photos for the Daily Bugle. However, when he volunteered to be transformed into the Scorpion, his mind got corrupted and he’s never been the same since.
15. Scorpion was the Original Anti-Spider-Man, Not Venom
When Scorpion was first created, he was designed to be the anti-Spider-Man: a bigger, badder version of the arachnid hero, modeled after a bigger, badder arachnid. But Scorpion fell by the wayside in the decades since, and his role was inherited by Venom. This was the rationale behind why Gargan actually became Venom in later years, though Gargan’s stint with the symbiote didn’t last as long as Eddie Brock’s did.
Everyone is buzzing (or worried) about Sony’s plan to make a standalone Venom movie with Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. Since Venom won’t be part of the MCU, it means that the field will be clear for a new “anti-Spider-Man” to face off against Tom Holland in Homecoming‘s sequel. If Mando’s Gargan undergoes the procedure, perhaps the Scorpion will be able to reclaim his historic mantle.
14. Vulture Was Spidey’s First Supervillain in the Comics, Too
The Vulture is probably the biggest Spider-Man villain who hasn’t yet appeared on film. In Homecoming, Adrian Toomes will be the first major supervillain that Spidey ever faces off against. This directly lines up with the comics, where the Vulture actually was the first superpowered bad guy that the wall-crawler ever had to take down.
Vulture first appeared all the way back in Amazing Spider-Man #2, so his connections to the web-slinger run deep. As far as classic villains go, he was preceded by the Chameleon, but Chameleon (at least in his initial appearances) was a non-powered Soviet spy who used masks to disguise himself, whereas Vulture was a whole other level of bad guy. Vulture’s legacy as Spidey’s first supervillain was honored by the animated series Spectacular Spider-Man, where he featured in the first episode — and was voiced by Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund!
13. He’s (Almost) Made it to the Movies a Few Times
The Vulture is up there with Doctor Octopus when it comes to iconic Spider-Man foes. Just as Peter Parker is the regular young guy who becomes a superhero, Vulture is the regular old guy who becomes a supervillain. It’s a classic pairing.
So it’s no surprise that Vulture has come within inches of cinematic fame on more than one occasion. Sam Raimi really, really wanted Vulture as the main villain in Spider-Man 3, but the studio pressured him to use Venom instead. Afterward, Raimi was still fixated on the character; if Spider-Man 4 had ever happened, Vulture would’ve been the antagonist. John Malkovich was even cast for the role.
But it doesn’t stop there. Vulture’s trademark wings had a cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so he certainly would have featured in that franchise’s incarnation of the Sinister Six. Basically, Vulture’s day on the big screen has been a long time coming.
12. There Have Been a Few Other Vultures
Adrian Toomes is certainly the Vulture. But similarly to the Green Goblin and Venom, there have been other men who have donned the Vulture’s wings — much to the disdain of Toomes himself, who really hates it when other people steal his stuff.
The first “other” Vulture was Blackie Drago. Drago met Toomes in prison, where they were cellmates. Drago learned the secret location of Toomes’s new flight harness, got out of prison, and then stole the Vulture identity. Needless to say, Toomes was infuriated by this, and he later made a point to publicly humiliate Drago in aerial combat.
But much to Toomes’s chagrin, there have been other Vulture imitators since. The creepiest of these is Jimmy Natale, the Red Vulture, pictured above. Natale takes the Vulture name quite literally, as he actually cannibalizes his victims.
11. Vulture was Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
Part of what makes the conflict between Spider-Man and the Vulture interesting is the age disparity between them: a young, hopeful, optimistic man against a bitter, cynical, aging man who feels like his best days are behind him. The Vulture’s best stories highlight this dynamic, as Toomes has suffered such physical calamities as a stroke, and such emotional ones as an estranged son.
The Vulture’s best story of all time was “Funeral Arrangements,” by J.M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema, where Toomes discovered that his own prized flight harness had given him terminal cancer, and that he only had a short while left to live. Being the embittered and hopeless person that he is, Toomes quickly tried to settle all his old scores.
