We’re all looking forward to going to the movies again when (if?) the world returns to normal. If you’re a comic book fan, Spider-Man‘s next adventure is probably in your plans. The new partnership between Marvel/Disney and Sony is producing entertaining romps, but they could use something different: weird animal villains!
Sure, the Vulture was interesting (and the parenting twist was surprisingly satisfying), but so many other animal-themed villains have faced off against Spidey over the years that it seems like a waste not to include some of them going forward. Maybe they aren’t the full-blown big bad guy, but a pre-credits drop-in or a minor role as part of a larger scheme could be a fun way to acknowledge some of the wallcrawler’s extensive history. Here are 10 weird animal-themed villains we’d like to see make an appearance in the MCU, with a little direction of how they’d fit in.
The Gibbon first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #110. He was never a bad guy, just hurt and downtrodden. Gibbon has spent his whole career fighting against ridicule and committing minor crimes, being hairier some times, pretty normal-looking at others.
Gibbon could enter the MCU as a way for Peter Parker to appreciate how lucky he is. His powers and transformation have no downside. Seeing the Gibbon unhappily being exploited at an evil circus could spin Spider-Man into uncovering a much larger conspiracy. Not too long ago, Gibbon was given a chance to shine and sacrificed his life to save other animal villains during the “Hunted” storyline.
9 Human Fly
The creation of Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, and Gil Kane, the Human Fly got his powers from non-FDA-approved experimentation (that happens a lot in comic books). In the 80s, he’s one of the low-level villains killed by the Scourge of the Underworld, though he’s later resurrected during Dark Reign.
For the MCU, we’d like to see a Brundlefly type of monster on the loose. It would be a chance for a different sort of threat: gooey, with lots of acid vomit. Pure family fun!
8 White Rabbit
Black Cat is not weird enough for this list, but White Rabbit has a similar appeal with the craziness we’re looking for. Combine DC’s Harley Quinn with a bit of DC’s Mad Hatter, and you get Marvel’s White Rabbit. She’s rich, she’s crazy, and she has a thing for Alice in Wonderland.
In the MCU, White Rabbit would bring some femininity to Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery, vying for Peter’s affections. You know how the stand-off has to end: with Mary Jane clobbering the White Rabbit into unconsciousness as she comes to her man’s rescue and delivers the line “I’m tired of all this bunny business.”
The original Leap-Frog first appeared in Daredevil #25 in 1967, a toy inventor unhappy about his lack of status and wealth. Donning his frog suit that incorporated the electric coils that gave him incredible jumping abilities, he burgled to support his family before going straight.
We’d like to see him in the MCU, along with his son, who could be classmates with Peter. In the comics, Leap-Frog’s son uses a version of the suit to fight crime as the heroic Frog-Man. As Spider-Man, Peter could mentor the new hero, advising him to stay away from Thanos and focus on getting cats out of trees.
Don Callahan, the man who would be Squid, struggled to find himself after his mother died, subjecting himself to the process that turns him into the tentacled mouthless menace.
Most of Squid’s career has been spent in the background of panels, where he always seems to find himself among other D-League villains. In the MCU, Squid could appear at Horizon Labs, or even at a New York aquarium. Well-suited for an eco-terrorist of some kind, Squid could supply that sweet tentacle action we’re not getting anymore from Doctor Octopus.
Maybe it’s time to get a little wild in the MCU, have Peter take a field trip to the Savage Land, and introduce the not-quite-the-Lizard dinosaur man, Stegron.
After using a variation of the procedure that made Dr. Curt Conners the Lizard, Vincent Stegron gave himself the ability to command dinosaurs and an orange stegosaurus-like body. With a surname like Stegron, it was just meant to be. A Savage Land dino showdown would be a great chance for the MCU to raise its CGI game.
In a bit of a switch, the Hippo isn’t a human that was given hippo powers, but rather an uplifted hippo that was given human traits. Hippo has an on-again, off-again relationship with villainy, even participating in the 12-Step type program Super Villains Anonymous.
In the MCU, Hippo would team with the next entry on the list (and maybe the Gibbon) to free imprisoned animals everywhere. A misunderstanding will lead him to think that Spider-Man is also an uplifted animal and a traitor to the rest of the animal kingdom.
The Iguana was an iguana that Dr. Curt Conners (aka the Lizard) used as a test subject while trying to rid himself of the Lizard condition. It went poorly, though, and the Iguana became humanoid, but not human, despite having Dr. Conners’s memories. We’d like to follow the zoo that houses the Iguana and the Hippo as the mad scientist behind their creation uses them to hunt Spider-Man, the perfect blend of animal and man. Think Zookeeper Moreau.
At the film’s end, Spidey watches the now free animal humanoids walk toward the horizon. “They’ll be ok,” says Spidey, “and so will we.” He and MJ share an affectionate hug and a knowing, PG-13 glance. In the post-credits scene, bees begin to converge on the mess-up body of the now-deceased zookeeper. As the buzz gets louder, his eyes open, and the screen goes black.
Australian field trip! We like the Brian Hibbs version of the character and his kangaroo battle suit. It has a cannon in its pouch! Let Spider-Man fight the Kangaroo while on a field study looking for some viral cure in the Outback, and fun ensues!
This is a good chance for a classic comic book misunderstanding and after the ‘Roo and Spidey fight, they realize they’ve been on the same side all along!
Antonio Rodriguez gained superpowers thanks to experimentation by Dr. Karl Malus which combined his DNA with that of an armadillo. Seriously? Not a cool animal like a jaguar or a hawk. An armadillo. They can carry leprosy! After fighting Captain America and joining the Unlimited Class Wrestling Foundation, the Armadillo eventually found himself as part of the Fifty State Initiative in the Texas-based team, the Rangers.
When that didn’t work out, he went back to being a heavy for assorted more important villains. Rumors about the role the UCWF will have in Disney+ shows have been making the rounds a bit lately. With Spider-Man’s history as a wrestler (before he learned about great power and great responsibility), it makes good sense to have the UCWF make its debut in an MCU Spider-Man film.
Maybe they aren't the full-blown big bad guy, but a pre-credits drop-in or minor role could be a fun way to acknowledge them.