After his blistering debut in Captain America: Civil War, fans are now waiting in anticipation for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will expand the web-slingers story within the expanses of the MCU. With the Vulture, the Tinkerer and the Shocker already apparently confirmed as Spidey's villains in one way or another, the latest instalment promises to be an epic corrective to the lacklustre The Amazing Spider-Man films.
Yet, will there be another superhero added into the mix? News has broke that Sony have been buying up any comics that feature Nightwatch, real name Dr Kevin Barry Trench. This is an interesting sign, as when a studio buys up comic books it means that they are looking to develop the character in one of their movies. Now it can't be certain if Nightwatch will feature in this film or the next one, but this is welcome news for friends of the character. But do you know who he is? Let's take a look at the origin of the conflicted superhero.
Nightwatch co-creator Terry Kavanagh says of his character that they wanted him to: "to be a spooky, dark character with a science-fiction background"
With an appearance quite similar to Spawn — who has an upcoming film in development — Nightwatch's story begins in Web Of Spiderman #97. Only known as Trench in this comic, he is a recluse on a Caribbean Island, upon which criminal Alfredo — pretending to be Richard Fisk — has found himself washed up upon. Yet we find there is more to him than meets the eye when Alfredo finds a special glove and runs away with it, leading Trench to face up to his past:
He dons the Nightwatch costume and chases Alfredo down, realising his true identity in the process:
Why He Didn't Want To Wear The Suit
The reason he didn't want to wear the costume is explained in an intriguing prologue. As Dr Kevin Trench, his life was saved by none other than a future version of himself, who then proceeded to die in his arms. His rationale was that by never wearing the suit, he would never have to die — at least not in that way:
Nevertheless, he decides after this episode that he cannot escape his identity, and dons the cape to fight villains such as Flashpoint, Cardiac, Deathmask and Venom. He eventually died in a battle known as "The Great Game" before reappearing in the She-Hulk comics alive and well — no explanation is given of his death — where we learn of his:
Real Identity As Nighteater
In a neat bit of retconning, we learn in the She-Hulk comics that Nightwatch is in fact a massive fraud. Having actually spent most of his adult life as villain Nighteater, he wanted an easy life as a retired superhero and somehow managed to effectively rewrite history that he was D-list superhero Nightwatch. His real identity was eventually found and he was brought to justice.
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Similar to Spawn, Nightwatch has a cape which contains self-replicating nanites, which can heal him and gives him superhero strength. Being able to control his suit with the use of his mere subconscious, it allows him to glide and even sometimes be able to fly. At times it even grows tentacles which are used to wrap around the enemy, or — when he activates 'Warbringer' status — he can use massive weapons to fire upon his foes.
Check Out The Many Times Spider-Man Has Saved The Day:
How He Might Feature In The Films
Nightwatch's origin in the Spider-Man comics is a masterpiece of non-linear narrative, utilising the concept of time travel to create a character whose life is apparently doomed from the start. This 12 Monkeys-type premise sure is beautiful to read on the page, but for a mainstream comic-book movie, and an improbably upbeat Marvel one at that, it may just be a little too ambitious.
Additionally, I suspect that the film will find it difficult to follow the comics exactly due to the way his character begins in media res before we eventually learn his background. Given the complexity of the MCU already, introducing Nightwatch in such a way is only prone to confuse people. And for one thing, they definitely would do well to avoid his real, retconned identity as Nighteater for now, although it could be an interesting way to introduce She-Hulk into the MCU. In terms of how this will all fit together is impossible to tell, as is whether he will play the villain or a fellow superhero, given that his character has been known to be both.
In terms of actors who will play him, given that he's black, and Bokeem Woodbine hasn't been assigned a character yet, it could go to him, but it could also go to another African-American actor. We shall see. I, for one, am excited to see what shall be done with this character.