Spider-Man: No Way Home will be packed with more villains than any other comic book movie in history. With five villains already confirmed, the multiverse blockbuster looks set to assemble the iconic Sinister Six team of villains for the first time in live-action.
So far, Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, and Thomas Haden Church's Sandman have been confirmed to return from Tobey Maguire's universe while Rhys Ifans' Lizard and Jamie Foxx's Electro join from Andrew Garfield's.
Despite being the culmination of Tom Holland's first heroic trilogy and supposedly being equivalent to Spider-Man: Endgame, the movie appears to be completely devoid of current MCU villains.
But with a sixth villainous role still to be filled, assuming the Sinister Six will indeed assemble, there's still hope for those craving an appearance from Vulture, Scorpion, Mysterio, Rhino, or Venom.
With five villains now revealed, who could the secret sixth antagonist be, and why is Sony keeping them so secret?
Having revealed Peter Parker's Spider-Man identity to the world, Mysterio indirectly acted as the catalyst of No Way Home's multiverse arrivals. So even if Jake Gyllenhaal's Far From Home villain stays dead and no sixth antagonist appears, Mysterio would ultimately still be an honorary member of the Sinister Six.
Although with Mysterio being the master of illusions and surprises, it wouldn't be awfully shocking if he had one last trick up his sleeve to fake his death and avoid any chance of capture while still destroying Spider-Man's reputation.
Additionally, the recently-released second trailer confirmed all the returning villains died fighting Spider-Man, a fate that Mysterio also suffered. Out of all the previously introduced wall-crawler antagonists from past films, Gyllenhaal's genius is the only villain to fit in with this theme.
With the villain having seemingly died in the climax of Far From Home, his return would certainly be worthy of hiding from the public eye by leaving him out of the trailers.
Venom Joins the MCU
Venom: Let There Be Carnage saw Eddie Brock and his Symbiote companion dragged from an island paradise into the MCU's New York by a wave of multiverse energy. Now that Venom seems to have his eyes set on Tom Holland's Spider-Man, something which may be followed up on in No Way Home.
However, the rivalry between Venom and Spider-Man is an iconic one with many popular stories attached to it. Since the fight between the two hasn't been touched upon since 2008's Spider-Man 3, Sony may instead opt to revisit the Symbiote in a fourth Tom Holland-led outing or the inevitable Venom 3.
While Tom Hardy's Venom will probably make some kind of appearance, more likely in a post-credits scene than the movie itself, it would be surprising if he was one of the primary antagonists.
Rhino Gets Another Shot
Back when Collider first reported Rhys Ifans' Lizard and Thomas Haden Church's Sandman would be returning for No Way Home, something which has not since been confirmed, they also claimed Paul Giamatti's Rhino would be making a comeback.
Having debuted in a brief role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Giamatti's mech-suited villain never really got the chance to shine as much as he could have, which left many hopefuls he would get another shot at the role.
But with two trailers now out and no sign of Rhino, it appears as if he won't be coming back for No Way Home. Granted, Sony could be saving his appearance as a surprise for the final release, but there's no clear reason to hold back confirming his return while announcing the rest.
Homecoming Villains Return
With the concluding moments of Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans were treated to the first teases of a villainous team-up as Michael Keaton's Vulture came face-to-face with Michael Mando's Mac Gargan aka Scorpion in prison.
Since then, the seeds planted by the dramatic post-credits scene have yet to be touched on as the franchise has somewhat outgrown the small-time street-level villains of Homecoming.
As of now, No Way Home appears set to entirely focus its attention on villains from past franchises while ignoring the current ones. But with one spot remaining on the Sinister Six, Vulture or Scorpion could be reasonable candidates to join the team.
Ned Becomes the Hobgoblin
Ever since Jacob Batalon's Ned Leeds was first announced to be taking on the best friend figure to Tom Holland's Peter Parker, many hardcore fans have been awaiting his downfall into villainy as his comic counterpart is one incarnation of the Hobgoblin.
Speculation of Hobgoblin's imminent introduction sparked up to an all-time high last year as Batalon revealed an extreme physical transformation in which he lost a significant amount of weight. With the Marvel star having gotten himself into excellent shape, Batalon may now be in a better position to take on the intense physical acting that comes with playing a key villainous role.
Perhaps Dafoe's Goblin may infect Leeds' high schooler with his own serum that sends him down the same path of insanity Norman Osborn went down in Spider-Man. Although, if the MCU opts to adapt Ned's villainy, it may make more sense for it to be the focus of a future sequel instead of a side plot alongside the five other threats.
So is There a Sixth Villain?
If Spider-Man: No Way Home does end up including a surprising sixth villain, it almost certainly won't be officially revealed until the movie releases as there would have to be a strong reason for Sony to keep the final antagonist a secret.
Overall, the return of Mysterio seems to be the most likely of the possible options as his resurrection would prove spoiler enough to be worth keeping secret while also fitting the theme of villains who have died fighting Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17, 2021.