Ever since the famous rights deal was struck between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios last February fans have been waiting patiently for the long-anticipated introduction of the iconic web-slinger Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we're just counting down the days now until Captain America: Civil War releases and debuts Tom Holland as our first MCU Spidey.
"I think Spider-Man can serve great purpose in our universe and that's where he belongs" said Marvel's Kevin Feige last year in what may be the understatement of the century. In a lot of ways Spider-Man is Marvel's poster-child and his introduction to the MCU should prove a well needed breath of fresh air for the franchise as it nears its eight birthday this May.
Though the studio is obviously keen to integrate Spider-Man into the wider universe and get him out there bouncing off the Avengers, Feige has stated that their number one priority is to get him established as a standalone character - presumably as a means to differentiate from the Sony Pictures Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Following his [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) introduction the first order of business will be getting Spider-Man out there with his own engrossing narrative, established stomping ground and villains. Speaking of villains... Whilst the rights agreement was awesome news for Marvel and Spider-Man fans it did cast a pallor across certain other plans - namely Drew Goddard's planned Sinister Six feature, which was initially set for release Nov 11, 2016.
The Sinister Six
The Sinister Six are a group of supervillains who have existed in The Amazing Spider-Man comics since the early 60s, first led by Doctor Octopus. Doc Oc, getting a bit pissed off that Spider-Man kept kicking his ass, decided to stage a villainous get-together of everyone who's ever fought the web-slinger.
Only Vulture, Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, and Sandman respond to his summons though, and the six form the Sinister Six in order to defeat Spidey, at which they continuously fail, mainly cause they're too busy bickering about who gets to be the one to kill the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
Kraven the Hunter later gets swapped out with Hobgoblin and by the time Civil War rolls around the group is shown to consist of Doc Oc, Grim Reaper, Lizard, Shocker, Trapster and Vulture.
Many other villains like Venom, Beetle, Green Goblin, Chameleon, Lizard, Hydro-Man, Shocker, Hammerhead, Boomerang and Tombstone have also been involved in the group throughout it's history, so there's huge scope for villainous involvement in a cinematic adaptation here.
'The Sinister Six' Feature Film
Drew Goddard, who was on board to write and direct The Sinister Six hasn't given up hope though; speaking in a recent IGN interview he compared the pre-production process to his previous directorial feature The Cabin in the Woods.
"It’s a long game. [Sinister Six] could still happen. It's certainly not going to happen soon… but I've learned, look - "Cabin in the Woods" we went into bankruptcy and [it] had to stay on the shelf for a couple of years. It's OK."
Sinister Six sounds like it has the potential to become a great movie, and it could well be made to tie in with the MCU continuity if the Sony / Marvel deal allows for this, even though Goddard has made it clear in interviews that continuity isn't his first priority.
Rather he envisions a "summer annual" version of Spider-Man - a story outside of any wider continuity and so allowed scope to be an epic stand-alone rather than having to worry about connecting with narrative strands from all the other films.
"You didn't have to worry about continuity. It was just, 'We take Peter, put him on an adventure, we put him back in his life.' It was the giant, epic Spider-Man movie of my dreams."
Could It Work?
Sinister Six could well be Sony and Marvel's answer to the wildly anticipated Suicide Squad, especially if the villainous DC blockbuster performs as well as it's expected to. At the very least we know there's a current market for villain development in the fandom.
It could also provide plenty of opportunities to spin off supervillain characters into films further down the lines rather than having to tie up the screen-time of the Spider-Man film (or films) by introducing a new villain each time.
The best comic book villains are usually the reoccurring nemesis', and though it can get boring if you over-saturate the movies with just one central antagonist the fan reception to Marvel's Loki (Tom Hiddleston) proves that the formula works here too.
Spider-Man villains also have a habit of rubbing up against other superheroes, particularly Daredevil in the case of the classic Sinister Six members. Though we haven't seen a huge amount of explict crossover between the film and TV sides of the MCU yet it wouldn't be a stretch to move a Sinister Six villain into Daredevil's peripherals, again should the Sony / Marvel deal extend to this.
It's also worth noting that Goddard is credited as the creator of Marvel's flagship Netflix show Daredevil as well as being the writer of several episodes, so he understands the landscape there better than anyone.
Of course all this is all just conjecture stemming from Goddard's comments on the matter. Given the current MCU schedule and build up we probably won't see a Sinister Six film for a long while yet, if we do at all, but whilst Sony have pulled it from release to make way for 2017's Untitled Spider-Man film they haven't yet pulled it from development altogether, which is something.