Who are the Sinister Six? Spider-Man 3's rumoured villains explained
Peter Parker's enemies could unite on the big screen, according to the latest Spider-Man 3 fan theories.
Tom Holland is returning for another Spider-Man film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and if recent rumours are to be believed, it could be the most epic adventure yet for the wall-crawling crimefighter.
Fans have been speculating wildly since the shock announcements that both Jamie Foxx's Electro and Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus, two characters from previous Spider-Man franchises, would return for the upcoming sequel.
Along with talk of a live-action Spider-Verse, possibly involving original Peter Parker actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, another prominent rumour is that we'll see the Sinister Six unite on the big screen.
The super villain team has hounded Spider-Man in the comic books for decades, but attempts to bring them to live-action in the past have faltered.
Could the stars finally be aligning for Peter Parker's most fearsome foes? We'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime here's everything you need to know about the Sinister Six and their potential future in the MCU.
Who are the Sinister Six?
The Sinister Six are a group of Spider-Man villains who form an uneasy alliance in a bid to finally defeat their web-slinging nemesis.
They made their comic book debut in January 1964, with the original line-up assembled and led by Doctor Octopus, consisting of Electro, Vulture, Mysterio, Sandman and Kraven The Hunter.
In later appearances, this line-up has varied with the likes of Shocker and Scorpion taking spaces on the team in certain stories, both of whom have already been introduced in the MCU.
Sinister Six members
Doctor Octopus: Widely regarded as one of Spider-Man's greatest villains, Doctor Octopus is the founding member of the Sinister Six and an intimidating opponent in his own right.
A scientific genius, the character is also a physically threat due to the titanium-steel tentacles attached to his torso by a harness, from which his name is derived.
Alfred Molina portrays the character in 2004's Spider-Man 2 and is confirmed to be returning to the role for Tom Holland's third Spider-Man film in the MCU.
Electro: Former engineer Maxwell Dillon gained the power to manipulate electricity after a freak accident, choosing to use this ability to become a professional criminal operating under the name Electro.
Jamie Foxx played a version of the character in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and will reprise the role for the MCU's upcoming Spider-Man 3, but the actor has hinted that his appearance will be different.
Vulture: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Adrian Toomes takes on a life of crime to support his family when his salvaging company is put out of business.
His flying suit is built from state of the art technology, including weaponry left over by the Chitauri invasion of Earth and stolen Starktech equipment.
Michael Keaton played the character in 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there has not yet been any indication that he will reprise the role for 2021's Spider-Man 3 – though Keaton will appear in the upcoming Marvel/Sony co-production Morbius, which has ties to the Spidey films.
Mysterio: In the comic books, Quentin Beck is an out-of-work actor and special effects whizz who uses those skills to become a mind-bending opponent to Spider-Man.
For his film debut in 2019's Far From Home, his backstory was changed to being a disgruntled former employee of Tony Stark, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Sandman: After a troubled childhood set him on the wrong path in life, William Baker was then granted superhuman abilities after coming into contact with radioactive sand.
He is able to change his molecular structure into sand at will, which allows him to be ruthlessly effective in one-on-one combat, but can also be used against him.
The character made his live-action debut in 2007's Spider-Man 3, played by Thomas Haden Church, but has not yet been announced in connection to Tom Holland's next solo outing.
Kraven the Hunter: Also known by his civilian name Sergei Kravinoff, Kraven becomes obsessed with killing New York City's famous Spider-Man to prove that he is the world's greatest big-game hunter.
Yet to be depicted in live-action, Sony are currently developing a Kraven The Hunter solo movie, with director JC Chandor (Netflix's Triple Frontier) attached to direct.
Will the Sinister Six appear in Spider-Man 3?
Good question! Due to Marvel's usual secrecy there's no concrete answer just yet, but many fans have speculated that Tom Holland's Spider-Man will face off against a team of super villains in his next adventure.
With Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), the founder and frequent leader of the Sinister Six, as well as team member Electro (Jamie Foxx) confirmed to be appearing, it's certainly possible these theories could be correct.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already introduced another Sinister Six alum in Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio, who could easily have his utilised his disorienting trickery to cheat death after Far From Home.
If producer Kevin Feige is keen to deploy the full team in Spider-Man 3, he could choose to bring back Bokeem Woodbine's Shocker and Michael Mando's Scorpion, who both made appearances in 2017's Homecoming.
Will there be a Sinister Six movie?
Back in 2014, Sony Pictures was developing a Sinister Six movie to be serve as a spin-off from their Amazing Spider-Man franchise, with The Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard attached to the project.
However, plans for the movie stalled when Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man franchise was prematurely scrapped in favour of Tom Holland's MCU incarnation of the character.
That said, producer Amy Pascal still appears to be enthusiastic about the idea, telling Vanity Fair in December 2018: "I’m just waiting for Drew to be ready to direct it. I would do anything with Drew Goddard. I’m just waiting for him to tell me he wants to."
So, never say never.
Marvel's Spider-Man 3 is scheduled for release on 17th December 2021. While you're waiting, check out our TV Guide to find out what's on tonight.