This article contains spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and possibly beyond.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (for better or worse), spends considerable time seeding clues for villains of future Spider-Man films and spin-offs. In a unique cross-promotion with music app, Shazam, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 went without a post-credits sequence, and instead used the app to reveal teaser images of future Spider-Man film villains. Six, to be exact. The Sinister Six have a long history in the comics with a wide roster of potential members to choose from in a big screen version.
So, what do we know about Spidey's cinematic future? Well, we know that director Marc Webb will return for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which should arrive in 2016. The producers recently told us that the Spider-Man film slated for 2018 likely isn't The Amazing Spider-Man 4, and that we'll see The Sinister Six and Venom before we see a fourth proper Spidey flick from Sony.
The Sinister Six movie will be written and directed by Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods). Despite the presence of this Six-teasing easter egg sequence in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it has been reported that Mr. Goddard has yet to finalize the lineup. Rumor has it that the movie could go into production as early as January 2015, which would likely even place it ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in the queue.
As for The Amazing Spider-Man 4, that's anyone's guess at this point. Once scheduled for a May 4, 2018 release date, that looks like it will give way for one of the villain movies. Marc Webb has confirmed that he won't be back in the director's chair, and Andrew Garfield remains a question mark in that regard since his contract is up with The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
So, let's take a look at who we can expect to see in these next few movies, based solely on what we were shown in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We'll kick off with the "announced" members of the Sinister Six, and work our way down the line into the further reaches of speculation.
While not a founding member of the comic book version of the team, the Green Goblin remains (arguably) Spidey's most recognizable foe. As the Sinister Six movie is unlikely to have any actual Spider-Man in it, the Goblin would be the potential leading bad guy for the filmmakers to hang their hats on. There have been continued hints that the Sinister Six movie will feature a kind of redemption story for at least one of the characters, and Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn seems like a natural fit for this, with his tragic genetic birthright, personal history with Peter Parker, and his role (indirect or otherwise) in the death of Gwen Stacy. He also is a solid candidate for a leader since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ends with the Goblin forming a group that he wants to "keep small." And after all, it was the comic book's version of the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, who created and led the Sinister Twelve.
The only real competition for the "Spider-Man's greatest enemy" spot is Doctor Otto Octavius. Whoever the next Doctor Octopus is will have a bit of a hill to climb if he wants to compete with Alfred Molina in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. However, Doc Ock is absolutely essential to the concept of the Sinister Six: he was the brains behind the original team and served on more incarnations of the squad than any other villain. Ock's arms are displayed prominently in several scenes in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and he's the villain most likely to carry his own weight in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. It would seem absolutely essential that they establish Otto Octavius in that film before moving on to the Sinister Six, but this franchise seems like they're in quite a hurry...
Speaking of prominent teases, there's always Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, to look forward to. His trademark wings can be spotted in the background of several scenes in that creepy Oscorp basement, and they show up in the easter egg sequence, as well. Early rumors even suggested that Colm Feore was was playing Adrian Toomes, but the actual name of the venerable Oscorp executive was Donald Menken.
The Vulture was a founding member of the Six, as well as one of Spidey's earliest villains. He also is a character who has long been on Sony's mind, first as the secondary villain in the original Spider-Man 3 (where he was to be played by Sir Ben Kingsley) until Venom's popularity clipped his wings, and then he was to appear again as the central villain of Spider-Man 4 before that entire movie was scrapped. If the modern release schedule lines up, we may see him introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, possibly in "civilian" form, before he joins up with the rest of the team. But there's still the possibility that The Sinister Six will hit before that film.
We can't imagine anyone wants to see more of Paul Giamatti's Rhino to be perfectly honest. But every team needs a tank, and the version of the Rhino introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is, almost literally, just that. The Rhino isn't a traditional member of the team, but he's appeared with them a few times, notably as a member of the Sinister Syndicate in the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man limited series in the early '90s. There, the Rhino was just looking to do "one more job" so he could pay his debts, go straight, and be free of his bonded Rhino skin. Sadly, there appears to be no room for such nuance with the movie version of the character.
In all likelihood, this represents founding Six member, Kraven the Hunter. There's a reference on a computer screen to an "Australia Project" (see below) that we assume could be a nod to the Sergei Kravinoff from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, a reality TV host who comes to New York to hunt Spidey for publicity. He eventually gains were-cat like abilities thanks to some handy-dandy DNA tampering, and this origin story certainly feels more "movie ready" than the classic version of the character. Then again, a Spider-Man villain who can stand up to the hero without powers or gimmicks? After the last movie, that might be the exact kind of energy bolt that is really needed.
