Filming is soon to start on the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, and the latest news is that Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to play the film's villain - Mysterio. It's the first concrete news about the sequel, which will be set after the events of Avengers 4, and introduce viewers to the post-Phase 3 MCU.
There's a sense of irony to this news, given Gyllenhaal was once in talks to suit up as Spider-Man himself; he was considered as a replacement for Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. Homecoming saw Michael Keaton as the Vulture, so Marvel's Spider-Man films seem to be turning a lot of heroes into villains!
Right now, next-to-nothing is known about Mysterio's role in the Spider-Man sequel. While Homecoming was set in New York and Washington DC, the sequel will see Tom Holland's Spider-Man travel the globe. In addition to Mysterio, the film is expected to feature a mysterious "femme fatale," whose identity has been unconfirmed to this date. But who is Mysterio, and why is Marvel considering Gyllenhaal for the role?
- This Page: Mysterio Is Ideal For Spider-Man 2
- Page 2: Why Gyllenhaal Is The Perfect Casting Pick For Mysterio
Who is Mysterio?
Quentin Beck is a classic Spider-Man villain, a special-effects wizard who dreamed of making his name in Hollywood. He became one of the industry's most accomplished special effects designers, but hungered for more, and grew increasingly frustrated at the perceived lack of recognition. Beck's life of crime truly began when a friend joked that he'd only really become famous if he took out one of those spandex-clad superheroes. That particular piece of advice led Beck to create the identity of Mysterio, and he became one of Spider-Man's most enduring opponents.
It's amusingly appropriate for Mysterio to make his big-screen debut in the Homecoming sequel. Sam Raimi intended to introduce both Mysterio and the Vulture in Spider-Man 4, plans that were ditched when Sony instead decided to reboot the franchise, launching Andrew Garfield's Amazing Spider-Man movies instead. Marvel has already introduced the Vulture in the first film, and now they're adding Mysterio into the mix.
It will certainly be fascinating to see how Marvel adapt Mysterio for the MCU. The villain is a master of illusion, and only Spider-Man's famous spider-sense allows him to work out what's real and what's not when Mysterio is around. Homecoming didn't use Spider-Man's spider-sense at all, although it was certainly present in Avengers: Infinity War; the film featured a stunning sequence in which Peter Parker sensed the arrival of Thanos's Q-Ship. Mysterio's costume may well be heavily modified for the films, given his traditional "goldfish-bowl" appearance is hardly a threatening look.
Why Mysterio Is Perfect for the Spider-Man Homecoming Sequel
Spider-Man is famous for having one of the best-developed Rogues' Galleries in comics, second only to Batman. The great thing about Spider-Man's villains is that they are all real, three-dimensional characters in their own right, ordinary men and women whose motives are easy to understand. Spider-Man: Homecoming kicked things off in the MCU with the Vulture, a bitter blue-collar worker who had fallen into a life of crime due to being frustrated with the way the world works. There are thematic similarities between Vulture's arc and Mysterio's, allowing Marvel to play the two villains off against one another.
It's important to note that Mysterio and the Vulture typically move in the same circles. In fact, both have strong connections to the Tinkerer, who in the movies has been a member of the Vulture's gang and was still a free man at the end of Homecoming. That makes the introduction of Mysterio a logical, organic development in the Spider-Man franchise. During one comic book arc, the Tinkerer helped Mysterio pretend to be an alien. Given the world will be understandably hyper-conscious of alien beings in the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, it would hardly be surprising to see Mysterio actually use that approach in order to cause as much fear as possible.
Alongside the Gyllenhaal reports, Michael Keaton's Vulture is confirmed to return in the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, and that raises another exciting possibility; the film really could be setting up an MCU version of the Sinister Six. Spider-Man's deadliest enemies have long tended to team together, and attentive viewers noted that Homecoming introduced several of them; the Vulture, the Scorpion, and the Shocker. Mysterio makes a fourth member of the Sinister Six to appear in an MCU Spider-Man film, indicating a likely direction of travel for the film series. It's unclear who the other members of the Sinister Six could be, although that "femme fatale" is certainly a possibility. In the comics, Aaron Davis - a.k.a. the Prowler - has recently led a version of the team; he, too, was introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so could easily become one of the MCU's Sinister Six.
Why Gyllenhaal is Ideal for Mysterio
A talented actor, Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to genre films. He cut his teeth on films like October Sky and Donnie Darko, with the latter earning him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. Gyllenhaal's career has included a few stumbles, receiving heavy criticism for his work in Southpaw, but he's shone in movies like Brokeback Mountain, Source Code, and Stronger. At his best, Gyllenhaal is able to portray a truly three-dimensional character; he knows how to emote, how to evoke sympathy, and how to win viewers over to his side. Spider-Man: Homecoming presented Marvel's first truly relatable villain, and Gyllenhaal's Mysterio could easily continue that.
At the same time, Gyllenhaal is no stranger to action roles, playing in fantastical action films like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Source Code. That experience is ideally suited to the superhero genre, as it will translate into an understanding of just what the stunt choreographers want him to do. No doubt Gyllenhaal will perform well alongside Michael Keaton's Vulture, and the dynamic between the bad guys is sure to be a key point of excitement for the film.
Gyllenhaal is known for his commitment to the roles. He starved himself to skeletal levels for Nightcrawler, and bulked up dramatically for Southpaw. He's one of those actors whose performances really should merit an Oscar, but it somehow hasn't quite ever happened in spite of his commitment. Superhero movies don't tend to be award-winning, but they do sometimes demand a great deal from their actors - as Hugh Jackman could testify. No doubt Gyllenhaal will be prepared to go to any lengths to create a stunning Mysterio for the big screen.
The Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel will reportedly deal with the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, so it's going to be fascinating to see how Marvel adapts Mysterio to suit the context of the MCU. There's certainly a sense of irony in having a failed Hollywood special effects designer as the main villain in a superhero film, given the demands this genre typically puts on special effects! Should Gyllenhaal go for the role, Marvel is guaranteed to have a commanding performance.