10. Even Aunt May Hates Him
Aunt May is widely recognized as a kind, generous person who goes out of her way for other people. She’s a religious woman who has room in heart to forgive anyone… except, as it turns out, Adrian Toomes.
Years after Uncle Ben’s death, May started to repair the wounds by dating a man named Nathan Lubensky. Unfortunately, Nathan and May ended up being witnesses to one of those super-battles that the Marvel Universe is known for, and when Vulture tried to swoop in and grab May as a hostage, Nathan fought him off — but in the excitement of the moment, he suffered a heart attack. During “Funeral Arrangements,” Vulture haunted the Parker household like a ghost, pleading for May’s forgiveness. Instead, May — full of rage — told him that she hoped his impending death would be “slow and full of suffering.” The day after that, she visited him in prison and apologized for her comments, but told him that any possible redemption for his sins could not be offered by her, but only by God.
9. Shocker is Actually a Pretty Smart Guy
Shocker is another popular Spider-villain who fans have been waiting to see for some time that will finally hit the big screen in Homecoming. Though Shocker has often been unfairly slighted as a “loser” villain (more on that later), that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. While The web-head’s rogues gallery is full of mad scientists and megalomaniacs, Shocker is a seasoned professional who is only in the game for the sake of making a profit. He’s as grounded as any Spidey villain in town.
Shocker doesn’t care about getting revenge on Spider-Man, doesn’t have any world domination goals, or any of that nonsense. He just wants to pop open a few bank vaults. To do that, he wields a pair of gauntlets that fire off vibrational shock blasts. He designed these himself; though Shocker was a high school dropout, he’s a gifted inventor. Unfortunately for him, he keeps running into a certain web-slinger that always messes up his game.
8. He Once Held New York City For Ransom
Shocker has smalltime goals, so he usually tries to keep a low profile. He tends to do work for criminal employers who have their own agenda, provided they write him a big enough check. But in his quest to use his skills and gear for profit, he has, on occasion, made his way up to the big leagues.
For example, there was the one time where he decided to black out various electrical grids across New York City, in such a manner that an aerial view revealed the letters of his codename: you know, S-H-O-C-K-E-R. Having purposely outed himself as being the villainous perpetrator, Shocker then threatened to black out the whole city if he didn’t receive one million dollars. Once again, Spider-Man intervened, and put a stop to the whole thing.
7. Ultimate Shocker is a Totally Different Type of Character
The common misconception of Shocker being a “loser” villain who gets beaten easily is due to Ultimate Spider-Man, a comic book which recreated early Spider-Man stories for the 21st century. In the Ultimate Universe, Shocker is presented as a lowly criminal with a goofy costume, whom Spider-Man easily defeats on numerous occasions, all while mercilessly taunting the would-be thief. Though the smalltime nature of this Shocker is consistent with the original version, the Ultimate Shocker is much less capable, and less professional.
However, there is at least one storyline where Ultimate Shocker finally gets some degree of revenge on Spider-Man, by capturing him, torturing him, and explaining to the wall-crawler what his motivations are, and why he believes Spidey to be in the wrong.
6. It Looks Like There are Two Shockers in the Movie
The classic Shocker — and the Ultimate version, for that matter — has always been portrayed as being Herman Shultz. However, the popular cartoon Spectacular Spider-Man turned this dynamic on its ear by instead depicting the Shocker as Jackson Brice, who has traditionally been the member of the Enforcers known as “Montana.” In the series, this change was actually fairly minor, since Jackson’s smooth, professional persona is identical to that of Herman.
However, that aforementioned cast list of Spider-Man: Homecoming throws a new twist in the works, by revealing that there will be two Shockers: Herman Shultz AND Jackson Brice. It seems that Herman will be played by actor Bokeem Woodbine, while Jackson will be played by Logan Marshall-Green. How this will work out in the film remains to be seen.
