At this point, it seems that most of the world has seen Spider-Man: No Way Home. After all, Tom Holland’s new adventure as the famous web-slinger has become one of the biggest movies of all time. Bringing back significant characters from previous films in the franchise probably played a key role in that. Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock is back, alongside Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin––the movie was even able to bring back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
By the end of the movie, all Multiversal visitors are sent home, and Peter tells Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange to make everyone forget about him. It’s a dark ending, but one that perfectly sets up a new chapter in Spider-Man’s life.
But what classic Marvel villain is going to get the honor of being in Spider-Man 4? There’s certainly plenty of candidates.
Kraven the Hunter is a character fans have been clamoring to see for years. Even the writers of the last three Spider-Man films admitted that they’ve pitched the villain for each one, and he's never made the cut.
On the surface, the villain may look a little silly, but he has a lot to offer when it comes to Peter Parker’s story.
His real name is Sergei Kravinoff, a native Russian who, after employment in Africa, gained the knack for hunting big games. He was good at it. So good that he got bored of being the best—he needed something more. A target that would be a challenge.
Enter Spider-Man. After becoming aware of the hero's abilities, he set his eyes on taking down the wallcrawler. Aided by special elixirs and potions that gave him superhuman strength and abilities, Kraven would go on to be a thorn in Spidey’s side for decades to come.
It’s hard to ignore how perfect the setup was in Far From Home for attracting the likes of Kraven to hunt the Spider. The same setup still works, however, even with Peter’s identity now safe once again.
It’s hard to say if Sony would even let the character appear. The studio is currently developing a solo movie for the villain, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson attached to star.
Hopefully, Sony’s solo movie plans don’t hamper the storytelling potential with Tom Holland’s MCU web-slinger.
The Bad Luck of a Black Cat
With Robert Pattinson's The Batman releasing soon, everyone knows about Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. What if Spider-Man’s next adventure utilized Marvel’s own version of the character?
In the comics, Felicia Hardy is a master thief, one who eventually crosses paths with everyone’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. They hit it off, but it's a messy dynamic.
She still attempts high-level burglaries, all the while trying to woo Spider-Man into adapting her ways. Despite having a liking and attraction for her, that’s simply not what Peter Parker does. Their friendly relationship goes on, however, even with Spidey trying to stop her scores at every chance he gets.
Felicia Hardy eventually falls in love with Spider-Man—not Peter Parker. This specific element of their relationship makes for an excellent parallel to where No Way Home left the lonely hero.
Needless to say, Black Cat is a perfect choice for Spider-Man 4; she’s the perfect puzzle piece to fit into Peter’s fractured life. She’d be an allure to the darker, greyer side of living—he'd become the menace JJJ makes him out to be.
It’s also a relationship that audiences would know isn’t going to last, so it wouldn’t feel like an insult to the MJ rconnection that the previous films instilled into viewers. Leaning on Hardy is also a better move than introducing a new Gwen Stacy for the same reason.
She also functions on the street level, a quality more than one villain on this list will share. Her involvement could easily interweave with other big organized crime players.
The name Martin Li should be familiar to many fans. He was one of the key antagonists of Insomniac's Spider-Man PS4 game. He also goes by another name: Mister Negative.
Li’s situation is similar to Norman Osborn’s; he has a Jekyll and Hyde complex. Instead of being a goblin, Lin changes into a corrupt and extremely powerful organized crime lord who has control of both the Darkforce and Lightforce. This makes his appearance much like an inverse-colored photograph—which is where the name Mister Negative comes from.
The character's origin is actually related to the heroes Cloak and Dagger. Where Tandy (Dagger) got powers from the Lightforce and Tyrone the Darkforce, Li got a mix of both. This unfortunate circumstance led not only to his Negative appearance but the creation of two distinctly different personalities.
But how would he fit into the MCU? Well, No Way Home made it clear how important Aunt May’s work at FEAST, the homeless shelter, was. In the comics, the good side of Li is a philanthropist trying to do everything he can for the community.
In the Spider-Man game, Li founded and owns the whole place. Having him and his Negative as a villain would mean putting Aunt May’s legacy on the line—something Peter would do anything to prevent.
The grief Spider-Man will be carrying coming right off the heels of May’s death would still be raw, so Marvel applying pressure to that weak spot could give them the emotional and powerful story they are looking for.
The villain is also intensely involved in organized crime within New York City, making it easy to connect the story to characters such as Daredevil, Kingpin, or even Hobgoblin.
Kingpin Squishes a Spider
Vincent D’Onofrio’s return as the Kingpin in Hawkeye was a monumental moment for fans worldwide. The character hasn’t been seen since his former show, Daredevil, was canceled in 2018.
Fans thought they’d never see the actor reprise the role, but Marvel Studios had other plans. This time around, they were playing off of his character’s history with Maya Lopez, a new character set to have her own show with the upcoming Echo Disney+ series.
She’s not the only one that could benefit from exploring their connections to Wilson Fisk. Spider-Man has had a long history with the Kingpin of crime. The two have butted heads quite often, probably more than any of Spidey’s rogue gallery.
