Nic's Picks for a Spiderverse
24 Characters for Sony’s Cinematic Spider-Verse
Last time, I talked about the movies Sony wanted to make, this month I’ll discuss the movies and elements I think they should incorporate. Since these are even more hypothetical than Sony’s current plans, I’m going to be as brief as possible when it comes to the other characters.
The Inheritors are a group of immortal, vampiric tools, created by John Michael Straczynski as part of an attempt to incorporate more “spider mythology” to Spider-Man, with Morlun serving as the leader of these jerks. In the comics they focused mainly on people with Spider powers, but for the movies they can target the characters with an animal gimmick, like Doc Ock, Morbius, etc. They would mainly serve as the HYDRA of the Spider-Verse and the overarching threat...at first. After all, there are Spider-Man characters that don’t have an animal motif.
Knull, God of the Symbiotes
Knull is the Celestial being who created the symbiotes, whom he can bend to his will. In the comics, it was so he could kill Celestials, god-like beings in the Marvel Universe (like Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). For the movies, I would tie Knull closer to The Inheritors, they’re the ones he wants to kill. Make Knull “something of a loser” like Venom, someone who doesn’t belong, and now wants everyone to belong as one single being.
Tempting as it maybe to just do Evil Iron Man with Norman Osborn, I’m far more interested in having Harry Osborn take up the role and having the movie play out as a dark reflection of a Spider-Man story. Though that’s not to say Harry gets all the action...
Focus on the explots of young Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn trying to start up their own company in the 70s, deciding whether it’s main focus should be robotics (Ock’s goal) or biology (Osborn’s goal). The only thing I ask for is that in this continuity, Octavius wins, gets to be the Tony Stark of his universe, and send Norman/Green Goblin into exile. For once, Octavius comes out on top.
The most noteworthy plot I’ve seen tried with The Lizard is his attempts to turn people into lizards because he thinks the regenerative properties of lizard DNA is the next stage of human evolution. I say, let him win, then see what a city of Lizard-people would look like.
Aleksi Sytseyvich carries potential of combining immigration, Quasimodo (he’s an innocent wanting love but others see him as a freak), and “Flowers for Algernon” all into one story (the suit originally made Rhino smarter the more he wore it, there’s even a storyline called “Flowers for Rhino”).
Hippo is an actual Hippo given sentience (for a movie, either by Lizard or Inheritors shenanigans). I see Hippo and Rhino becoming good friends
If either the MCU is done with Vulture or Into the Spider-Verse sells people on multiple versions of a character, I can see Vulture as a quasi-Captain America character, a WWII soldier in charge of an experimental flight harness, surviving for years on a island. Honestly, I just really want to see a birdman fight a nazi made out of bees.
Herman Schultz is a guy who wears a bright yellow costume a wears gauntlets that fire powerful concussive blasts at anyone who looks at him funny. Shocker is such a cool villain that even awful Hollywood person Max Landis wrote a fanfic about him. That’s not me saying you need to green light Shocker Legit, just that the character is more than a guy who punches things really hard like in the MCU. For a guy who loves doing crime and has an easily mockable costume, Shocker lends himself to the dark comedy equivalent of Ant-Man. And if Marvel won’t let Sony use Shocker, maybe they can use Clash, a recent character who utilizes vaguely similar sonic capabilities.
What’s fascinating about Max Dillon is that exactly how his powers work truly varies from depiction to depiction. Sometimes he’s just a guy in a silly costume like in the regular comics, sometimes he wears the suit to keep his powers in control like in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, and sometimes he’s a being of pure, blue energy with complete control of his powers in the Ultimate comics. You could easily have a trilogy focus on each depiction and how he reacts & copes from all these changes in his life.
Payback is a recently invented Symbiote creation, being something of a white sheep of the alien race. Rather than being a lumbering goo monster, the Payback symbiote covers its user in a sleek, silvery purple, and draws its power from positive emotions instead of negative ones. I imagine she could fit quite well with Electro’s identity crisis, especially if she needs the symbiote to function “normally.
I know Mysterio is going to be facing off against Spider-Man in the MCU 2019, but I’m very married to the idea of Mysterio acting as this Phantom of the Opera-type character on a superhero movie set, seeking revenge for perceived wrongs set against him (think of a Spider-Verse version of the Supernatural episode “The French Mistake”). Of course, if Sony doesn’t want to use Mysterio again so soon...
Dimitri Smerdyakov is a perfect copycat artist, able to completely mimic anyone he comes in contact with. While he would work very well as a villain of a spy/chase thriller (like in my version of Silver and Black in my last article), it’s also worth exploring the psyche of someone who can perfectly encapsulate any appearance, gender, sexuality, etc, especially if you make it like the 90s show where Chameleon can only speak when he’s disguised. Also, in the comics, Dimitri is good friends with Kraven the Hunter, which also opens possibilities.
