When it came time to choose a villain for Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios’ reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, there was a pretty clear choice. After five previous Spider-Man films, the studios didn’t necessarily want to pick a villain who’s been onscreen recently—meaning Green Goblin, Lizard, and Electro weren’t exactly priority characters for this movie. And throughout those five films there’s one major villain who’s yet to be seen onscreen: Vulture. Indeed, Sam Raimi was considering this character for Spider-Man 4 with John Malkovich filling the role before that sequel was scuttled, and now Michael Keaton gets to take a crack at it in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But how did the filmmakers settled on Vulture as the right villain for this film? That’s the question I posed to producer Eric Caroll while visiting the Atlanta set of Homecoming last year, and he revealed that the character felt compatible with the existing MCU:
“We at Marvel start with a thing called a Discussion Document which is sort of like a mission statement, a 20-30 page document where we just go, ‘This is what we think it is, this is what we think it isn’t, this is what we think would be fun, here are some cool characters.’ And we laid them all out, we put all the ones who’ve been in the movies before, and Vulture just felt compatible with the MCU. When we sort of struck on the fun thematic thing of the Vulture being somebody who scavenges what the Avengers and their enemies leave behind we all just got excited about that.”
But Carroll also admitted that when filmmakers were pitching their takes on the reboot to land the job of writing or directing the movie, almost all of them wanted to use Vulture:
“We told all the writers and directors that came in, ‘Pitch us anything,’ because it’s one of these best idea-type scenarios—if someone came in with the greatest Doc Ock pitch of all time and we’re like, ‘This is it. It feels new, it feels different, it feels MCU specific,’ we would have done it. But frankly I think all but two people came in and pitched The Vulture to us. So we were, again, leaning that way anyway but then we heard all these great ideas, and especially the one that Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley first pitched we were like, ‘Yeah this is cool. It feels MCU, it feels unique, it feels like you haven’t seen it before.’”
Indeed, this “best idea wins” scenario means that Doc Ock or Green Goblin aren’t entirely off the table for the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, but it’s neat to know that everyone was excited about finally bringing Vulture to the screen way back in the early days of this film’s development.