Through five live-action films, Spider-Man has fought a lot of villains, though as Jon Watts, director of Spider-Man: Homecoming said, never the antagonists he faced first. Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture premiered in the second-ever Amazing Spider-Man comic at the character’s inception (beaten to the villainous scene only by the Chameleon, apparently) and he’s set to take center stage in Homecoming, a role assumed (but not confirmed) for Michael Keaton.
Speaking with both Collider and ComicBook.com during Comic-Con last weekend, Watts discussed choosing the Vulture, teased his “tech-based” approach over straight-up superpowers and how the character will interact with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
“It’s a very tech based approach to how The Vulture would build a wing suit and how he would fly. It’s not just cool design, it’s a big part of the story. That I can’t give away, but there’s some cool stuff that goes along with that.”
From the very beginning, we wanted to try to keep it tech based just to keep it different initially from what we had seen before. Just getting away from anything that was too similar to [the past], and it sets up a really cool thing that I don’t want to talk about yet! It’s gonna be awesome.”
Beyond the suit, the character serves to further bring Spider-Man back to his origins as an ordinary high-school student who happens to live in the MCU and be a superhero. Following that, they took inspiration from as far back as the character’s debut to mine stories and found Vulture a good visual match for the swinging, acrobatic web slinger.
“Well, we wanted to sort of go back to the origins of what made Spider-Man and Peter Parker so unique you know, and that’s why we just sort of really doubled down on the idea that he is a kid. He is a high school student in this crazy universe. He has to keep his identity a secret, which a lot of the other characters in the MCU don’t, um, and just, in general, going back to those origins ya know.
The Vulture is really the first supervillain that Spider-Man ever fights in Amazing Spider-Man, the second issue, after the chameleon, so it just felt like the right thing to do, to go back to the roots in that way. We talked about a lot of different things but The Vulture always sort of rose to the top and just the opportunity to have Spider-Man versus a guy that can fly really lends itself to some pretty cool visuals.”
Fun fact: The Vulture was planned as the lead villain in the cancelled Spider-Man 4 from Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire, with John Malkovich in the role (with Anne Hathaway rumored as Black Cat).
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters July 7, 2017.