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Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?

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There’s a maxim in football that you’re only as strong as your bench, and with the Sinister Six, the evil talent pool runs deep. For one thing, there’s more than six of them (clever bastards), and, for another, their line-up is pretty changeable. Sony has announced that a Sinister Six film is headed our way from writer/director Drew Goddard, along with a solo outing for another Spider villain, Venom, and a straight sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 3. But what can we expect from the sextet’s film? What order these films will come in remains to be seen, rather complicating our prognostications, but we’ve examined the comics and films to find the likely contenders.

Just beware of minor, largely trailer-centric spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2...

Sinister Six - Doctor Octopus

Who’s that?
“Guy called Otto Octavius gets eight arms – what are the chances?” cheered a delighted J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. The well-monikered Doc Ock has a long history in the comics, and in fact it was he who first put together the superbad-group on the page. Realising that he wasn’t able to defeat Spider-Man single-handedly, he tried to contact every single baddie who’d ever crossed the webslinger’s path, and recruited the five who replied into his gang.

Is he likely to feature?
We’d say so, yes: there’s actually a shot of those four tentacles in The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s trailer, which suggests he’s on someone’s drawing board. But who will play him and what his motivation might be to get involved remains to be seen. “As long as there's that one thing in common: they'll hate Spider-Man,” says producer Avi Arad. “They'll hate him because he’s so different from them. But then, you know when you sit by yourself somewhere and you think about it, they all had a different life at one time.” Can we get Alfred Molina back?

In a word: YES

Siister Six - Electro

Who’s that?
Max “Electro” Dillon is the biggest new bad in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, an Oscorp techie who is apparently killed after crashing into a vat full of electricity-generating eels. He survives, but in a much-altered form: he’s now blue-skinned and able to accomplish miraculous things with electricity. The newly-christened Electro also blames Spider-Man when the police panic after his power gets out of control, and that grudge gets personal fast.

Is he likely to feature?
Without wishing to get into spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it might seem initially unlikely but we wouldn’t rule it out. Jamie Foxx has created an interesting and very, very angry character, but at the same time someone who’s rather adrift in the world. Despite his huge IQ and enormous powers, it would make a lot of sense for Electro to seek out others to team up with because we suspect, if left alone, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Or a spider.

In a word: YES

Sinister Six - The Lizard

Who’s that?
You remember, you saw him in the first film? He was Dr Curt Connors, AKA Rhys Ifans with only one arm, in which form he was quite likeable and sympathetic, and then he turned into a terrifying pile of CG scales who apparently wanted to turn all of New York into reptiles because of… um, science? It was a little hazy. Huge, hulking and with a slight air de velociraptor, he was at least a visual contrast to our friendly neighbourhood hero.

Is he likely to feature?
Well, he was merely locked up at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man, so he’s in the box, as it were, ready to be taken out and played with. There were a couple of cases in the comics where Lizard was controlled by Doc Ock and forced to fight Spidey; we could theoretically see something similar here even if they’re trying to have him onside as a relatively sympathetic villain.

In a word: YES

Vulture

Who’s that?
An electrical engineer who turned to crime after his business partner ran off with all their money, Adrian Toomes took with him the flying harness he’d invented, which somehow confers bonus superhuman strength because, er, reasons. Spider-Man has generally tackled him by either knocking out his wings, tangling him in string or by laughing at his baldy head. OK, that last one was more of a distraction.

Is he likely to feature?
As with Doc Ock, we saw the Vulture’s wings hanging in the giant MacGuffin experimental tech storage basement of Oscorp, which suggests that someone would like him to appear in the mix here. He’s not a bad shout: a villain with flight powers threatens Spider-Man from the air, where he’s otherwise at home, and curtails the amount of webslinging he can safely do. But who could take the role? Terry O’Quinn could tackle it.

In a word: YES

Rhino

Who’s that?
Played by Paul Giamatti in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Rhino starts out as a Russian thug called Aleksei Sytsevich – try saying that after a few vodkas – who in the comics has super-powers even before he dons his near-indestructible suit. It’s no spoiler to say that he puts that on; it’s in trailers for Marc Webb’s second film. What will be interesting is what he does next.

Is he likely to feature?
It’s not a sure thing but we’d consider it probable. Given the calibre of the actor hired, it would seem a shame not to give him a little more sceentime to strut his stuff – and Giamatti in full-blown off-the-wall mode is always a joy (see Shoot ‘Em Up for more evidence of that). To say any more would be a spoiler.

