Spider-Man: Far From Home has yet to release its eagerly anticipated first trailer, but Sony Pictures has teased the plot of its Marvel Studios co-production: The sequel to 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming will purportedly have Nick Fury task Peter Parker to fight a new threat known as Elementals, teaming him with Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio as the duo face their mutual enemies across Europe. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has certainly altered dynamics between characters, the radical change in the relationship of the wall-crawler to his classic foe may be the biggest departure yet.
That, combined with the inclusion of the Elementals as the apparent primary antagonists, and Marvel's history of conscious, good-natured misdirection to keep plot details under wraps, suggests Far From Home's initial plot synopsis and promotional campaign may subvert expectations by providing fans with incomplete and intentionally misleading information.
The first clue is the positioning of the Elementals. Introduced in 1974 in Marvel Comics' Supernatural Thrillers #8, by writer Tony Isabella and artist Val Mayerik, the quartet of extra-dimensional beings control earth, wind, water and fire, like villainous precursors to the Planeteers. After battling Ms. Marvel in the '70s, the group largely fell into obscurity, making their prominent role in the Spider-Man sequel particularly suspect. The plot synopsis teases that the group is causing natural disasters across Europe, but, even with their trail of destruction, Spider-Man and Mysterio are an unlikely choice by the exceedingly strategic Fury to combat them.
The other, and perhaps bigger, hint that Marvel Studios and Sony are misleading audiences is the decision to include Mysterio.
Briefly rumored to play the web-slinger in 2004's Spider-Man 2 after star Tobey Maguire suffered a back injury early in production, Gyllenhaal is the biggest addition to the Far From Home cast. Mysterio's live-action debut has been similarly rumored for years, with Bruce Campbell allegedly pegged to portray the character's civilian persona, Quentin Beck, in the original plan for 2002's Spider-Man.
To introduce the longtime comic book antagonist as a big-screen ally is a radical redefinition that runs the risk of alienating fans. However, while Marvel Studios has proved itself time and again in its updated interpretations of classic characters, the very nature of Mysterio suggests there is much more than meets the eye with his initial MCU description.