With the next Spider-Man films seemingly going in a darker direction, having the webhead get involved with stopping organized crime could be an excellent way for Peter to be using all his free time. If one is messing with those street-level goons, they’re bound to run into the boss eventually.
Maybe in meddling in his affairs, Kingpin will decide to hire other villains to find and take down the nuisance that is the Spider. This could lead to cool opportunities for Marvel to have smaller goons show up, such as a proper Rhino or an actual Shocker. They could be big-timers as well; maybe Kingpin contracts Kraven out to take Peter down.
Kingpin’s underground crime ring would open up the doors for various crime lords to interact and come into conflict with each other, much like Negative Man’s involvement would.
Also, if Kingpin and organized crime are involved in Spidey’s next story, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil is almost certainly going to show up to lend a hand.
The Venom Symbiote
As great as it would be to see Venom so quickly in the MCU, it wouldn’t be a smart move for Marvel Studios. This time around, they should savor the symbiote.
Given the anger, grief, and general sadness that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will be dealing with, the symbiote would be in heaven feeding off of all that. It would also give audiences a new rendition of the black suit, which fans have been wanting for years.
There are plenty of questions as to the logistics of it all. Will this alien goo need to follow the rules established by the Venom films? Or will it be able to have its own set of rules? Fans will have to wait quite a while for any answers on that front.
Venom is obviously the eventual goal, but first, the symbiote itself should form that personal relationship with Holland’s Peter; really get in his mind. The influence the alien has over Spider-Man’s actions would act as an antagonistic force unto itself.
Eventually, Peter would realize the suit is no good and forcefully remove himself from the equation. This would cause the feeling of betrayal that classically fuels Venom in the comics; making it its personal goal to make Peter Parker’s life a living hell. It’ll just have to find a new match first.
The Green Goblin
Norman Osborn is a name every Spider-Man fan knows. The man, his family, and his corporation have always been central to Peter Parker’s life.
Audiences have been raving about Willem Dafoe’s return as the Green Goblin in No Way Home. With such praise and the character’s importance to the plot, why would the studio aim for the same villain going forward?
After everything that went down with Norman in the Spidey threequel, there’s no possible way that Tom Holland’s Peter didn’t do a few google searches to see what his universe had when it comes to the famous billionaire.
If and when Marvel Studios uses Norman Osborn in the MCU, it will undoubtedly be vastly different than what’s been seen before. Even more important is if Spider-Man 4 does end up using Greeny, it will probably be set up for the future.
He’ll likely remain just as Norman Osborn, the famous billionaire. Marvel could incorporate the character’s appearance with their potential Dark Avengers set up, leading to connections between him and the likes of Kingpin or Martin Ali. They could also go the route of the Spider-Man game and make him a potential mayoral candidate.
As for Oscorp, Raimi’s Norman not seeing any sign of the company may have led him to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist—but that might not be the actual case. Maybe the company is international or currently stationed somewhere else in America. Perhaps it’s just a startup.
Either way, the odds are great that fans will see an MCU take on Green Goblin. But whether or not that journey starts in Peter Parker’s next adventure is another matter entirely.
Hobgoblin Switches it Up
Even with the importance of Norman Osborn as a character, Marvel Studios may still think the Green Elf has had his time. So what’s the next best thing? Hobgoblin, of course.
Typically speaking, the character’s origin revolves around the first Goblin already in existence—but it doesn’t have to. In the comics, a man named Robert Kingsley took on the mantle of the infamous villain. His past in comics is complicated, but it all began when he stole Greeny’s equipment, and eventually, the Goblin formula.
This could still be done with Norman Osborn in the picture, but before he ends up becoming the Green Goblin himself. Say Oscorp is introduced, and it’s revealed they are working on a mystery serum behind the scenes.
Kingsley, being the criminal he is, would end up stealing the special experimental juice, leading to the creation of the MCU’s Hobgoblin. Some may not like that he would be the first Goblin, but Marvel does like to switch things up sometimes.
What makes Kingsley unique to Norman is how involved in organized crime he is. Being a crime lord himself, he would more than likely end up coming into conflicts with other big names; Kingpin, Martin Li—Marvel could even bring Hammerhead or Tombstone into the fray. In all of this, Hobby still has all the craziness and strength that comes with the Goblin serum.
The storytellers would also likely take the opportunity to play on the convoluted background behind Ned Leed’s comic history with the character. In the MCU, however, it’d be unlikely that Jacob Batalon’s college student would end up putting on the suit; but that doesn’t mean he may not stumble into somewhere he shouldn’t be.
The Sting of a Scorpion
Mac Gargan, played by Michael Mando, was one of the first Spider-Man villains introduced in the MCU. He was severely wounded thanks to the webhead and now has it out for the hero. The thing is, that plot thread has never been picked up.
There’s no better time to go back and explore the character who goes on to become The Scorpion and has even been host to the Venom symbiote at one point.