Flint Marko has a daughter, yeah? And Hydro-Man is mostly known to 90s kids like me for stalking a young woman, yeah? Well then, why not do Taken but with elemental powers? If the movie does well enough to warrant a sequel, add Molten Man to the mix.
While I love the classic broken cop, serial-killer Sin-Eater,, he’s not going to click with an audience.My idea is to lean into more of the supernatural angle that has been attributed to other Sin-Eaters. Think of it as Death Wish crossed with Hellraiser.
Into the Spider-Verse is set on using the Aaron Davis version of Prowler, the supervillain uncle to Spider-Man Miles Morales, but I still say there’s room for the more classical, heroic, Hobbie Brown version of the character, acting as the Spider-Verse’s black Batman.
Best way to describe Tombstone is “what if Luke Cage was an albino thug for hire.” Thanks to the The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon Tombstone has been shown at Kingpin levels of status/intimidation, so it would be interesting to see him butt heads with other Spider-Man mafiosos like Silvermane or Hammerhead.
Did you know Carnage has a girlfriend? Her name is Frances Barrison, and not only can she manipulate sound into concussive blasts, she can also tap into the darkest parts of a person’s psyche and manipulate people’s emotions. While it would be easy to rope her in as a straight up villain, her design carries a young, punkish, directionless attitude that wouldn’t feel out of place in, say, a coming of age/crime drama type of film. I especially would like it if Shriek’s psionic sound powers makes her immune to being hurt by Carnage, which is why she’s comfortable taking interest in him. Speaking of women in Carnage’s life...
Scorn/Bride of Carnage
Tanis Nieves served as Cletus Kassidy/Carnage’s psychiatrist, eventually coming into contact with the killer and bearing his symbiote’s offspring inside her prosthetic arm, which she bonds with to become Scorn. Since this symbiote grew inside the prosthetic arm, it’s able to fuse with different types of machines. While serving as Carnage’s psychiatrist is interesting, Tanis would also serve well as the “final girl” in a horror movie where Carnage is the killer, trying to cut off her own hand after being infected only for the infection to bond with her and give her a chainsaw hand like in Evil Dead II.
The Fast and the Furious movies have pretty much become superhero movies at this point, so why not base a movie around a character whose power is to literally make vehicles high-powered?
Screwball films the crimes she commits so she can post them to YouTube and get hits. That runs the risk of getting old real quick, but if Screwball were allowed to take traits from Gwenpool (such as a different flavor of meta humor from Deadpool, as well as the ability to regenerate), then you could get into some real satire of the lengths people will go to in order to be famous.
John Jonah Jameson/Man-Wolf
Did you know J. Jonah Jameson has an astronaut son named John (that for the sake of discussion is not the same astronaut at the beginning of Venom)? And that he found a ruby called the “Godstone” on the moon that transformed him into a werewolf like creature? If not his own film, you could easily pit him as an antagonist of Morbius, pitting a “not quite” vampire against a “not quite” werewolf. But if you want to give John something meatier to do...
Venom: Space Knight
Before the recent creation of the Symbiote God Knull, the symbiotes were stated to have been from the planet Klyntar, and had actually sealed Knull away after bonding to noble/honorous hosts, seeking to redeem themselves. Basically, it’s a story where the Devil created life, and life strove to be better than the devil. While Flash Thompson’s incarnation of Venom wound up learning this history and journeying across the cosmos, having adventures across the stars would fit John Jameson’s astronaut background much better. You could even plug Jameson’s character into a similar gladiator situation from Thor Ragnarok as a place he goes to for more answers on the symbiotes origins, only to be roped into battle against colorful characters.
I love Nic Cage’s take on the character, and Spider-Man operating during the Great Depression is an excellent hook for a story, but I’m not sure it adds enough to Peter Parker’s character. I’d argue that Spider-Noir needs his own Miles Morales, perhaps a young chinese kid who’s grandparents who fought tooth and nail to not die while building the Transcontinental Railroad.
If it turns out Sony really needs a Spider character to hold down their universe, I have a pic that would do greatly. No, it’s not Spider-Gwen and or Cindy Moon. It’s Martha “Mattie” Franklin. Mattie is J Jonah Jameson’s nice through marriage, and she is one of the many characters to have taken up the mantle of Spider-Woman. The idea of Spider-Woman having to fight against the smear campaign that the man who adores Mattie Franklin already brings in some pretty good drama, but if you were allowed to mix up the relationships and make Jameson her grandfather, you have the potential of a new classic character. That said, if Sony wants to be less conventional…
This take on the Spider-Man mythos involves Peter turning into a monstrous six-armed creature, and it’s up to Mary Jane Watson to track him down and inspire him to still be a hero. The Spider Tale for a post The Shape of Water world.
Ande there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this countdown to Into the Spider-Verse. Next time, something not Spider-Man related, I promise