Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s Vulture design went through several rounds of revisions before settling on the final on-screen look.
Classic Spidey villain Vulture popped up for a memorable fight sequence in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, where he fought Gwen Stacy before Miguel O’Hara and Jess Drew dropped in to assist.
But as Gwen was quick to realize in the movie, it wasn’t her universe’s Vulture that she was fighting. Instead, she duked it out with what looked like a Renaissance-era Vulture made from parchment paper.
Spider-Verse 2 Had Quite a Few Unused Vulture Designs
Mauro Belfiore, a concept artist on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, took to Instagram to share several designs for the movie’s Vulture that were passed on. Belfiore noted in his post that these were mostly exploration sketches, likely done when the art department was throwing things at the wall and seeing what stuck.
First up, there’s the Vulture (presumably Adrian Toomes) wearing a winged suit, only this one has a large bird head sticking out of it that seems to be firing a projectile. The captions read “Vrooom” and “Miserable Spiders!!!”
This pass appears quite similar to the first but offers a close-up of Toomes’ sinister mug as well as the vulture-themed helmet he wears. This guy really knows how to commit to a theme.
The following incarnation took most of the elements of the first two but made them much bigger.
In this design, Vulture is a bit more monochromatic and has mounted a harpoon launcher on the top of his suit. Looks like Spider-Woman just brought a web shooter to a gunfight.
This take scales everything back down and shows Toomes standing instead of in-flight. The speech bubble reads “he he he,” so you know he’s plotting something devilish.
Vulture goes full-on Ren Fair with this version, poofy sleeves and all. His face is also decidedly more avian than human.
Spider-Man 2099 and Spider-Woman face off with Vulture in a less-detailed but still visually interesting look in another image shown.
In the next piece, Vulture has stripped back his flight tech and opts for a simple bird-themed jetpack. The artist remarked that it was around this point that the character’s visuals started to get finalized:
“Another pass of design work of the Vulture for #acrossthespiderverse we’re getting close to the final look. In this pass I gave more emphasis to the hatching to see how it could be looking, which is one of the aspects of his final look. The big vulture head machine on top was removed to get more focus on the character.“
Toomes reveals his impressive wingspan and more closely resembles his mainline comic counterpart than any of the other designs.
In this version, Gwen and Miguel have thwipped in to put a stop to Vulture. The design here appears a bit more monstrous and over-the-top than some of the others.
Finally, there’s the final da Vinci-esque final look that showed up in Across the Spider-Verse’s cold open.
What Could Be Next for the Vulture?
The Vulture is generally regarded as one of the lamer Spider-Man villains, given that, in the comics, he’s mostly just an elderly gentleman who likes to commit crimes while dressed like a bird.
However, the MCU’s spin on the character was far more menacing. Played by the fan-favorite Michael Keaton in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, that movie’s Vulture wore a giant mechanical flight suit in the vein of Sam Wilson’s, only much deadlier. He also wielded dangerous technology made from leftover Chitauri gear.
And then Across the Spider-Verse’s Toomes was no slouch either, as he was able to fend off the combined might of three different Spider-People all while looking like something out of the 15th century.
It’s unclear whether another Variant of the character will show up in the 2024 threequel Beyond the Spider-Verse, but with the film probably going all out on different multiversal doppelgängers of Spider-Man characters, it might be safe to say that the Vulture will fly again.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters.