The best part about Spider-Man's immense rogues' gallery is that producers can still find fascinating antagonists to single out as on-screen villains without repeating themselves, even after six existing Spider-Man movies. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and the wizards at Marvel Comics gave Spidey plenty of interesting adversaries over the years, and a number of them have had their time to shine in a movie-geared spotlight -- from Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and the Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) to the Vulture (Michael Keaton) and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).
There's a sequel to Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming in development over at Marvel Studios (in association with Sony), and Tom Holland will be back in the web-slinger's suit... strange, seeing as how we saw Peter Parker fade away at the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War. Still, the show must go on -- somehow -- and the rumor currently exists that the villain standing in Spidey's way will be none other than Mysterio. The trades say Watts wants Jake Gyllenhaal for the role, and that Mysterio will share the screen with a returning Michael Keaton, reprising his part of The Vulture. So, who is Mysterio? And what do you need to know about him before the sequel opens in July 2019? Read on to find out.
There actually have been four different versions of Mysterio over the years, but the classic take on the character -- and the one that we are assuming will be used in the Spider-Man sequel -- is Quentin Beck. He appeared in issue No. 13 of The Amazing Spider-Man, dating back to 1964, and he owes his origin story to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (titans of the early Marvel storytelling methods).
If the Marvel Studios producers decided to go with an alternate version -- meaning, not Quentin Beck -- they would probably opt for Daniel Berkhart, the second Mysterio who appeared on the scene in 1975, in issue #141 of The Amazing Spider-Man. Berkhart was the prison cell mate of Quentin Beck, and assumed the Mysterio persona at Beck's request. So it might seem odd for the MCU interpretation to start there, which is basically why we are placing our money on Beck showing up in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (which likely will not be called that when it gets its official title).
As was usually the case with Spider-Man's earliest villains, Mysterio is a normal person with a souped up suit -- not a mutant, nor a super-powered cosmic being. Quentin Beck was a Hollywood stuntman and special effects wizard who was also a failed actor. Frustrated by show business constantly turning him down, Beck decided to use the tricks he picked up on film sets to develop into a master criminal.
In addition to being a skilled stuntman, Mysterio has mastered the art of hypnosis, and relies very heavily on illusions to disorient his targets. His traps for Spider-Man usually were very elaborately staged, with mirrors and manipulative hallucinogens being deployed at different intervals to keep Spider-Man (and, later, Daredevil) off of their toes.
Mysterio, without question, has the most memorable costume in the Spider-Man comics (with Kraven the Hunter's wide-open, chest-bearing vest as a close second). As has been pointed out by Spidey on multiple occasions, Mysterio wears a helmet that looks like an upside down fishbowl. It's one-way glass, meaning that Quentin Beck -- or whomever is standing in as Mysterio at the time -- can see out, but the adversary can not see in. The helmet also has built-in sonar technology to allow him to navigate through the smokescreens that he usually creates.
The rest of Mysterio's costume, over the years, has been a vivid green leotard and a dark purple cape that stretches down to his feet. Beneath the helmet, and as part of the cape, Mysterio usually has two "eyes" that often release a toxin that disrupts Spider-Man's senses. Mysterio also wears gold gloves and large gauntlets around his wrists. These, too, often shoot sparks or emit smoke so that the villain can disappear into a cloud -- a classic magician's gag. And finally, Mysterio's boots tend to have coil springs that allow him to perform large jumps. These abilities allow him to spar with the super-powered Spider-Man, but it's worth remembering that he's a normal man relying on parlor tricks, not a powerful being himself.
Over the years, Mysterio has been a popular member of The Sinister Six, a team of Spider-Man villains who often put their differences aside and try to overwhelm the friendly neighborhood superhero by hitting him with all that they got. This never works, and Spider-Man always figures out ways to defeat the adversaries. But the Sinister Six, in the past, has included such members as Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman and Mysterio.
Sony wanted to do Sinister Six movie back when Andrew Garfield was in the Spidey suit. If you recall, at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn was setting the wheels in motion for the formation of this group.
There's the possibility, with Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) in place, that the MCU is working to establish the members of The Sinister Six. They have a Shocker, and they teased a Scorpion (Better Call Saul's Michael Mando) in the closing credits of Spider-Man: Homecoming. So the groundwork could be laid for a new version of that villainous team, with Michael Keaton and Jake Gyllenhaal teaming up against Tom Holland.
In the comics, Mysterio moved on from tormenting Spider-Man to turn his attentions toward Daredevil. And in a limited-edition run written by Kevin Smith, titled Guardian Devil, Mysterio almost succeeded in driving the Man Without Fear crazy by convincing him that a baby who was in his car was the Antichrist. It'd be a huge win if the Marvel movies could use Mysterio as a gateway for allowing Charlie Cox to bring his Daredevil character over from the Marvel Netflix programs to the MCU.
We will know if we are any closer to this becoming a reality when Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 reaches theaters on July 5, 2019.