In the comics, Gargan volunteered for an experiment run by J Jonah Jameson, with the end goal being to rival Spider-Man’s strength. Everything ends up working, but then things go wrong: Mac’s sanity gets severely damaged, and he has become permanently bonded to his new scorpion-themed suit.
This leaves The Scorpion with blinding rage and hatred towards both Spider-Man and JJJ. With Jameson’s increased presence in the MCU, it would be an excellent time to capitalize on that and give the character a substantial role in the story.
Scorpion isn’t the only supervillain who was involved with J Jonah Jameson. The Spider-Man hating reporter also got entangled with the Smythe family, who were responsible for inventing the Spider-Slayers; killer robots explicitly designed for hunting the hero.
They could also show up in a Spider-Man sequel, but there are dozens of more exciting candidates, so hopefully, Marvel sticks with the more prominent names.
Mysterio’s Grand Illusion
At the end of the list is none other than the man who ruined Peter Parker’s life. With Strange’s spell still active, theoretically, he would have forgotten all about his vengeful crusade against Peter Parker. Or would he have?
He’d definitely have forgotten about the man under the mask, just not the Spider-Man himself. It’s hard to say what his memories would be about everything that happened in Far From Home. But that could be used for the crux of his story.
In this scenario, Beck would have been faking his death when the world forgot about Peter Parker. It hasn’t been explored yet how people fill in those empty memories, but say the illusionist comes to the feeling that something happened to him—something related to Spider-Man.
His goal would now be two-fold: trying to get the Edith glasses while also fighting to find out what the webhead did to him in the first place.
Peter, however, would not have forgotten a thing. The anger he would feel might rival that of his showdown with Norman Osborn. This alone could end up trumping the emotional weight of No Way Home—something the producers of the film said they aim to do for Spider-Man 4.
It would also just be a really tense and consistently evolving dynamic between the two. With this scenario, Marvel could easily use the villain again, though they would probably want to add more flair since the fishbowl head already had the leading role once.
Given all of Beck’s resources, he could easily hire other goons to help him out. He’s got a way with words, so faces like Vulture (who’d hate Peter again after forgetting his identity) and the angry Mac Gargan could be ripe for the pickings when it comes to adding the supporting cast.
That’s not to mention that with JJJ being his biggest fan, he’d have access to even more villainous possibilities.
Peter, Meet Peter 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8
Why not have some fun with the last entry? What if Marvel Studios really wanted to surprise everyone and started the next trilogy of Spider-Man films with the Clone Saga. Peter’s pretty lonely after all, and what better to cure that than even more of himself.
The original comic book storyline involved one of Peter’s college professors, Miles Warren, also known as the Jackal, using Parker’s blood to clone Spider-Man. The twist is that fans widely consider this tale to be one of the wall-crawler’s worst stories of all time.
So why would Marvel Studios opt to do it? Well, a lot of that hate came from the story trying to tell audiences that the Spider-Man they’ve been following for years was, in fact, not the real Peter Parker. So, step one to being more successful in its live-action telling is to skip this element of the story altogether.
Right now, in-universe hate for Spider-Man is still at a high, thanks to JJJ’s ramblings. What better to make things rockier for the webhead than to have three more of himself unleashed onto the city? While this could be done with the Spider-Verse, they basically just did that, so tapping into those ideas may come off repetitive.
Instead, the MCU could get its own Ben Reilly and Kaine. Both clones of Peter, Reilly goes on to become the hero Scarlet Spider, while Kaine, who also held the mantle of the Scarlet Spider at one point, could serve as a twisted version of Peter Parker for Tom Holland’s hero to go up against.
The kink in this plan is that where audiences last saw Peter, he wasn’t in college, or any school for that matter, which would make it hard for his nonexistent professor to become a villain. Easy enough to work around, however, and maybe Holland would be up for the challenge of playing several different versions of himself––something many fans would love to see.
The Many Strands of Spidey’s Fate
Out of all of the options, the villains who stand the most chance at making the cut for Spider-Man 4 are Max Gargan’s Scorpion and Martin Li’s Negative.
Scorpion has not only already been introduced, but his origin is tied to J. Jonah Jameson—whose hate speech fills the streets of New York City, and his role in the MCU has continued to get meatier. When it comes to Li, what speaks in his favor is the weight that FEAST will now have in Peter’s life as he tries to carry on Aunt May’s legacy.
With either of these villains, Marvel could easily throw in more players. Scorpion’s story could have the Spider-Slayers debut as an additional threat, while Mister Negative’s reign in organized crime could involve Kingpin, Hammerhead, or Tombstone; among many other possibilities, even Robert Kingsley, the man who becomes Hobgoblin.
Both of those leading villains could also incorporate Black Cat into their stories, giving Peter an additional story to interweave with the main plot. Then there’s the Symbiote suit, which is all but guaranteed to show up no matter what direction the film goes in—Marvel didn’t just leave a piece of the alien behind for jokes.
No matter what choice the creatives make, fans can likely all agree on something: Spider-Man’s next MCU appearance can’t come soon enough.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is playing in theaters worldwide.