Mysterio’s Return Would Make Him The MCU’s First Real Archnemesis

If Mysterio returns after Spider-Man: No Way Home, he would be the first MCU villain to earn the title of "archnemesis." Spider-Man's gallery of villains is one of the most recognizable, with villains such as Doctor Octopus and Venom constantly having considerable roles in Spider-Man stories across all media, including comics, movies, and video games. Being a founding member of the original Sinister Six, Mysterio is also among Spidey's greatest foes. However, he has rarely been considered Spider-Man's biggest sworn enemy.

The concept of "archnemesis" has been surprisingly absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, despite its popularity in the comics. Just like the Joker is Batman's perpetual enemy in DC Comics, Captain America has Red Skull, Iron Man has the Mandarin, and Spider-Man has the Green Goblin. The MCU hasn't let many villains stay around to build a shared history with their heroic counterparts. For instance, Captain America only encountered the Red Skull a couple of times in Captain America: The First Avenger and never saw him again, Iron Man never even met Wenwu, and Spider-Man is only now getting to know a multiversal version of the Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Related: Doctor Strange In Spider-Man: No Way Home Fixes MCU's Iron Man Mistake

The only two villains to come close to being considered MCU archnemeses have been Loki and Thanos. However, Loki has been depicted more as Thor's complicated brother rather than as his outright enemy, and Thanos has been the villain that gathers all the Avengers in a huge crossover event. On the contrary, Mysterio has been exclusively Spider-Man's nightmare. First, he became the antithesis to Iron Man, posing as a mentor to Peter Parker before betraying him. Then, he tried to use Stark's technology to kill Peter, and finally, he ruined Peter's personal life when he revealed his secret identity to the whole world. During Spider-Man: No Way Home, Mysterio's actions are still having huge ripples on Spider-Man’s story — even after Quentin Beck's alleged death.

Once Spider-Man finishes fighting Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Electro, Lizard, and Sandman, he will have already fought an extensive list of villains. But considering that Mysterio's post-mortem blow to Spider-Man's secret identity is what leads Peter to resort to Doctor Strange's failed memory-wiping spell, it's safe to say that none of Spidey's other villains come close to Mysterio's influence. Therefore, if Mysterio returns in Spider-Man 4, his defeat would feel like the definitive climax in Spider-Man’s MCU journey. He would make Peter Parker's life a living hell throughout three movies, and his faked death would prove that no one will ever know if he's ever truly gone.

Mysterio's status as Spider-Man's archnemesis would help innovate the relationship between heroes and villains in the MCU. A long-standing one-to-one feud that spans several movies is something that few superhero franchises have ever done before — partly because the villains rarely make it out alive after one movie. This would only become more interesting if Marvel Studios and Sony agree to bring Tom Holland's Peter Parker over to Sony's Spider-Man Universe after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, as the feud between Spider-Man and Mysterio would not only be the first one in the MCU, but it would also be the first one to transcends entire franchises.

More: Why Venom Can’t Be Part Of The Spider-Man 3’s MCU Sinister Six

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