And now the news has come that Spider-Man 3 will also star Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and feature Alfred Molina reprising the role of Doctor Octopus, both of which would seem to add credence to the theory that the multiverse (or Spider-Verse!) will play into the film. Strange’s next solo film, after all, will be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.Read on for our original theories about how Spider-Man 3 could be setting up the Spider-Verse and more…The multiverse is imploding!! Yep, yet another member of the Sony Spider-Verse is joining the MCU, and this time they’re from The Amazing Spider-Man timeline. Jamie Foxx returning as Electro is exciting enough, but it also could have huge ramifications on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
From multiverses to multiple Spider-Men, and from Miles Morales to the Sinister Six, we’re going to dive deep into what this could mean going forward and why Electro likely won’t be the last returning Spider-Man character we’ll see added to the wider world of the ever-growing MCU.
The Sinister Six Is (Almost) Already Here
The Sinister Six is one of Spider-Man’s most formidable and recurring supervillain teams. Because of that fact, they’ve long been rumored to be joining the cinematic world of Spider-Man. In fact, the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 featured a certified Sinister Six call-out with Harry Osborn/Green Goblin talking about putting together a team to fight Spidey, which also leads to the origin of the Rhino.
And while that iteration of the franchise is long dead, a familiar lineup of villains has been introduced in the first two installments of the current Tom Holland Spider-Man series, meaning that, along with the return of Jamie Foxx as Electro, five members of that insidious team are already spoken for. We met Vulture (Michael Keaton), two Shockers (Logan Marshall-Green and Bokeem Woodbine), and Mac Gargan A.K.A. the Scorpion during Spider-Man: Homecoming. The smash follow-up Far From Home of course gave us Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), meaning that we almost have a fully-fledged supervillain team ready to go.
So assuming that Sony and Marvel are planning a Sinister Six line-up, who could be taking that all-important sixth spot? Like pretty much every single comic book team, there have been many iterations of the Sinister Six. But if we look to their first appearance, we could get a hint of what’s to come. First appearing in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, the team consisted of three characters we know that exist in the MCU — Vulture, Electro, and Mysterio — as well as one from the original Spider-Man 3 movie — Sandman — and one from Spider-Man 2 — Doc Ock — along with a character we can’t wait to see added to the MCU, Kraven the Hunter. Seeing as there’s only one open spot at the moment, if the creative team behind the new Spider-Man 3 wants to play it classic then they could bring back Doctor Otto Octavius, who is one of the most beloved Spider-Man movie villains ever. Doc Ock did organize the first comic book team-up of the Six, after all.
Alfred Molina’s performance as the conflicted bad guy in Spider-Man 2 is still seen as one of the best superhero movie villain turns ever, and now that it seems that characters from that universe are able to cross over to the MCU, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him return. Another potential could be Spider-Man 3’s far less beloved Sandman (who was played by Thomas Haden Church), but that seems less likely. Of course, these aren’t the only options as there have been plenty of other iterations too. In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Insidious Six was put together by Kingpin. Now that cinematic worlds are merging, we would love to see Vincent D’Onofrio return to the iconic role he carved out on Netflix’s Daredevil. Could we see Paul Giamatti return as the Rhino? While it feels incredibly far-fetched, it’s 2020 so let’s not rule anything out. We’re living in a world where Michael Keaton will be playing Batman again, don’t forget.
There’s also the fact that Marvel and Sony already have another villain headed to their shared universe in the guise of Jared Leto’s Morbius the Living Vampire. (Don’t forget, we glimpsed graffiti of Spider-Man in the Morbius trailer… and it was the PS4 Spider-Man version of the wallcrawler!) Though he was a late addition to the Six in the comics — not joining the team until 2015’s Spider-Man and the X-Men series — it would make sense for him to become a part of the team as Sony clearly wants to boost the Marvel characters it has sole movie rights to.
Oh, and speaking of which, you might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned Tom Hardy’s Venom yet, but with the arc we saw in his first movie and his upcoming Carnage-centric sequel, it seems far more likely that Eddie Brock will eventually have to team up with Peter Parker — and maybe Miles Morales? — to take down the Sinister Six rather than join their ranks.
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Does Jamie Foxx’s Return Confirm a Multiverse?
This really depends on whether or not Foxx is playing the same iteration of Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Odds are he probably is, and if that’s the case then we are looking at an intriguing movie from Sony and Marvel in choosing to combine their once defined and separate worlds. It’s an especially interesting turn of events as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t exactly a beloved addition to Spider-canon, although Foxx was inspired casting as Electro. It’s also possible, of course, that Foxx’s character will be at least slightly reimagined. Perhaps this Electro will be another disgruntled Stark employee? Tony has been at the heart of the MCU — and many of its problems — for over a decade, and we felt his impact in Far From Home with the introduction of Mysterio and his crew of technically proficient… you guessed it, disgruntled Stark employees.
