For decades, Spider-Man villains have comprised arguably the greatest lineup of bad guys in comics. Only Batman has a rogue’s gallery that can rival Peter Parker’s. Consider that in eight Spider-Man movies and one animated spinoff, there have barely been any repeated villains. By contrast, the Batman films have given us three Jokers (and another on the way), two Two-Faces, and three Catwomen (counting Halle Berry).
Fortunately, there are still several worthy Spider-Men foes out there, even if the Vulture or Scorpion don’t show up again. We’ve picked out ten viable contenders for Spidey’s next big screen opponent. However, we’ve excluded any character who has already appeared in costume on screen. Into the Spider-Verse counts, as does Venom. Carnage and Morbius aren’t included since the former was set up in Venom, and the latter is getting his own movie.
We’d take odds on Kraven being the next big-screen foe for Spider-Man, since he’s the most significant recurring enemy who has yet to appear in a movie. He’s Russian immigrant who fancies himself the best big-game hunter in the world, and he naturally has to bag a superhero to prove it. Due to his affinity for animal themes, he’s also targeted heroes like Black Panther, but he is more often seen tracking down Spider-Man. “Kraven’s Last Hunt” is considered one of the definitive web-head tales. And like so many Spider-Man adversaries, Kraven can be weirdly honorable. As a bonus, he often comes with an additional villain in tow…
The half-brother of Kraven is a master of disguise, and the first villain to ever appear in a Spider-Man comic. His primary strengths — impersonation and knowledge of Spider-Man’s secret identity — aren’t entirely novel in the MCU. However, it’s the way that Chameleon uses those skills that make him unique. He can fully become his target and truly mess up their personal lives before taking them out.
A combination of Chameleon’s head games and Kraven’s physical challenges would be a villain team-up that makes sense.
Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is still mightily inexperienced in the ways of romance, even after the events of Far From Home. But at some point, we’ll want to see the MCU’s version of Black Cat throw a wrench in the works as the bad girl who represents forbidden attraction. Assuming Sony can be persuaded to let her into the MCU without trying to force a solo movie.
Technically Felicia Hardy has already appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but she deserves better than that blip of a role. Establish her as older than Peter and his friends, while playing up her attraction to the masked Spider-Man whom she believes to be a grown man. That might be hard, given the events of the film. But Felicia should be the one who loves Spider-Man for Spider-Man, while MJ likes Peter for who he really is. It’s a classic love triangle play, along with the fact that the right kind of seduction could make Peter eminently persuadable.
We’ve seen John Jameson twice now: vying for Mary Jane’s affections in San Raimi Spider-Man 2, and as a dead astronaut in Venom. But we haven’t seen him fulfill his comic-book destiny…to become a werewolf. Many of Spidey’s onscreen foes have been friends who go through unfortunate changes and turn evil, but Man-Wolf keeps turning back to good. It’s an apt metaphor for the often tumultuous friendships of young adulthood. John would also be worthy inclusion because his father is J. Jonah Jameson, the man who forever considers Spider-Man to be a menace.
Without giving too much away about Far From Home, we could very well see the creator of the Spider-Slayer robots in the future. In a world where disturbed men actually do go on terror sprees after being radicalized by online propaganda, it’s fair to imagine that happening in the MCU on a much larger scale. Making the metaphor even more apt, Spencer Smythe ultimately becomes poisoned as a radioactive side-effect of his own hateful creations. Of course, he also has a son ready to continue the feud with Spider-Man.
This is one character who should absolutely not be rushed. Norman Osborn, Oscorp, and the Green Goblin all need to be established first. Preferably a Green Goblin who actually looks like a goblin — surely the third time can be the charm? But rather than doing the “Harry turns evil” story again, make Hobgoblin Norman’s successor. And keep his identity a mystery. There have been at least six different people who have been Hobgoblins over the years. Therefore, a movie could include them all to keep fans guessing about his real identity. Although we think Hobgoblin might work best in a Spider-Verse animated sequel.
If we get Hobgoblin, his cybernetically-enhanced, pumpkin-headed ally would be good to have along. Set up CIA agent Jason Macendale in another movie as a traitor, then bring him back for rival horror-mask shenanigans. You can’t go wrong with a flaming gourd for a head.
There is a Hydro-Man in Far From Home, but it isn’t the real Hydro-Man from the comics. An entirely CG alien elemental feels kinda impersonal. But a working-class, street-level thug who also has incredible shape-shifting powers and could drown Spidey on dry land? That’s the guy we want. The film even mentions the comic book Hydro-Man by his real name, even if his existence is quickly brushed off. If Kevin Feige decides Mud-Thing is a good idea, bringing back Thomas Haden Church as Sandman would be fine.
Like Batman, Spider-Man typically fights villains who resemble twisted versions of himself. But then sometimes, things change up and he finds himself fighting the devil. Marvel has to walk a fine line here. If Mephisto appears to be too much like Satan, Christian families will reject the movie as being excessively demonic. But he is one of the biggest bads in the Marvel Universe. And one way to make a battle against him feel grounded is for a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to be our surrogate in battle alongside someone like Doctor Strange.
Many different adversaries have adopted the missile-firing, flying armor of the Beetle. So there are a lot of options to take this character in several different directions. The storyline in which college students stole the Beetle suit during Marvel’s Civil War strikes us as something Jon Watts could have a lot of fun with, since it echoes his Cop Car film.
Who do you think should be Spider-Man’s next bad guy on the big screen? Let us know in the comment section below!