According to new reports, actor Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to play Mysterio, one of the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel.
This information comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which says that the supervillain will be the main antagonist of the movie. However, it has also been reported that Michael Keaton, who played the Vulture in the original film, will be returning in some capacity as well.
The comics have had a few different people take up the mantle of Mysterio, but the first and most famous is Quentin Beck. He was a failed actor but quite a talented special-effects artist and stuntman, and decided to use those talents into doing crimes. He has a wide variety of talents in everything from robotics to hypnosis, and has a stage magician’s flair for the dramatic.
It is interesting to note that both Mysterio and Gyllenhaal have a certain history with the original Spider-Man films, which were directed by Sam Raimi. The trilogy was originally going to include a fourth movie with Mysterio as the villain; had it been made, Gyllenhaal was set to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, taking over the role from Tobey Maguire. Meanwhile, Mysterio would have been played by Bruce Campbell, who had made numerous cameos in the films prior to this.
Between Raimi’s films and the Amazing Spider-Man movies directed by Marc Webb, there are not many notable Spider-Man villains who have not been used. Thankfully the web-slinger has an expansive and interesting rogue’s gallery, and Mysterio would prove an interesting addition to the MCU.
Like many Spider-Man baddies (including Keaton’s Vulture, considered to be one of the better MCU antagonists), Mysterio matches the scientific know-how of Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland in this franchise) and thus provides a sort of evil counterpart to the young genius. The fact that he acts like a magician while using technology also seems like a clever commentary on the MCU, which for some reason seems to want to change magical elements from the comic into (psuedo-)science whenever possible.
As an interesting aside, Gyllenhaal has also been rumored to be in the running to play Batman for the rival DC Extended Universe, should Ben Affleck want to retire from the role. However, unlike this MCU news that may well be only a rumor.