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7 best Spider-Man characters who’ve never been on the big screen

A group shot of all the Spider-Man villains.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Since making his debut in 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man has remained one of the world’s most popular and prolific superheroes, with the character often featured in multiple monthly comic titles and animated series at the same time. Maintaining that kind of cultural footprint is only possible with the help of an absolutely massive supporting cast of friends, allies, and enemies.

It’s a testament to the depth of Team Spider-Man’s bench that there have been 10 feature films starring the character and there are still a few major names who are waiting to make their big-screen debut. Whether they’re too new to have been included in the earliest Spider-Man movies or too important to be lumped in with a dozen other characters in a crossover film, each of these seven Spidey stalwarts is bound to get their day in the spotlight, some sooner than others.

Kraven the Hunter

Kraven sits on a chair in a Marvel comic book.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s start with the biggest name on our list, whose live-action debut happens to be imminent. Kraven the Hunter made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 15 way back in 1964, making him one of the webhead’s first recurring villains. Kraven (aka Sergei Kravenoff) is a Russian big game hunter whose skills are so finely tuned that he can defeat any of the Earth’s deadliest beasts with his bare hands. Hungry for a real challenge, Kraven comes to the concrete jungle of New York to hunt a more dangerous game: Spider-Man. He would subsequently become a founding member of iconic supervillain team The Sinister Six — the only one to not yet appear in one of the core Spider-Man film series — and go on to feature in some of the most celebrated Spider-Man comics stories of all time, such the 1987 crossover Kraven’s Last Hunt.

Kraven almost made it onto the big screen a few times during the 2010s. He was expected to feature in the canceled Sinister Six and The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and Ryan Coogler even asked Marvel for permission to add Kraven to the cast of Black Panther, but was turned down. More recently, actor Tom Holland has revealed that his third Spider-Man movie would have used Kraven as its villain if plans had fallen through for the multiversal crossover No Way Home. However, the Hunter’s patience is about to pay off with his own feature film, set to hit theaters in October 2023. Kraven the Hunter will star Aaron Taylor-Johnson alongside Ariana DeBose and Russell Crowe and be directed by J.C. Chandor. It is expected to take place in the “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe,” current home of Venom and Morbius.

Black Cat

Black sits on a chair in a Marvel comic book.
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Originally intended as a foil for Spider-Woman Jessica Drew, mischievous cat burglar Felicia Hardy first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 194 in 1979 and has remained one of the most popular members of Spidey’s extended family — an ongoing comics series starring the character launchedin 2019. Felicia is a second-generation sneak thief who makes her living stealing some of New York’s most protected valuables. Like a certain other cat-themed super thief, she enjoys a playful, flirtatious rivalry with her city’s resident masked vigilante, one tjat occasionally blossoms into a serious relationship. Sometimes a menacing crime lord and sometimes a Robin Hood-esque antihero, Felicia is one of the Spidey stable’s most complicated and versatile characters.

Black Cat is a staple of Spider-Man animated series and video games, but multiple attempts to bring her to life on the big screen have fallen through. She was cut from an early draft of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, with her subplot only appearing in the film’s (excellent) video game adaptation. Felicia was also considered as a potential villain for the never-produced Spider-Man 4, though possibly not as her Black Cat alter-ego. Felicia even appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, portrayed by Felicity Jones, but in a role so small that, frankly, we don’t think it counts. Unfortunately, the cinematic universe in which she would have recurred never took shape. More recent attempts at a film or television series starring Black Cat and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King) remain in development hell. 

Silver Sable

Silver Sable holds a gun in a Marvel comic book.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Silvija Sablinova, one of the world’s deadliest mercenaries, was created by writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz for Amazing Spider-Man No. 265 in 1985. Hailing from the (fictional) nation of Symkaria, Sable has made a career out of hunting Nazi war criminals and other fugitives across the world. While nominally on the same side, she and Spider-Man don’t always see eye to eye, as you might imagine that the wall-crawler doesn’t love it when people drop by his city and start picking people off with a sniper rifle. Nevertheless, Sable is a respected badass among the costumed crowd, often teaming up with the likes of the Punisher, Daredevil, and even the Avengers. She has a team of her own — the Wild Pack — and even has her own tenuous diplomatic relationship with Victor Von Doom, whose Latveria shares a border with Symkaria.

Despite many appearances in Spider-Man animated series and video games, Silver Sable has never been seriously considered for an appearance in a Spider-Man film. However, during Sony’s Spider-blitz of the mid-2010s, the studio began developing a film called Silver & Black, which would have teamed up Silver Sable and Black Cat for their own adventure in the new “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.” This project was retooled into a television series and then abandoned altogether, but could potentially kick back into gear should the upcoming Kraven the Hunter prove a commercial success.

