Although the spotlight was pointed firmly on Tom Holland’s Peter Parker during Spider-Man: No Way Home, the adversaries he went up against hailed from Spider-Man eras long since past. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman from the Tobey Maguire film series, as well as Rhys Ifans’ Lizard and Jamie Foxx’s Electro from the Andrew Garfield film series, were thrust into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, paving the way for Holland’s Peter to team up with his older counterparts. As it turns out though, there was a time when No Way Home considered also throwing one of the villains from the previous Holland-led Spider-Man movies into the mix: The Vulture.
Following his MCU debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker returned a year later in Spider-Man: Homecoming to battle Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, the owner of a salvaging business who formed a gang that made advanced weaponry out of Chitauri technology and other scavenged special items, including Toomes’ winged suit. Holland’s Peter hasn’t seen Adrian since they tussled on that beach near Coney Island towards the end of Homecoming, but as you’ll see in the below concept art from Phil Langone, apparently we could have gotten a version of Spider-Man: No Way Home with Vulture involved.
As Phil Langone explained in the caption of his Instagram post, the location of Norman Osborn’s betrayal in Spider-Man: No Way Home “changed a few times,” with the big moment ultimately happening at Happy Hogan’s apartment. Above is a version of the scene that takes place at a garage, and in the first two images, we see Sandman and Doctor Octopus looking outside, as the property is surrounded by the police. Then in the third image, we see a figure wearing such a distinctive fur-collared jacket that there’s no mistaking that this is Adrian Toomes, who wore that jacket while flying around as Vulture. But in case you need extra proof, when someone in the comments asked Langone if that was indeed Vulture, he said:
Had Vulture shown up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, then we could have gotten a proper Sinister Six in the movie, since Tom Hardy’s Venom showing up in the mid-credits scene doesn’t count. Of course, one issue with Vulture appearing in No Way Home is coming up with a compelling reason for him to team up with these villains from other universes. Tom Holland’s Peter saved Adrian from burning to death, and when Mac Gargan approached Adrian in prison in the Homecoming mid-credits scene about supposedly knowing Spider-Man’s secret identity, Adrian lied and denied he knew who was underneath the mask. As far as the man once known as Vulture was concerned, he and the Web-Slinger were square.
So in the end, Vulture didn’t have any role to play in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but the events of that movie did play into Michael Keaton’s reprisal of the character in Morbius last year. Adrian Toomes was transported to the universe where Michael Morbius lives, and he was last seen trying to strike up an alliance with Jared Leto’s vampiric character after building himself a new Vulture suit. Although more movie’s set in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe are on the way, including Kraven the Hunter and Venom 3, it remains to be seen if Michael Keaton will make a third Vulture appearance in any of them. Perhaps there’s also the possibility he could be transported back into the MCU to appear in Spider-Man 4, which remains in development.
Should you wish to stream Spider-Man: No Way Home, you’ll need to be signed up with Starz. However, some of the older Spider-Man movies can be watched with a Netflix subscription. The next Spider-Man feature up is the animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which spins its web in theaters on June 2 among the 2023 movie releases.