5. The Tinkerer Is The Guy Other Villains Go To
In the Marvel Universe, New York City is full of supervillains, but where do all of them get their gear? If Vulture’s wings crack, the Rhino’s suit tears, or Mysterio needs a new dome, who are they gonna call?
The answer is this guy, Phineas Mason, the Terrible Tinkerer. Mason is a brilliant inventor, who can create innovate new designs and technologies in mere minutes. While other supervillains might embark on lofty schemes, the Tinkerer is content to snatch up their stolen dollars and simply repair, fix, or design new technologies for them.
The shady nature of the Tinkerer’s underground operations makes it hard to know the sum totality of his work, but it is confirmed that he has designed such gear as Scorpion’s clawed tail, the Beetle’s armor, Mysterio’s costume, and Rocket Racer’s skateboard. When Eddie Brock decided to auction off the Venom symbiote, Phineas was the man he went to. Basically, the Tinkerer is the most dangerous Marvel villain you’ve never heard of, and he likes it that way.
4. He Puts Safeguards In All of His Weapons
Running a criminal operation like the Tinkerer does is about as dangerous as it gets, since all the clients tend be sociopaths, murderers, serial killers, and so on. Mason has no powers of his own. All it would take is one stab from the Scorpion’s tail to knock him out for good. So, he takes great efforts to protect himself, such as installing safeguards in all of the technology that he sells.
Anytime a super-criminal has threatened to not pay Mason his fee, or attempted to threaten his life, that criminal has faced such violent consequences as exploding gauntlets, self-destruct sequences, and more. Even if the criminal does survive the Tinkerer’s failsafe, their treachery has forever cost them the services of the most wanted villain-outfitter in the country, which is a heavy price to pay. Needless to say, people don’t usually double-cross the Tinkerer.
3. His Son is a Government Agent
The Tinkerer’s son is Rick Mason, also known as “Agent,” a covert operations specialist who has worked for the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel. Considering that his father is a guy who spends all his time outfitting hundreds of super-criminal, one might think that his son Rick would likely be a “double” agent, so to speak — but actually, Rick works to maintain the global order, desiring a higher purpose than merely assisting supervillains.
Though Phineas and his son are on polar opposite sides of the law, and clearly have totally different moral values, the two actually maintain a surprisingly healthy relationship, staying in close contact with each other. The Tinkerer has even given his son valuable information on various illegal activities around the world.
2. The Tinkerer’s Funding Comes from Latveria, Doctor Doom’s Country
So yes, the Tinkerer is a genius, with a flair for the dramatic. He certainly earns a profit from any supervillains that solicit his abilities. But where does he really get his funding from?
In the miniseries Secret War, it was revealed that the Tinkerer’s operations are actually funded by the kingdom of Latveria, a fictitious Eastern European country that is ruled over a certain armored dictator, scientist, and sorcerer known as Doctor Doom. Doom himself is a genius who can invade countries with robot armies of his own design, so it’s likely that the Tinkerer gets access to much of his top research as well. Since Doom’s goal is, basically enough, to position himself as the ruler of the world, his funding of the Tinkerer’s operation is simply a way to incite terrorism, chaos, and destabilization within a rival country.
1. The Tinkerer Pretended to be an Alien
Though the impact of his work is tremendous, the Tinkerer is probably one of the most low profile supervillains out there. But back when he first appeared all the way back in Amazing Spider-Man #2 — which was, yes, the same issue where Vulture made his debut — Phineas Mason pretended to be something a lot more extraordinary than a mere human.
In his first story, the Tinkerer portrayed himself as the leader of an alien invasion, plotting to take over the world. When Spider-Man foiled this plot, the Tinkerer escaped, but he used a rubber “human” mask to make Spider-Man think that he had really been an alien in disguise the whole time. Later on, Spidey would find out that the whole alien invasion was a sham, and the aliens were just stunt men in elaborate costumes, one of whom would actually go on to become Mysterio.
What other cool facts did we miss? Are there any more villains in Spider-Man: Homecoming that we forgot to include? Let us know in the comments!
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