The majority of #Marvel superhero films feature just the one supervillain, maybe two at the most. However, Spider-Man: Homecoming looks set to absolutely smash that rule. With the Vulture confirmed, a likely appearance by the Shocker, and Logan Marshall-Green's (supposedly villainous) character yet to be announced, Spider-Man looks to be in for a tough time. Not least because Michael Chernus - of Orange is the New Black fame - has just been cast as the Tinkerer!
Who is the Tinkerer?
Some supervillain names are absolutely chilling. Venom is a classic; just the name gives a sense of dark power, of poisonous toxins flowing through your body, and of a deadly snake-bite. Other supervillain names are a bit less effective, and 'The Tinkerer' is one of them.
In the comics, the Tinkerer is a genius - possibly on a par with Tony Stark, in his own whimsical way. At times he's tried to use this genius to start a life of crime, but he's always tended to be a low-level villain really; one of his most nefarious acts was to bug a number of corrupt politicians and blackmail them. Meanwhile, whenever he's exposed he tends to flee - sometimes in the most bizarre way. When #SpiderMan first confronted him, the Tinkerer used a pretend flying saucer to try to convince Spidey he was actually an alien!
More often than not, though, the Tinkerer is a go-to-guy for the criminal classes. He's the genius who works on supervillain tech, ranging from the Scorpion's tail to Mysterio's bubble-headed outfit. He'll often create a cool piece of tech, and then hold an auction to see who can pay the most for it. Incredibly, the Tinkerer even managed to get hold of the Venom symbiote for one of the auctions!
Why Would Marvel Add the Tinkerer?
As we know from Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man's been introduced to the Avengers, and he has a wealthy benefactor in the form of Tony Stark. Given that a large number of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery depend on advanced technology and gadgetry, it makes sense to introduce the Tinkerer - probably as a background villain - who resources the city's would-be supervillains.
The Vulture is already confirmed as the main villain for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it looks likely that the Shocker's going to crop up as well. The Tinkerer could easily be contracted by both the Vulture and the Shocker, giving them the advanced science they need to take on the Wall-Crawler. It's also likely that this involves the manipulation of Chitauri technology, giving a nice throughline from 2012's The Avengers. After all, the Item 47 one-shot proved just how dangerous this tech could be!
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It's seeming likely that the plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming carries some nods to the unused Sam Raimi script for Spider-Man 4. This film was planned to open with a montage of Spidey dealing with a number of C- and D-list supervillains, before moving on to the main supervillain of the film - the Vulture. It's a smart approach, because it cements Tom Holland's Spider-Man as already being one very busy superhero. The Tinkerer could be used as the man outfitting these many street-level supervillains.
Does Marvel Have Long-Term Plans for the Tinkerer?
Phases 1 and 2 of the MCU have had a major villain problem. It's not just the fact the supervillains have rarely received the same quality of characterization as the superheroes; there's also the fact that most of the supervillains have tended to die in the movie they're introduced in. It should come as no surprise that Loki is indisputably the fan-favorite MCU villain; he's the only one who's survived long enough to get some character development. However, Daniel Brühl's Baron Zemo was, to my mind, a dramatic shift for Marvel; he came out alive, and may well eventually lead us into the MCU version of the Thunderbolts.
In the same way, the Tinkerer is a powerful resource. He could easily be a background character who enables the creation of the Sinister Six, outfitting a team of supervillains with advanced technology. It may even be that - as part of Marvel and Sony's desire to build a Spider-Man corner of the MCU - the Sinister Six movie is back on the radar.
Marvel's Secret War miniseries eventually revealed that the Tinkerer was funded by foreign governments, who were illegally supporting him in order to undermine the US - and keep the superheroes busy. In the comics, the culprit was Latveria, and Nick Fury retaliated by launching an illegal strike on Latverian soil. He persuaded a bunch of superheroes to help out, then wiped their memories, a strategy that worked right up until Latveria's counter-strike. I'm not saying that I expect the films to eventually reproduce this arc; after all, the movie rights to Latveria sit with Fox (the nation is traditionally ruled by Doctor Doom). But an adaptation of this plot could be a very interesting one, and I can't help wondering just what Marvel Studios would make of it.
As you can see, the casting of the Tinkerer may be surprising - but it's also tremendously valuable, giving the MCU supervillains a genius of their own. If the Tinkerer's involved, Spider-Man and his allies are going to have their hands full!
Are you excited to see the Tinkerer enter the MCU? Let me know in the comments- and be sure to check out or video of the 10 best times Spidey saved the day! (Plot twist: It involves a lot of falling damsels in distress!)