In this FandomWire Video Essay, we explore why Drew Goddard’s cancelled Sinister Six movie would have been epic
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The Cancelled Sinister Six Movie
Spider-Man has always been one of the crown jewel characters in the Marvel canon, with wide recognition even before its cinematic adaptations. However, unlike most of the Marvel characters, Spidey is not owned by Marvel Studios, which runs the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is independently owned by Sony.
After Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 dematerialized, 2012 brought us a reboot starring Andrew Garfield as the web-slinger, The Amazing Spider-Man, which would be followed quickly by a sequel in 2014.
However, much like Spider-Man 3, which ended up killing the Raimi trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered from the same issue: trying to do too much at once. Trying to cram several villains into one movie made it feel like the film was trying to expand the world too quickly. And the negative word of mouth led to future installments being canceled and Sony partnering with Disney-owned Marvel Studios to dictate the character’s future.
After The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we were set to receive a Sinister Six movie directed by filmmaker Drew Goddard, the filmmaker behind the meta horror-comedy masterpiece The Cabin in the Woods. Goddard had said in interviews that his Sinister Six movie would have the same “punk rock” mentality as his acclaimed debut, but what would that look like?
The team, of course, would have been led by Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin, first seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Rumors were that DeHaan’s Harry Osborn would take the mantle of the Goblin King in the Sinister Six film.
This version of the character appeared in the Superior Spider-Man run of the comics. It was much more powerful than the traditional Green Goblin thanks to his criminal empire, running the Goblin Nation as an alliance of the most powerful supervillains in the world. This was Drew Goddard’s role with the Sinister Six — to make them into a team of powerful supervillains.
The other character set to return in the Sinister Six film was Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, which was, unfortunately, one of the most maligned parts of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, Goddard had reportedly planned to correct the course of the cinematic adaptation of the character.
The version of Rhino we saw in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was primarily inspired by the Ultimate incarnation of the character from the comics. Many fans were disappointed to see that the filmmakers did not go with the more outlandish form of the character — especially since they were already going overboard with Jamie Foxx’s Electro. Perhaps, had we seen the Sinister Six film, we’d have gotten the chance to see the REAL Rhino on the screen.
However, that is only two of the four members of the Sinister Six that we had already seen. Who would make up the remaining four members? The credits sequence of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teased some of the characters we would have seen in the film: Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, Vulture, and Mysterio. This was an exciting development for fans because, of these four characters, only one had been seen in the cinematic medium before.
Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 is one of the most beloved versions of a comic book villain in comic book movie history. In other words, whoever picked up the mantle of Doc Ock for the Sinister Six film had enormous shoes to fill, as fans weren’t going to take a shitty version of the character lightly.
Ultimately, there was no way that Doctor Octopus could be reintroduced as an adversary in the main Spider-Man franchise, as comparisons would inevitably be made to Spider-Man 2, and the likelihood of him stacking up seemed slim. The Sinister Six movie would have been a perfect way of introducing audiences to a new version of the character because we would have seen him through an entirely different conflict.
One of the characters fans were most excited to see was Kraven the Hunter, yet this excitement was more of a hesitant eagerness. Kraven the Hunter is one of the more recognizable villains from the Spider-Man canon, yet he is also one of the more idiosyncratic ones. It would be challenging to adapt him to the screen, but having him be part of the Sinister Six would have left five other characters to fall back on if he was a dud.
Eventually, we will see a version of Kraven the Hunter come to the big screen in 2023, led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the ruthless hunter as part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. Given the track record of the Spider-Man Universe films, though, chances are it doesn’t do justice to the character. At least our chances probably would have been better had we gotten Goddard’s take on the character.
Goddard’s team of the Sinister Six was also set to include two characters later brought to the screen in the Tom Holland Spider-Man trilogy. The first was Vulture, who we would see played by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Interestingly enough, Michael Keaton’s Vulture may play a pivotal part in the future of the Sinister Six in the Spider-Man films, as he shows up in the (much-maligned) post-credits scene of Morbius teasing a team-up with Jared Leto’s living vampire. Could Keaton’s mad scientist-esque villain become the group’s leader rather than some iteration of the Green Goblin?
Goddard’s Sinister Six would have been rounded out by Mysterio, one of the more recognizable villains in the Spider-Man universe. There weren’t many rumors as to exactly what we’d have seen in the Sinister Six film, but of all of the characters, this is maybe the one that benefitted the most from the cancellation of the Sinister Six film.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrayed Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and he did a great job bringing the character to the screen. If we had gotten to see Mysterio in the Sinister Six film, we wouldn’t have gotten him in Far From Home, and the entire course of the MCU would have been changed as a result.
Beyond the main six members of the team, there were rumored to be appearances by more Spider-Man villains who could play a more prominent role later in the franchise. Among them were Sandman and Venom. Both of these characters are ones we had seen in the Raimi trilogy and are some of the hero’s greatest adversaries. Relegating them to side characters in the Sinister Six movie wouldn’t have done them justice.
Although the Sinister Six movie did fall apart after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was relatively unsuccessful, it did pave the way for a series of villain-centric Spider-Man spin-offs, starting with Venom. These films may not have been the most critically successful, but they have been mostly successful financially and probably would not have happened had we gotten the Sinister Six film.
It’s also unlikely that we would have gotten Spider-Man: No Way Home, or anything like it, had the Sinister Six movie gone according to plan. And in No Way Home, we get a glimpse of a supervillain team-up composed of the versions of Doc Ock, Green Goblin, and Sandman from the Raimi trilogy with Lizard and Electro from the Amazing Spider-Man films. It’s not quite a Sinister Six, but it’s the closest we’ve seen yet.
As for Goddard, the cancellation of the Sinister Six movie allowed him to make Bad Times at the El Royale, his mostly well-received retro crime saga. And he is still rumored to be attached to an X-Force film that has been in development for several years. Perhaps it will meet the same fate as the Sinister Six film, or maybe it will finally see the light of day.
That begs the question: are we better off not having the Sinister Six movie? While we’ll never know, we have gotten some great things we probably wouldn’t have if the movie existed. However, there’s no denying that what we know of the Goddard vision of the Sinister Six was intriguing.
Furthermore, there’s no reason that we might not see a Sinister Six movie down the line. Of course, things would have to be different because of how the Tom Holland trilogy has begun to shape up, but the Morbius stinger shows a bright future for a Spidey villain team-up.
What do you think? Do you still want to see Drew Goddard take on a Sinister Six film? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. Until next time.
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