We initially thought that this the flat, featureless mask with variation in texture could signify the arrival of the Chameleon, the very first proper supervillain that Spidey fought way the heck back in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 in 1963. But Marc Webb has confirmed that this is meant to represent Mysterio. When you think about it, either character would fulfill a vital skill set for a caper movie. The Chameleon is (duh) a master of disguise, while Mysterio is a special effects guru and master of illusion. Hell, put 'em both in the movie!
Mysterio makes sense, though. He's a founding member of the team and has remained a member through numerous Sinister Six adventures. Plus, he just presents a much better visual.
Then again, considering this franchise's obsession with animal-powered heroes and villains, we're sure there's a tank full of chameleons somewhere in Oscorp tower just waiting to give someone the power to change their appearance and...okay. Sorry. We'll stop now.
Whether or not you're a fan of Jamie Foxx's interpretation of Max Dillon, there are a few things to keep in mind that make him a logical, practical fit for a Sinister Six movie. First of all, never underestimate the lure of star power when studios are budgeting expensive genre movies, and Jamie Foxx certainly provides that. Second of all, Electro is not only a founding member of the team in the comics, he's also been involved in most Six lineups. Third: the fewer origin stories that the Sinister Six movie has to deal with, the better off everyone will be. Don't rule this one out.
The mysterious fella pictured here with Doc Ock's arms and the Vulture's wings is the man pulling the strings. Think of Gustav Fiers (played by Michael Massee) as the sinister equivalent of Nick Fury in the early Marvel Studios movies. What do we know about Gustav Fiers? Very little. I know it's not good form to admit that we aren't familiar with this guy, but we haven't read Adam Troy-Castro's trilogy of Sinister Six prose novels, which is where Mr. Fiers has his origins. Still, from what we gather from this excellent page, the Mr. Fiers we see here not only knows Peter Parker's secret identity (something that was established in the first Amazing Spider-Man film), but he's the guy who was behind the elimination of the Parker family.
While Felicia Hardy has never been a Sinister Six member, she's bound to show up again in some fashion in The Amazing Spider-Man 3 or The Sinister Six. Played by Felicity Jones in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Ms. Hardy is a trusted Oscorp employee who seems to know more than she lets on. Given this franchise's fondness for granting people animal-based powers via Oscorp experimentation, we figure it's perfectly reasonable that Felicia could have found her way into the Oscorp cattery...or something. Could Felicia end up as the anti-hero thwarting the plans of the Sinister Six on screen? Also worth considering: would Sony (or their target audience of teenage boys) want to see a movie starring only men over 40 and/or wearing fish bowls?
Note: No, you didn't miss something huge. But this shot of Felicia Hardy spotting Harry Osborn shortly after his Green Goblin transformation was visible in one of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailers, but didn't make the final cut. Clearly, Ms. Hardy knows what goes on in the bowels of Oscorp.
Unless Alistair Smythe (B.J. Novak) is going to serve as a weapons master for the Six, there's little chance of him actually appearing in the Sinister Six movie. But the Smythe family, known for creating robotic monstrosities called Spider-Slayers (anybody want to take a guess about what they do?) would make good cinematic fun. Smythe and his robots could make fun first act cannon-fodder for Spidey in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, or if the series wants to take a break from trying to breathlessly hit as many important moments in Spidey's history per film as possible, they could even try and craft something more substantial around him. Either way, we've been assured that Smythe will be back, but we're willing to bet it won't be as a member of the Six.
You know what makes a fan suspicious? Putting an actor in a bunch of scenes, in a role only slightly larger than your average movie heavy, and then don't name the character in the credits. Seriously, Sony? You're just gonna call this guy "the Man in the Black Suit" and not expect imaginations to run wild?
We have no idea who Louis Cancelmi is supposed to be, but for a guy to be running around in a black suit in a building where people are constantly asking about where "the venom" is stored, you can understand why this has Spidey senses tingling around here. With Venom earmarked for a solo film from Sony sometime between now and 2020, is Mr. Canelmi the guy to headline that? Or maybe this strong, silent type is a front for the aforementioned Chameleon? Corporate espionage is considerably less tied to the Cold War than the character's original origins...
Most of the names and hints contained in this graphic are already in relation to characters mentioned above (Eel Lab, Venom Storage, Australia Project etc). But there's also a "Dr. Morbius File" visible here (we'll bet you a large popcorn that it's because he works in the Oscorp Bat House). If Sony were to devote an entire movie (can't imagine we'll see Morbius before The Amazing Spider-Man 4) to Spider-Man and Morbius, the Living Vampire now THAT would be something different.
Well, that's all we've got. What did we miss? Who do you think will annoy Spider-Man for the next few years in this franchise? Let us know!
Note: David Crow helped fill in some gaps in my Spidey knowledge for this piece. Yes, I have to admit, there are a few.