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Just as Batman has returned to the screen in many forms, so has been the case with Spider-Man. The character made his big-screen debut less than two decades ago. And yet, Tom Holland’s current incarnation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe marks not only the third live-action Peter Parker but the third reboot of the Spider-Man mythos.

When a superhero is revisited quite so often, it can become a challenge to avoid repeating the same story arcs. Luckily, Sony and Marvel — who struck a new deal in 2019 to keep Holland in the MCU — already have the perfect route to do something with Spider-Man audiences haven’t ever really seen. That’s right, true believers. It’s time for a live-action Spider-Verse.

Sam Raimi at the 'Spider-Man 2' premiere
Sam Raimi at the ‘Spider-Man 2’ premiere | L. Cohen/WireImage

Sam Raimi’s Marvel return could lead into a live-action Spider-Verse

Until the financially successful, critically beloved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Sony and Marvel were probably unlikely to take such a big creative swing. But audiences have been introduced to the concept of a multiverse both with that 2018 animated film and within the MCU itself. In fact, the franchise heavily teased the multiverse in 2019.

Both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home toy with the notion of alternate dimensions. The former sees the Avengers create new branched timelines whereas the latter uses the multiverse as a bait-and-switch revolving Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). But Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has admitted the real thing is coming very, very soon.

As its title implies, fans expect Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to kick open the doors to the multiverse. Rumors are swirling over how that film will key up what comes next. But now that Sam Raimi is involved, perhaps the most obvious answer is exactly what Marvel Studios has in mind. After all, Raimi directed the original Spider-Man trilogy in the 2000s.

Such an approach could build to the ultimate version of the Sinister Six

As excited as fans are for Raimi to finally work with Marvel again, it’s particularly telling that he’s the one bringing the multiverse to life. Spider-Man is the only character currently in the MCU who has previously carried his own movie franchise. And the comics’ Spider-Verse feels like a real opportunity to grandfather in previous iterations of the character.

With Raimi onboard, the director could use the Doctor Strange sequel to set up a live-action Spider-Verse. Imagine seeing Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield sharing the big screen. But with three Peter Parkers on hand, the Spider-Men would need to face a threat that would be insurmountable for them to face individually. Again, Sony has that covered.

For years, the studio has wanted to make a movie focused on the Sinister Six. In the comics, this supervillain team is comprised of a half-dozen of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Back in The Amazing Spider-Man days, the idea was to build up to Sinister Six. But that series fell apart, leading to Spidey’s entrance into the MCU. Now’s the perfect time for Sony to dust it off.

But who makes up Spider-Man’s ultimate Sinister Six line-up?

So the Doctor Strange sequel will bring the multiverse to the MCU. And the upcoming Venom 2 is heavily rumored to bring Holland into the Sony side of things. Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and his parasite then seem like a natural fit for the eventual Sinister Six movie. Since Venom and Spider-Man have been tentative allies, we’ll leave him off our dream line-up for now.

But besides Venom, all bets are off, especially if we’re picking villains from all three previous Spider-Man series. Fans could have the chance to revisit some of Spidey’s best villains. Naturally, we’d start with Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina as Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, respectively, of the first two movies. After all, Doc Ock initially leads the comics’ Sinister Six.

Molina and Dafoe remain the gold standard for Spider-Man movie villains. And though The Amazing Spider-Man films are less well-regarded, we’d still bring back Rhys Ifans as the Lizard and Jamie Foxx as Electro. The latter was trapped in the messy The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and deserves redemption. Plus, his character design and power set would be a great fit.

The MCU still has room to build its own Spider-Man rogues gallery

Of course, we’d include Michael Keaton’s Vulture and Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio from the MCU. Both characters know Peter’s secret identity and could be wild cards. Mysterio is presumed dead. But we doubt fans would complain if the master of illusion were to re-emerge. For the sake of variety and consistency, that gives us two villains from each Spider-Man series.

Actually, this line-up does include several characters who “died” in their previous film appearances. But all you need is a villain with the ability to hop to various points in the timeline — Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin perhaps? — and he or she could pluck the characters out before they meet their ends. Even so, several other key villains were left off of our list.

If Sinister Six doesn’t happen until after the MCU’s third Spider-Man, it could also include any characters introduced there. Right now, Kraven the Hunter and Black Cat are among the most popular Spidey villains to not appear in live action. Plus, Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman from Spider-Man 3 missed the cut, the only remaining original Sinister Six member to do so.

Whether it happens in 2021’s Spider-Man 3 or soon thereafter, Marvel and Sony have a real opportunity here to acknowledge Spider-Man’s big-screen past. Moreover, the companies could leverage the fan goodwill and cherry-pick the best parts of the previous Spider-Man series. With Raimi involved, this feels almost inevitable now. Here’s hoping it’s made official soon.