We will be talking about significant spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie has only been out two weeks, so we're going to keep trying to hide the spoilers the best we can. If you haven't seen the movie yet, consider this your spoiler warning not to go beyond the following image.
Way back a long time ago, Sony Pictures was trying to create their own version of a Spider-Man universe with the two Amazing Spider-Man movies. They were both generally pretty bad and it was a perfect example of someone putting the cart before the horse. They were so eager to get to their big team-up movies that they forgot to do all of the little thing that made the Marvel Cinematic Universe model so lucrative exactly the same way the first interaction of the DC universe fell apart. At the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2, we get a tease for a Sinister Six movie that wasn't ever going to happen. The idea of a group of villains versus one hero is one that needed to be handled carefully because you needed to make the audience care about the villains and you couldn't introduce and make us care about six people in one movie. It's the kind of thing that needs to be done over several movies and, in this case, over the course of about five. In a new interview with The Wrap, Spider-Man: No Way Home writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers said that, initially, the idea was to twase the old villains in a mid or post-credits scene.
"We go, 'OK, we know that we're dealing with the fallout from that. What would happen?'," McKenna told TheWrap. "And that led us down different story roads that were not this story. And then, I don't know if it was Kevin [Feige's] idea, the idea of doing something with the other villains and teasing that at the very end [of the movie], I think in a tag was floated."
While that is a fine idea and actually what ended up happening with the first credits scene and Venom in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it turned out that Kevin Feige actually brought up that long-dead Sinister Six idea that Sony and Marvel had been kicking around for many years and basically said, "so, why don't we just do that here and now in this movie?"
"So we were coming up with different storylines that would just sort of write towards a tag like that," McKenna recalled. "So inevitably we were like, 'What if Kraven? What if [Other Villains?] and we were kicking around a lot of different ideas and then finally one day, for various reasons – there were reasons why we couldn't do certain storylines – I think it was Kevin who goes, 'Remember that idea with all the villains that we were talking about for a tag? That Sinister Six idea? Why don't we just do it in the movie? Make this movie be about that?' and then that just sort of blew everything open."
As previously stated, you need to be invested in these villains before you pit them all against Peter Parker, and pulling from the three initial movies and the two Amazing movies meant that audiences were already invested at least on some level. Some villains got more of the spotlight than others and some people might not get all of the references [like my mother who did not know who Sandman or Electro were until I reminded her], but once it became apparent, it was the build-up that Sony had been wanting for a Sinister Six movie over the course of two franchises. While Spider-Man: No Way Home never says the words "sinister six" and there are only five villains and not six, this is probably as close as we're going to get for a while.
Then again, this movie did gangbusters and if they find dumptrucks of money big enough for all of the actors to come back and maybe snag a version of Harry Osborn or Michael Keaton as the Vulture, maybe a Sinister Six will be in our futures. No one ever thought we'd see three Peter Parker's from three different franchises on screen until it happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home. They pulled off a minor miracle once; maybe they'll be able to do it again.
Summary: For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: No Way Home, directed by Jon Watts, stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau with Marisa Tomei. It was released on December 17, 2021.