It already seemed like Marvel was hinting at bringing these once disparate worlds closer together with the much-lauded and shocking addition of J. Jonah Jameson at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Foxx’s addition to the MCU’s Spider-Man 3 cast appears to confirm that whatever boundaries there were are blurring. Outside of just casting cool returning characters or maybe introducing new people into the main MCU *cough* D’Onofrio *cough*, there’s also the fact that Mysterio was running a scam where he claimed to be from a different dimension. That (not to mention the time-travel shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame) opens the MCU up to at least a conversation around multiple dimensions. Perhaps there really were alt-worlds and Mysterio’s work was based in real science even if he himself was a fraud.
Maybe Venom doesn’t come from another planet in our solar system and in fact comes from the cosmos of another universe? If that’s the case, it could explain how he’s might exist in both the Sony universe and the Marvel one. Maybe he’ll get transported to the MCU universe by the symbiote while battling Carnage? Or could the two versions of San Francisco, where he’s based, get switched during some string theory craziness? Either way, it would be very easy to build Venom into whatever multiverse mania Marvel is clearly getting itself into, while also explaining why seemingly no other superheroes exist in the first Venom movie.
One of the key fictional signifiers that a multiverse exists are glitches that change parts of the world as we know it. With the return of J.K. Simmons’ J.J.J., many fans wondered what that meant for the MCU as it essentially confirmed the existence of a world where Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man had too existed. Could it be that Mysterio and his goons accidentally did mess with the multiverse, causing a glitch that led to Jonah turning up at the end of Far From Home? Something similar happened in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which the MCU and Sony could be using as a framework for streamlining their multiple universes and timelines into one.
Could We See the Spider-Verse Coming to the MCU?
When we think about a multiverse in regards to Marvel, the Spider-Verse is obviously the first thing that comes to mind. We already know that Miles Morales exists in the Sony/MCU universe as Donald Glover played his uncle (who in the comics eventually becomes the Prowler) and referenced the fan fave character by name. With the massive critical success of Into the Spider-Verse it seems like Marvel Studios would be smart to work out a way to introduce the legacy hero and the wider world(s) of Spider-Man to the screen.
A few years ago it would have seemed preposterous to suggest that we would have multiple cinematic Spider-Man universes crossing over. But the popularity of Into the Spider-Verse and Sony’s need to keep their catalog fresh while also relevant to Disney’s canon means it’s now likely. The Prowler has always been a key piece of Miles’ lore and played a major role in his animated movie debut. Could we see Glover return and take on the Prowler mantle as a way of introducing Miles? If the multiverse of the MCU is real, maybe — and this is a big maybe — animated Miles could travel to the MCU to help save the day? But while it would be amazing to see an animated/live-action crossover feature, it seems unlikely. Maybe it would be more like a momentary cartoon moment before Miles is pushed into the real human iteration he would likely be in the MCU.
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Another option is that Miles has been at Peter’s school this whole time. When Spider-Man has to go on the run because of Mysterio’s lies, Miles could take on the mantle. While in the comic books he began in a different universe from the standard Peter, here they could share a NYC. Or, just like in Into the Spider-Verse, Miles could exist in a different universe that’s glitching, leaving him suddenly transported to the MCU. Basically, live-action Miles almost certainly will be coming to the big screen at some point; the question is more just when and how rather than if. And the Jamie Foxx news makes it seem far more likely that we’ll be seeing him and his iconic red and black suit sooner rather than later.
The other ramification of a Spider-Verse type situation is, of course, multiple Peter Parkers. Could whatever is bringing old Sony Spidey characters back mean that we could get a Spider-Man movie where Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, and Tom Holland all don the classic suit? (We know there was talk about those previous Spideys cameoing in Spider-Verse at one point.) It’s not out of the realm of possibility, seeing as Into the Spider-Verse introduced two core Peter Parkers and multiple alt-universe versions of the hero. Heck, maybe we’ll even get Nicholas Hammond returning as his TV version? A true dream would be a live-action hat tip to the ’70s Japanese Spider-Man series — already referenced in Into the Spider-Verse — which Disney will soon be highlighting in their documentary series Marvel’s 616. Maybe they’re suddenly spotlighting the radical adaptation because they’re going to bring Shinji Tôdô back too? We can hope! This could be pretty cool, especially if we get a full multiverse with a rad CG Peter Porker and Penny Parker in her badass mech…
Maybe this is all a way for the studios to compete with DC’s ever-growing multiverse. With so many Sony Spidey properties in the works — including a Silk TV show and a Spider-Woman movie — expect to see the symbiotic relationship between the two studios grow and impact the future of the MCU.