“MCU Theory: Sony’s Sinister Six Aren’t Actually Villains”
The Sinister Six is perhaps the most popular villain team in Marvel Comics, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bad guys in Sony’s Marvel Universe. The first Morbius trailer reveals that the Sinister Six is part of Sony’s plan for the future, and the characters Sony has to work with could be a sign that the studio will send the iconic villain team in a completely different direction than what’s expected of them.
The Sinister Six first appeared in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, when six of Spider-Man’s biggest enemies – Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, Vulture, and Electro – united to take down the wall-crawler. Over the years, the lineup for the group has gone through numerous realignments, with characters like Lizard, Scorpion, and Hobgoblin also serving as members at one time or another. The common denominator for most incarnations of the Sinister Six is a close connection to Spider-Man. Typically, Sinister Six members are iconic foes of the character.
This isn’t Sony’s first attempt to build the Sinister Six. Years ago, Sony planned on using villains introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to lead into Sinister Six, which had a November 2016 release date. The film may have included characters like Vulture, Rhino, Kraven, and Green Goblin. Plans for the movie and all other installments in the franchise fell through when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell short of expectations. Its universe officially came to an end when Marvel and Sony reached a deal that would bring Spider-Man into the MCU. This created a new pathway for the Sinister Six to appear in live-action, and now, it may finally be happening.
Talk of the Sinister Six appearing in the MCU heated up when Vulture (Michael Keaton), Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine), and Scorpion (Michael Mando) appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming. All three are classic Spider-Man villains who felt like good fits for an MCU adaptation of the Sinister Six. Another sign that Marvel could be in the early stages of creating the Sinister Six occurred in the mid-credits scene when Scorpion asked Vulture about Spider-Man’s identity and mentioned other criminals who wanted to get back at Spider-Man. Scorpion’s idea of criminals teaming up to get revenge on Spider-Man is exactly what motivated the original Sinister Six in the comics.
The next meaningful step to bringing the Sinister Six to the big screen happened at the end of the Morbius trailer when Vulture made a shocking cameo. Vulture remarked to Morbius (Jared Leto), “Tired of doing the whole good guy thing, huh? What’s up, doc?” Vulture’s appearance in the trailer confirmed that Sony’s Marvel movies exist in the MCU and teased the formation of the Sinister Six. Why would Vulture approach Morbius at all, if not to recruit him for something? This is, of course, the most obvious reason, and perhaps also the most likely. Vulture is building a team and wants Morbius to be a part of it. But what’s the purpose of this team, and who else will be on it?
If Sony is working toward the Sinister Six, they’ve already revealed two of its members: Morbius and Vulture. Venom feels like a safe bet as well, considering that he’s the character who launched Sony’s Marvel Universe. Aside from Spider-Man, he’s their most popular character, and his movie made an impressive $856 million at the worldwide box office. Other potential recruits include Scorpion, Mysterio (who may have faked his death in Spider-Man: Far From Home), and an unrevealed villain from Spider-Man: Homecoming 3, who may or may not be Kraven the Hunter.
What do the characters the Sinister Six may already have say about who will be make up the rest of the roster? Venom and Morbius fit a similar mold. Both are dark characters who operate in morally grey areas. Neither are necessarily good nor evil. The comic book version of Vulture is a villain through and through, but the MCU’s is a bit more nuanced and could fit in with Venom and Morbius. Characters who may work with what Sony is going for with the Sinister Six are classic Spider-Man villain Lizard, the Native American werecat Puma, and Man-Wolf, an astronaut who turns into a werewolf.
Traditionally, the Sinister Six form to fight Spider-Man, but this doesn’t have to be their reason for banding together in the movies. As noted earlier, Scorpion asked Vulture about Spider-Man’s identity. Vulture’s response provides some insight into where his mind is at this point in his life. His decision not to expose Peter Parker is a sign of integrity, and an indication that Vulture isn’t holding a grudge. If Vulture doesn’t have a vendetta against Spider-Man, it makes sense that he may have some other reason for bringing them together that doesn’t involve Spider-Man.
It’s worth noting that Morbius wouldn’t have any reason to join up with him if fighting Spider-Man was their goal. Sony’s Morbius isn’t an enemy of Spider-Man, nor is he likely to be a full-fledged villain. Morbius is usually depicted as a misunderstood character whose monstrous appearance and thirst for blood leads him into conflict. Morbius is more of an antihero than a villain. The same is true for another potential Sinister Six recruit, Venom. In Venom, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) bonds with a symbiote who enjoys eating humans, but Brock tries to convince the creature not to eat innocent people. So, while Venom isn’t in the same class of “hero” as Spider-Man or Captain America, he’s not a villain either. Venom better fits the definition of an antihero.
Antiheroes may be where Sony is heading with its Sinister Six plan. Sony may not want to use them as villains unless they’re the antagonists of a movie, and suddenly turning protagonists like Morbius and Venom into antagonists may not be what Sony intends for their characters. Instead, they may be building toward a team-up movie centered around the Sinister Six. As for how they’ll be portrayed, Venom and what’s been seen so far from Morbius can set the pattern for what kind of team they’ll be. As characters who have no qualms about killing, they won’t be the Avengers by any means, but they can still take down other threats, just like Venom does in his first solo movie, and as he’s expected to do in Venom 2 when he faces off against Carnage. This will let them keep the “Sinister” in Sinister Six, but also allow them to be a team that audiences can root for.
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