In a word: YES

Sinister Six - The Gentleman

Who’s that?
If you’re going to have a team, you need a manager, and the Gentleman is that guy. He appeared in silhouette in the first Amazing movie, cloaked and shadowed to the extent that some assumed he might be Norman Osborn. But no! He’s Gustave Fiers, an obscenely wealthy misanthrope convinced of his own superiority to, well, everyone, and someone who – in some comics at least – has monitored Peter Parker for years.

Is he likely to feature?
Fiers tends not to do his own fighting, operating behind the scenes to recruit others instead or using Pity and Chameleon (keep reading) as protection, so we’re not sure if he’d count as one of the Six even if he appears. However, the comic book storyline that had him monitoring Peter Parker and bringing together the Sinister Six would make him an excellent fit for this film.

In a word: YES

Sinister Six - Green Goblin

Who’s that?
You will have seen, in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, that Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn becomes Green Goblin – the armoured, cackling, bomb-throwing Big Bad of the Spider-universe. What you won’t have seen in much depth is that he’s a very scary, thoroughly unhinged foe, which makes us wonder how well he would play with others.

Is he likely to feature?
Interesting case, this. Without going into major spoilers, Green Goblin doesn’t appear until rather late in the most recent film, and one might consider him a set-up for the third Spider-Man (proper) outing in 2016 rather than the Sinister Six spin-off, where it hasn’t been confirmed that Spider-Man will appear. While he’d be a great addition to any villain get-together, we suspect this goblin’s headed for solo glory. Or ignominy at least. Much here depends on the order of these films: will the Sinister Six precede Amazing Spider-Man 3 or follow it?

In a word: MAYBE

Sinister Six - Mysterio

Who’s that?
The original Mysterio was Quentin Beck, a special effects wizard and stuntman (not two jobs that always go hand-in-hand), who fell on hard times and started using his abilities to become a super-villain. He’s handy with robotics, chemistry and hypnosis, which helps, and he’s a decent fighter. And hey! Given that 90% of Spidey-villains are scientists, at least he has a more interesting back story.

Is he likely to feature?
It’s a hard one to call. Mysterio’s something of a Sinister Six mainstay, and his powers dovetail nicely with his more physical / super-suited brethren like Rhino, Vulture and Doc Ock. Admittedly, he hasn’t been signposted like many of the rest – but then again “guy fallen on hard times” hardly needs much set-up these days.

In a word: YES

Kraven The Hunter

Who’s that?
A founder member of the Six, Kraven is a big-game hunter who uses a “mystical serum” to give himself super-strength in the fight against his prey: namely, Spider-Man. Kraven has his own sense of honour, sometimes stepping back from fighting a weakened Spidey, and is obsessed with the hunt to an unhealthy degree: shortly after apparently killing Spidey in one comic (spoiler: not dead), Kraven committed suicide in a world bereft of bigger targets to prove his ability.

Is he likely to feature?
He’s one of the biggest Spider-villains never to appear in either movie series and the star of the latest Spider-Man game, but Kraven feels particularly outdated these days. Who goes hunting now other than Spanish royalty anyway? He’s definitely not one of them; Kraven’s meant to be Russian (he’s linked to Chameleon, more on which later). That said, he’s an icon and might be a nice contrast to the rest of the revenge-motivated Six.

In a word: MAYBE

Sinister Six - Sandman

Who’s that?
You may remember him from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, where Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman was but one of a mess of villains in an overcooked stew. Christened William Baker but calling himself Flint Marko, Sandman was a rather sad victim-turned-bully-turned-small-time-criminal before contact with irradiated sand gave him the power to change his shape into a sand-like substance at will. He's not to be confused with the Neil Gaiman Sandman in any way.

Is he likely to feature?
Character-wise, Sandman’s an unusually sympathetic villain – something that Raimi’s film captured relatively well – which might give some balance to a Sinister Six set-up. Then again, he is perhaps tainted by that Spider-Man 3 appearance, with Sandman (unfairly) coming in for a lot of criticism. There’s also the tricky issue of making that origin story work.

In a word: NO

Sinister Six - Scorpio

Who’s that?
A psychotic mental patient, Elaine Colls, was given a super-powered suit by a bad guy called Silvermane. The suit gave her superhuman strength and the ability to project energy blasts and a thin forcefield. Well, nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan.