Chameleon

Chameleon smirking in Marvel Comics.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka the Chameleon, is the very first supervillain to menace Peter Parker, way back in Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 in 1963 (Spidey’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy the previous year did not involve any colorful super criminals). Chameleon’s M.O. is to impersonate important figures — be they heroes, villains, or civilians — in order to infiltrate or undermine their lives. Though he’s capable of reproducing a person’s real face and voice, it helps that a lot of his targets wear masks and costumes.

Despite being the guy actually wearing the Spider-Man outfit on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, Chameleon has yet to appear in a feature film. There’s a guy named Dmitri in Fake Nick Fury’s crew in Spider-Man: Far From Home (he’s the bus driver), but if we’re not issuing any points for Felicity Jones’ appearance as Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, then we’re certainly not counting this, either. However, Dmitri is due to make a full big-screen debut alongside his half-brother Sergei in his movie Kraven the Hunter in October 2023. He’ll be played by Fred Hechinger, though it’s unknown whether he’ll be wearing any other faces in the film.

Mister Negative

Mister Negative looks down in a Marvel comic book.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“Mister Negative,” aka Martin Li, is a relatively new addition to the rogues’ gallery, first appearing at the start of writer Dan Slott’s decade-long stewardship of Spider-Man in 2007. In the grand tradition of Spidey villains, Li is initially someone Peter Parker knows and admires in his civilian life, a philanthropist who runs the charitable F.E.A.S.T. Project, where Peter’s Aunt May volunteers. Li’s kind and generous persona turns out to be only half the story, as the other part of his personality, Mister Negative, is as nasty as Li is pleasant, a ruthless gangster with the ability to bring out the worst in anyone he touches. We mean that literally — his connection to the extradimensional Darkforce is a corrupting influence, allowing him to flip Spidey’s moral compass and turn him from hero to menace.

Mister Negative debuted too late to be considered for the Sam Raimi film trilogy and has never been slated to appear in more recent movies, but his profile was raised significantly when he starred as a main antagonist in the 2018 Spider-Man video game from Insomniac. Though it’s probably only a matter of time before he makes a live-action appearance, we think he’s a perfect fit for the Spider-Verse films. Mister Negative is depicted in the comics with a distinctive color-reversing aura that would look terrific among Spider-Verse’s visual smorgasbord of clashing art styles.

Jackal

The Jackal smiles in a Marvel comic book.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dr. Miles Warren has been a recurring character in Spider-Man titles since 1965, but he wouldn’t take on the animalistic form of the Jackal until Amazing Spider-Man No. 129 in 1974. Dr. Warren is a master of genetic engineering who remixes his own DNA, becoming a creature who looks like a green-tinted missing link between the X-Men’s Beast and Nightcrawler. Driven by a thirst for revenge against Spider-Man, who he blames for the death of his student Gwen Stacy, Jackal becomes one of the most twisted thorns in Spidey’s side when he starts churning out clones of Peter Parker by the fistful. Jackal is responsible for the creation of Ben Reilly and Kaine Parker, and the driving force behind the massive (and oft-parodied) Clone Saga crossover of the 1990s. 

The Jackal has yet to appear in any big screen Spider-Man media, and frankly, that’s probably for the best. Jackal’s deal in the comics has a lot to do with producing more Spider-Men, and thanks to the current fixation on the multiverse, we already have more than enough Spider-People swinging around. Unlike the rest of the characters on this list, who seem more likely than ever to get a shot at the big time, the Jackal has never been more superfluous, and is better off staying away from the MCU, Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, and the animated Spider-Verse for a good long while.

Silk

Silk on the cover of "Silk Vol. 3 #1."
Marvel Comics

Created by writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos for 2014’s relaunched Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, Cindy Moon is a classmate of Peter Parker’s who, unbeknownst to just about anyone, is bitten by the same spider that gave Peter his spider powers only moments afterwards. However, Cindy’s powers manifest differently and are harder to control. Rather than venturing out into the world as a freewheeling masked vigilante, she is recruited by businessman Ezekiel Sims into a secret training facility, where she is held prisoner for six years. When Spider-Man learns of her plight, he aids her escape and she becomes the wall-crawling superhero Silk, who has since embarked upon her own adventures in a string of Silk solo titles, as well as with the Agents of Atlas.

Technically, Cindy Moon has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a background character, portrayed by Tiffany Espenson, but she is never identified directly on-screen and there’s never been any hint of her being a secret spider-person. Meanwhile, Silk has had her own projects in the works at Sony. A live-action television series entitled Silk: Spider Society has been greenlit and is expected to debut on MGM+, and a Spider-Verse spinoff starring Silk, Gwen Stacy, and Spider-Woman Jessica Drew is in development. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Cindy make her debut (along with a few other “anomalous” Spider-People) in 2024’s Beyond the Spider-Verse.

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Dylan Roth
Dylan Roth [he/him] is a freelance film critic, and the co-host of the podcast "Are You Afraid of the Dark Universe?"
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