The recent release of Spider-Man 2 on DVD will give comic-heads another excuse to break out their undersized red-and-blue Underoos, so it’s time to weigh in on the next chapter of everyone’s favorite superhero-turned-movie-studio-franchise. Yep, with Spider-Man 3 right around the corner, legions of devoted fans have hunkered down to fill message boards, chat rooms and rumor mills with the leaked scripts and "inside information" that will no doubt postpone the creation of at least seventeen Babylon 5-related 'zines.
While casual Spidey-Fans are content to live life without arguing the merits of wearing a symbiotic alien costume, hardcore fans will continue the debate over who should be the next big baddie. With the Green Goblin and Doc Ock checked off the list (in Spider-Man 1 and 2, respectively), the time is nearing for another villain (or villains) from Spidey’s rogue gallery to get the big screen treatment from Sony. Let’s look at the front runners:
Green Goblin II
Comic Origin: Once Peter Parker's college roommate and best friend, Harry turned to drugs as a result of the pressures placed on him by his demanding father (the original GG). After falling off the wagon during an attempted recovery and witnessing Spider-Man kill his father, Harry snaps just in time to discover Peter's secret identity. With help from both a modified Goblin formula and hallucinations of his psychotic dead father, Harry makes it his goal to destroy Spider-Man.
Movie Status: Appears in Spider-Man 1 and 2 as Harry Osborn. Last seen discovering his father's costume and cache of weapons.
Comic Status: Died as a result of an unknown side effect of the Goblin formula after blowing up the Osborne mansion in an attempt to kill Spider-Man.
Probability: The end of Spider-Man 2 makes it a lock that Harry Osborn will show up as a variant of the the Green Goblin much sooner than later in the Spidey franchise. He's the clear favorite for Spider-Man 3.
Comic Origin: While in space, Spider-Man is given a black alien costume to replace his badly tattered red and blue threads. Soon he discovers that his new costume is actually an alien parasitic symbiote that is trying to control him. Spidey breaks free of the symbiote at the top of a local church's bell tower with the help of high-frequency sound waves.
Meanwhile, journalist Eddie Brock is fired from his job at the Daily Bugle because he falsely identified a villain who was later captured by Spider-Man. His father then disowns him and his wife leaves him, so Brock takes the logical step of climbing to the top of the previously mentioned church tower to pray before committing suicide. There he merges with Spider-Man's cast-off symbiote costume to become a new villain -- Venom. Venom proceeds to continually torment Spider-Man, Mary Jane, and even Aunt May.
Movie Status: Has not yet appeared.
Comic Book Status: After a powerful alien separates him from the symbiote, Eddie Brock disappears. The alien symbiote is thought to be in Alaska...or a Hardee's.
Probability: Since the first film, fanboys have been foaming at the mouth for a big screen treatment of the V-man. And the cheap pop of a doppelganger story is money in Sony's pockets. While we may get a glimpse of Eddie Brock or even a brief cameo in Spider-Man 3, don't count on seeing Venom until after the Goblin storyline wraps up.
Comic Origin: After losing his arm to a blast while treating soldiers in the field, Dr. Curt Conners concocts a serum containing reptilian DNA to regrow the lost limb. Why not, right? Conners is successful in regenerating his arm, with the minor side-effect of turning into a giant mutant lizard when stressed out. The lizard side of Conners eventually gains its own personality and decides to (*yawn*) take over the world with an army of lizards.
Movie Status: Appears in Spider-Man 2 as Peter Parker's college professor.
Comic Status: Conners' estranged wife and kid show up and convince him to seek treatment for his condition after Spider-Man thwarts an attempt to enslave the world using tainted water.
Probability: With Kurt Conners already appearing in Spider-Man 2 (sans hand) as one of Peter Parker's college professors, things look good for a full-blown CG treatment of the half-man, half-reptile baddie. But unless he's playing second fiddle to the Green Goblin or Venom, don't expect to see this guy until at least sequel number 4.
Comic Origin: A near-dead Norman Osborn gains super intelligence and strength while experimenting with his imprisoned business partner's secret formulas. Unfortunately, he also gains a good share of insanity and decides to take control of the criminal underworld under the guise of the Green Goblin.
Movie status: Apparently died in Spider-Man after being impaled by his Goblin Glider. Appears in Spider-Man 2 as one of Harry's hallucinations. Presumed dead, but...
Comic Status: After he was impaled by his glider, Norman Osborn finds that the formula that gave him his super-abilities also gave him uncanny regenerative abilities. He murders a drifter and places the body in the morgue as a stand-in for his own, then hides out in Europe for seven years before returning to destroy any hopes of continuity the Spidey-verse ever hoped to achieve.
Probability: Don't expect to see the original G outside of hallucination form anytime soon, but if the franchise starts lagging after the top tier villains are gone, a second run for Norman could be just what the spider ordered.
