With Captain America: Civil War not set for release for almost a year, and Marvel and Sony's collaborative Spider-Man reboot not until July 2017, there's very little chance that the endless stream of Spider-rumors that's currently engulfing the web is going to end any time soon.
It's fortunate then that a large proportion of those plot and casting murmurings aren't merely blind speculation, but instead the byproduct of actual interviews with key figures involved in Spidey's immediate cinematic future.
Take, for instance, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige's latest comments regarding Spidey's forthcoming solo movie, in which he revealed to BirthMoviesDeath that:
We're Going to See Some Brand New (to the Big Screen) Spider-Man Villains in the New Spider-Movie
Or, at least, that's what Feige very much seems to have planned at the moment. After all, when asked whether he was planning on bringing back any familiar villains, Feige was pretty emphatic in his response, both emphasizing the advantage in Spider-Man's 'deep bench' of rogues, and confirming that:
"Right now we’re interested in seeing villains we haven’t seen before."
Which, from the sounds of it, means not only that we're going to see more than one villain, but that the ne'er-do-wells in question are likely to be Spider-foes who have yet to hit the big screen.
Just Who Will Those Villains Be, Though?
Well, it's notable that Feige also had some pretty intriguing things to say about the nature of the movie's tone and content, adding that when it comes to Spider-Man:
"It’s the soap opera in high school, and those supporting characters, that are interesting...Just as we hadn’t seen a heist movie in a long time, or a shrinking movie in a long time, we haven’t seen a John Hughes movie in a long time. Not that we can make a John Hughes movie - only John Hughes could - but we’re inspired by him, and merging that with the superhero genre in a way we haven’t done before excites us."
Which, as it turns out, might just refine the list of villains we're likely to see. After all, awesome as the likes of bloody villains like Carnage or Morbius are, they're also not a natural fit for that John Hughes-sort-of-vibe that Feige is describing.
Instead, it seems more likely that - much like with the rest of the MCU - Feige et al may look to Marvel's Ultimate comics, and in particular Brian Michael Bendis' acclaimed Ultimate Spider-Man, for inspiration. After all, the Ultimate Marvel Universe has a real John Hughes-sort-of-feel to it, and showcased a couple of classic Spider-villains who could work well in the kind of movie Feige is describing, including:
Whichever version of The Vulture was to end up on screen (The Ultimate version, Blackie Drago, is notably different to the mainstream comics' Dr. Adrian Toomes) you'd have to imagine that a movie version would incorporate the original's age-altering nature, as well as the classic winged costume. After all, nothing says "John Hughes" quite like an oppressive older authority figure who just doesn't understand what it's like to be young...
Alternatively, of course, we could see:
Now, it eventually turned out that the Ultimate Mysterio was actually just an android created by the mainstream Marvel villain, in an attempt to take over the Ultimate Earth - but the character's appeal still stands. After all, any villain that can create sophisticated illusions is likely to prove intensely cinematic - as well as appropriately challenging (yet relatively small scale) for a teenaged Spidey. There're potential metaphors to be delved into when it comes to teenage angst and disillusionment with the "adult" world, too...
Possibly the most perfectly suited villain for the task of tormenting a teenage Spidey, though?
Kraven the Hunter
The original mainstream Kraven was awesome enough - and has played his part in his fair share of iconic Spider-stories - but the Ultimate Kraven took that to a whole new level. Rather than being a mysterious hunter with a complex backstory, he's there a reality TV star, who decides to hunt down Spider-Man as part of his show. Now, not only would that make for a great - and unusual - movie plot line, but Kraven's eventual, very public, defeat at the hands of Spidey was a defining moment in the public beginning to see Spider-Man for what he was: a hero.
And, honestly, if that wouldn't make a great, simple ending for the movie, I don't know what would. As Feige himself pointed out:
"Particularly at that age, in high school, everything feels like life or death. The tests feel like life or death. Coming home from being out with your friends seemed like life or death."
A straightforward, low-powered, yet deadly villain like Kraven, then, could be the perfect option for the Spider-Man Feige and co. are setting out to bring to life.
What do you reckon, though?