Who Is Mysterio? Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Villain Explained
Despite being a major character in the upcoming movie Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio's powers and origins are as mysterious as his name to the uninitiated. Unlike his fellow rogues Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, the character has been featured sparingly in media outside of the realm of comics. There's also a web of secrecy surrounding the latest Spider-Man movie, so we still know very little about Mysterio's first big-screen incarnation.
The rumors regarding which characters would appear in Far From Home ran fast and furious while the movie was shooting, and Marvel Studios and Sony were reluctant to let any details out. Even the fact that Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders would be appearing in their recurring roles as Nick Fury and Maria Hill was kept a closely guarded secret. There were also so many villains (Mysterio among them) rumored to be a part of the film that at one point it was speculated that Far From Home might be an origin story movie for The Sinister Six - one of the first supervillain teams in comic book history and the first dedicated to the destruction of a single superhero.
There is no small irony that all of this subterfuge should be built up around a character like Mysterio, who depends on such confusion in committing his crimes. It is also no wonder that many fans now find themselves as turned around as the heroes Mysterio contends with regarding what has and hasn't been confirmed about Spider-Man's most mystifying foe. What follows should cut through the illusions and lead the lost back to reality.
- This Page: Mysterio's Origins and Comic Book History
- Page 2: Mysterio's "Hero" Role in Spider-Man: Far From Home
Jake Gyllenhaal Will Play Mysterio In Spider-Man: Far From Home
While it has been known for some time that actor Jake Gyllenhaal had been cast in Far From Home, precisely who he was playing was kept secret while the film was shooting. Most of the rumors suggested that Mysterio was slated to be the main villain of the movie and it was speculated this was the role Gyllenhaal had been cast in. It was not until one eagle-eyed fan took video footage of Gyllenhaal wearing what seemed to be the classic Mysterio armor that the filmmakers finally confirmed that Gyllenhaal would be playing the classic Spider-Man villain.
This marks Gyllenhaal's return to the big-budget blockbuster scene for the first time since 2010's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Recently the actor has been focused on dark thrillers like Nocturnal Animals and Nightcrawler, serious dramas like Everest and Stronger, and unique oddities like Netflix's Okja and upcoming release Velvet Buzzsaw.
Mysterio In The Spider-Man Comics
Mysterio first appeared in June 1964 in Amazing Spider-Man #13. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the costumed criminal was eventually revealed to be Quentin Beck - a former movie stuntman, actor and special effects designer, who turned to crime after becoming convinced there was no future for him in Hollywood. Though he doesn't have any actual superpowers, Mysterio is a brilliant illusionist and played the part of a true wizard to the public, seemingly teleporting to and fro in a dramatic puff of smoke. Luckily for Beck, he was as gifted a chemist as he was a conjurer and he was able to back his stagecraft up with a number of impressive achievements, such as a special smoke that could negate Spider-Man's Spider-Sense.
Later, Mysterio would join with fellow villains Electro, The Vulture, Kraven The Hunter, The Sandman and Doctor Octopus to form the first incarnation of the Sinister Six in a bid to destroy Spider-Man through sheer strength of numbers. Mysterio would go on to join other incarnations of the team over the years and tried to take on Spider-Man several times as a solo act. Beck's plans ranged from the surprisingly subtle - such as when he posed as a psychiatrist and attempted to trick Spider-Man into revealing his secret identity - to showy spectacles, such as when he hypnotized Spider-Man into thinking he'd be shrunk to a height of six inches while on live television. The one constant in Beck's dramatic schemes was that he always overplayed his hand while trying to prove his cleverness.
Mysterio Is A "Hero" In Spider-Man Far From Home...
Though Jake Gyllenhaal has now been confirmed as playing Quentin Beck and Mysterio in Far From Home, mystery still surrounds the movie version of the character and his role in the story. The latest point of confusion came when Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland (who will be reprising his role as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Far From Home) both appeared at the Comic-Con Experience 2018 convention in Brazil, which was held in December 2018. It was here that the first full trailer for Far From Home was screened publicly. Afterwards, Holland and Gyllenhaal both dropped major bombshells regarding Mysterio's role in the film.
Holland stated in an interview that the plot of Far From Home would see Spider-Man and Mysterio teaming up to face the menace of a group known as the Elementals. This revelation was confounding to say the least, primarily because it didn't seem to fit with the earlier synopses of the film and its shooting schedule, which took place all across Europe. It had been stated earlier that the story of Far From Home would see Peter Parker traveling overseas on a class trip with his fellow students and having to step in as Spider-Man to deal with a number of international criminals.
The mention of the Elementals further complicated matters, as they are a decidedly obscure group of characters to place in the center of a Marvel Studios movie and have no previous association with Spider-Man in the comics. Arch-enemies of The Living Pharaoh and N'Kantu, the Living Mummy from the horror-themed anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, The Elementals were a quartet of immortal beings who acted as avatars of the classical elements of Fire, Air, Earth and Water. The Elementals would be worthy foes for Doctor Strange - not so much for the science-minded Spider-Man.
Gyllenhaal also claimed that Mysterio will be a heroic character instead of a villain in Far From Home. In an interview with Brazilian entertainment website Omelette, Gyllenhaal told the same story as Holland regarding how Peter Parker and Quentin Beck would join forces to fight the Elementals. He also described the circumstances of how this would happen, saying that Beck would reveal the existence of the Elementals to Nick Fury and this would lead to Spider-Man being recruited to work with Beck under the aegis of S.H.I.E.L.D. to deal with the threat they pose.
...But Will Surely Be The Villain
It seems likely that all this talk of Mysterio being a hero is a misdirection. This story involving the Elementals sounds suspiciously like the set-up of one of Mysterio's schemes in the comics. Many of Quentin Beck's plans start with him presenting a fake threat in order to set-up a superhero for some sort of scam or hustle. It's also worth noting that the first Spider-Man movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming, was built around a similar twist regarding Peter Parker having to confront an unexpected villain in the film's third act.
Consider Mysterio's first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #13. Shortly after Spider-Man was accused of committing a series of daring public robberies, Mysterio presented himself to the public as a new masked hero with magical powers he could use to bring Spider-Man to justice. When Spider-Man confronted Mysterio on top of the Brooklyn Bridge to meet a challenge J. Jonah Jameson had published on Mysterio's behalf in The Daily Bugle, he quickly found himself all but helpless. Mysterio's trademark smoke blunted his Spider-Sense and melted his webbing before it could touch the apparent wizard. Mysterio also proved just as agile as Spider-Man and was even able to walk on walls, matching him in mobility.
Fleeing the scene by pretending to fall off the bridge, Spider-Man was later able to plant a tracking device on Mysterio as Peter Parker, while the "hero" was boasting of his victory to the press. Fighting Mysterio a second time, but pretending to be overcome, Spider-Man begged Mysterio to explain just how he was able to defeat him. Not only did Mysterio boast of how he had crafted chemical formulas that could counter Spider-Man's powers but he confessed to having used his practical effects knowledge to impersonate Spidey and frame him for the robberies. It was then that Spider-Man sprung his trap, attacking Mysterio while his guard was down and revealing that he had recorded the whole conversation.
While not a direct adaptation of this classic Spider-Man story, it seems more likely that Spider-Man: Far From Home will see Mysterio setting up a similar scam, with Quentin Beck casting himself in a hero's role only to reveal his true intentions in the film's climax. Just what Mysterio is scheming remains to be seen. Spider-Fans can be sure, however, that it will be something truly amazing.