Comic Origin: Technician Max Dillon was repairing a downed power line during a thunderstorm when he was struck by lightning. Unlike the average 3,700 lightning-struck people in the United States who are turned to toast every year, Dillon gains the ability to manipulate electricity and has the ultra-original idea of using his newfound skills to perpetrate various criminal activities.
Movie Status: Has not yet appeared.
Comic Book Status: Electro agrees to be fried in an electric chair and emerges with jacked-up powers, only to be stopped by Spider-Man and imprisoned.
Probability: More of a team player than a number one baddie, Electro would fit in nicely with the addition of another heel a la Two Face/Riddler in Batman Forever. (Note: Stuffo does not condone Batman Forever. It is mentioned here for comparative purposes only.)
Chameleon w/ Kraven the Hunter
Comic Origin: As Russian agent during the Cold War, Dmitri Smerdyakov (The Chamelon) used his ability to mimic anyone's face and voice to spy on his American counterparts. In America he uses his talents to fight for the top spot in the New York criminal underworld. The Chameleon enlists the aid of fellow Russian Sergei Kravinoff (Kraven The Hunter) to stop Spider-Man from meddling in his shady dealings. Kraven uses his unmatched hunting skills and exotic elixirs in the never-ending quest to destroy Spider-Man.
Movie Status: Have not yet appeared.
Comic Status: After Kraven defeats Spider-Man and buries him alive, he takes Spidey's identity to prove that he is a better web-spinner. In his new role, Kraven captures the psychopathic rodent Vermin -- a villain Spidey himself was unable to nab. Because of this, Kraven feels he has proven that he is better than the original Spider-Man. Spider-Man eventually crawls out of his makeshift grave, and Kraven decides that this accomplishment restores honor to Spider-Man. Kraven releases Vermin before shooting himself. Since then, the Chameleon has made it his mission to avenge his comrade's death by destroying Spider-Man. Chameleon is currently locked away in an insane asylum after his most recent evil scheme went horribly wrong.
Probability: One of the most popular storylines in the Spidey mythos, Kraven's "last hunt" seems primed for the big screen treatment -- just not anytime soon. If the franchise hits five or six films, this one's as good as wrapped.
Comic Origin: Old crotchety businessman Adrian Toomes decides to have an impromptu manager's meeting when he discovers that his partner has been cheating him out of the profits. During the confrontation with said partner, Toomes discovers that radiation exposure from his experimental electromagnetic flying harness has given him super-human strength. Toomes uses the harness to ransack and rob his former company, then goes on a major crime spree when he realizes how easy it is to outwit the New York police department.
Movie status: Has not yet appeared.
Comic Status: After learning that the radiation from his flying apparatus gave him inoperable cancer, Norman Osborn gives the Vulture a treatment that reverts him to a much younger (and cancer-free) version of himself. The "new" Vulture updates his flying harness with body armor and weapons. He is generally even more ill-tempered than the "old" Vulture.
Probability: Unless the franchise gets up to around Spider-Man 6, it isn't likely that we'll see this old bald buzzard flying around.
Comic Origin: Hollywood stuntman Quentin Beck decides to branch into special effects and gain notoriety by attacking Spider-Man as the costumed villain Mysterio. Through his mastery of smoke, mirrors, and various gasses, Mysterio begins a career full of numerous thrashings at the hands of both Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Movie Status: Has not yet appeared.
Comic Status: Died of self-inflicted gunshot wound after discovering a brain tumor and lung cancer caused by the products that he used throughout many years of attacking Spider-Man.
Probability: Slim. Does anyone really need to see someone in a purple and green costume wear a giant glass dome on his head and shoot gas out of his gloves on the big screen?
Comic Origin: Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson's son John is a promising astronaut who finds an alien gem on a double super-secret trip to the moon. This moonstone attaches to John's throat and causes him to change into a wolf-like beast whenever a full moon is present. Wolfman-like shenanigans ensue.
Movie Status: Appears in Spider-Man 2 (pre-wolf) as an astronaut and Mary Jane Watson's fiancée.
Comic Status: Spider-Man and Curt Conners (sans lizard form) cured Jameson of his transformations. He was recently fired from an asylum for super-powered criminals after several of them escaped.
Probability: Don't expect to see the Man-Wolf on the silver screen -- he's one of the lamest characters to ever come out of the werewolf mythology. It's a safe bet that John Jamseon stays unfurred.
Comic Origin: Bumbling idiot Hubert Carpenter is given the proportionate strength of a walrus after his janitor uncle experiments with stolen technology. Unfortunately, since a walrus is bigger than a man, he is basically slower and weaker than a common walrus. Led down the path of evil by his uncle, The Walrus spends his time getting constantly pounded by the likes of "The Fabulous Frog-Man."
Movie Status: Has not yet appeared.
Comic Status: The Walrus goes down for the count after being tapped in the head by Spider-Man. Presumably incarcerated.
Probability: Unless Joel Schumacher is allowed to helm a Spidey-film, no chance.