Is she likely to feature?
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that most incarnations of the Sinister Six are a total sausage fest, so we suspect that Drew Goddard and his team might take a close look at the few lady members to see if they could add a little variety to the mix. In that respect, Colls could fit: her comics origin would chime with the Oscorp-centric origins of other Amazing Spider-Man villains so far. Someone starts handing out suits to bad people, and we’re there.

In a word: MAYBE

Sinister Six - Pity

Who’s that?
She is a mutant whose parents were killed by the Gentleman so that he could raise her and control her powers. He has brutally conditioned her to unquestioning loyalty and uses her in his schemes. Her abilities include super-strength, speed and agility, but more importantly she can black out large areas and nullify Spider-Man’s spider-sense.

Is she likely to feature?
As with Scorpia, a few XX-chromosomes wouldn’t go to waste, and Pity’s connection with the Gentleman makes her an easy character to introduce. On the other hand, she’s not exactly well-known, and there’s a big question whether she could be described as a “mutant” given the labyrintine licencing deals of Marvel properties (see, for example, the complex situation with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch), which would confuse her origin.

In a word: NO

Sinister Six - Venom

Who’s that?
Although he didn’t appear until the 1980s, Venom has become perhaps the most famous Spider-villain of all. His history in the comics is…complex. See, there was this mega-powerful alien called The Beyonder who brought loads of Marvel heroes and villains to an alien world for a punch-up called Secret Wars. There, Spidey found this nifty black suit and donned it – only to discover back on Earth that it was an evil alien symbiote. He ditched it, whereupon it adopted the less benign Eddie Brock and became the ravening, terrifying Venom: like Spidey, but bigger and much, much badder. Expect a slightly more terrestrial origin story here.

Is he likely to feature?
Venom’s being set up for a solo outing. That might mean he sits out the Sinister Six in order to appear triumphantly in his own film, or that the Sinister Six becomes his launching pad. After all, if we’re to see six bad guys team up and Spider-Man isn’t their target – and the producers aren’t confirming whether he’ll appear – there needs to be something for them to fight. But does Venom make sense if he’s to have his own movie? It seems doubtful.

In a word: NO

Sinister Six - Black Cat, Felicity Jones

Who’s that?
Felicia Hardy, who makes a brief appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (played by Felicity Jones) as the assistant to Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn, is a cat burglar’s daughter who trained herself in the martial arts after being raped by her college boyfriend and who becomes a criminal in turn. She and Spider-Man had an on-again, off-again love affair as she ping-ponged across both sides of the law.

Is she likely to feature?
Before you make the obvious point, we know! Black Cat has never been a member of the Sinister Six and in fact has sometimes helped Spidey fight them. But if this is set to be a story of redemption, as producer Avi Arad has said (“Everybody's looking for redemption; they're unforgiven," says Arad. "Would you see one of the Sinister Six starting to feel like that? Yes. And people love it, by the way. They love when a villain finds his way back because we're all very forgiving") then Black Cat is a heck of a lot more redeemable than the rest. Alternatively, she could play a foil for them. Surely we need more of a goodie in there as well? She could appear in the movie without being one of the Six...

In a word: MAYBE

Hobgoblin

The following have all appeared in some incarnation of a Sinister Six, Seven or Twelve, but are probably not top of anyone’s list for the film.

Hobgoblin – He’s too Green Goblin-y.

Shocker – Doesn’t he seem a little too similar, powers-wise, to Electro?

Gog – A giant alien dude? Probably not.

Hammerhead – He looks too similar to FlatTop in Dick Tracy.

Hydro-Man – Too Abyss.

Molten Man – Too Human Torch.

Carnage – He naturally follows from Venom. We can’t have Carnage without Venom.

Chameleon – He might appear, given that he’s a servant of the Gentleman, but he seems unlikely to play a core role.

Boomerang – He has an arsenal of deadly boomerangs. That’s unlikely to play outside Australia.

Tombstone – He’s a bit more Daredevil, given his association with the Kingpin.

Grim Reaper – Without going into a complex backstory involving his brother’s life and death, he’s a villain without a point.

Trapster – He’s a little more low-rent, more of a “street-level” baddie than a regular Sixer.

Overdrive – His superpower is the ability to drive really fast. Pfft.

Speed Demon – He’s like an evil Flash, or Quicksilver. Meh.

Beetle – (female version) She’s the daughter of Tombstone. If he’s unlikely, she seems it too. May also be too close to Vulture in terms of powers.

Beetle – (male version) Strictly, he’s never been in the Sinister Six, just the Sinister Seven.

The Living Brain – He’s a super-smart robot. We have an Age Of Ultron already on its way.