Instead of the “Fearsome Five” – okay, Internet journalism that’s too much crossover kablooie for even this Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios collaboration to handle, after all this isn’t an Amalgam Universe – Marvel Cinematic Universe fans almost got to see the Sinister Six in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie kicked off immediately after Spider-Man: Far From Home, beginning with Daily Bugle (and Silk’s Threats and Menaces) editor J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) revealing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Thanks to recently released concept art, it seems as if there was a version of the film that included the return of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio, who would have been the sixth member of the Sinister Six.
After years of rumors and speculation, to absolutely no one’s surprise unless they lived under a cobweb, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield made their triumphant return to the live-action Spider-verse. With several early leaks showing images of the two actors’ return and with the film now watched by millions all over the world, Marvel is starting to roll out some official images of all three Spideys in costume to keep the film’s box office showings strong. Although the success of the Spider-Man: No Way Home was jokingly blamed by SNL for contributing to the rising rates in COVID-19 cases across America, and faulted by some critics for the way it handled some of the Peter Parker-verse’s biggest mistakes like the perpetual fridging of strong female characters like Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) to bring about emotional development for the male hero’s return, fans have continued to thwip up tickets to Spider-Man: No Way Home theatrical showings across the world.
As the story of the film goes, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends don’t get into college because of fake news planted by Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio; i.e., the leaked footage that J. Jonah Jameson shows to a terrified Times Square at the beginning of Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, Parker doesn’t appeal the decision like a typical senior in high school. Instead, he asks Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to blow open the doors of the multiverse to fix a problem that many 18-year-olds with means face upon graduating from high school: not getting into the college of your choice.
But Where Are the Sinister Six?
Doctor Strange doesn’t ask Parker if he appealed the college’s decision, the former Sorcerer Supreme just says yes to the young, naive hero’s request. Attempting to cast a spell to make everyone forget Spider-Man, things go terribly wrong and Spider-Man heroes and villains from across the Marvel Multiverse began to enter the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everybody from Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock to Jamie Foxx’s Electro to Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard appeared in the story before the three Spider-Men cured them and sent them back to their worlds. As more villains were announced as part of the cast, the idea of the Sinister Six in the MCU seemed like a real possibility—although the supervillain team didn’t appear to make the final cut.
But new concept art from Andrew Reeder shows that there was a version of Spider-Man: No Way Home that did include the Sinister Six, including Mysterio, who were introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with lettering by S. Rosen, when Spidey has to save his Aunt May and Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant from the six super villain’s sinister machinations. Although it’s unclear how involved Mysterio was in the original plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the recently released concept art shows a version of the movie that at least included Beck at the film’s final fight at the Statue of Liberty.
Reeder released the Spider-Man: No Way Home concept art on his own art site and profile that shows Mysterio using similar powers to Spider-Man: Far From Home. The artist’s personal page also included other designs and behind-the-scenes looks at the Peter Parkers’ Three adventure. See the photo of Mysterio’s return in the Culture Cave tweet below: