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Venom Is Spider-Man‘s First Spin-Off. Who’s Next?

Spider-Man‘s First Spin-Off. Who’s Next?” width=”560″/>

The recent news that Marvel will be spinning off one of Spider-Man 3‘s chief baddies, Venom, for his own movie stirs up troubling questions: Will Topher Grace reprise the role? Do fans really want to see Venom as an anti-hero? Most importantly, which character will be next? With Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and director Sam Raimi only signed on for one more installment, you can bet Marvel’s looking for other ways to extend the franchise. So let’s take a look at a few Spider-man characters who could carry their own movie.

Aunt May (Rosemary Harris)
rosemary-harris-125.jpgWho:
Peter Parker’s beloved aunt and provider of home-spun wisdom and flapjacks
Supporting Cast:
Peter, Uncle Ben (in flashbacks), obscure ear-wiggling comic book paramour Willie Lumpkin
How to spin her off:
It’s Murder, She Wrote meets the Marvel Universe when May turns amateur sleuth in order to learn Spider-Man’s secret identity. Will she uncover Peter’s secret and get her award-winning apple crumble ready in time for the neighborhood bake sale? And is that Stan Lee, reprising his role from Fantastic Four as May’s mailman suitor Willie Lumpkin?

Curt Connors (Dylan Baker, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3)
baker-125.jpgWho:
Physics professor at Columbia, friend to Peter and soon-to-be murderous Lizard
Supporting Cast:
Peter, former colleague Dr. Otto Octavius, random bored students
How to spin him off:
Word is Connors could be turning into the villainous Lizard for the fourth movie, so a spin-off could very easily be in the cards. The story should have echoes of Jekyll and Hyde, with Connors attempting to maintain a normal academic career while fighting the urge to “lizard” out. But when campus coeds start turning up murdered, it’s only a matter of time before the police connect the dots to Connors. Of course, the Daily Bugle blames poor Spidey. And speaking of…

J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons)
jk-simmons-spiderman2.jpgWho: Cigar-chomping editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle and boss to Peter Parker. Hates Spider-Man almost as much as he loves a sharp flat-top haircut. 
Supporting Cast: Inexplicably loyal editor Robbie Robertson (Bill Nunn); plucky, constantly berated secretary Betty Brant (Elizabeth Banks)
How to spin him off: Spider-Man Origins: JJJ would trace Jameson’s Citizen Kane-esque rise from young, optimistic reporter to the hot-headed newspaper magnate he is today (with a occasional pop-ins from that menace Spider-Man for good measure). In a thrilling subplot, Betty searches the city in a quest to find the perfect cup of coffee before JJJ blows his stack.

Maitre d’ (Bruce Campbell, Spider-Man 3)
campbell-125.jpgWho: One of the many roles Bruce Campbell (already confirmed for the fourth installment) played in the Spider-Man movies.
Supporting Cast: Peter and MJ, befuddled diners
How to spin him off: Our heroic couple returns to the fancy French restaurant so Peter can properly propose. But guess who still works the door? Wacky antics ensue when MJ’s engagement ring is accidentally baked into a souffle and Sandman tries to rob the restaurant (why not, right?). Can the maitre d’ save the day and get Peter to the chapel on time? Look for cameos from Spider-Man‘s wrestling announcer and the rude usher from Spider-Man 2 — all played by Campbell.

Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst)
dunst-125.jpgWho:
Peter Parker’s lady love and moderately successful actress
Supporting Cast: Peter Parker (of course), high school bully Flash Thompson, Aunt May
How to spin her off: Fans are as tired of a mopey MJ as Kirsten Dunst is of being in the franchise, so if she doesn’t shape up, recast the role for an adaptation of the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane comics. This acclaimed series did teen superhero drama right, and was accessible to male and female readers alike.

New Goblin (James Franco)
spider_man_3-125.jpgWho: Harry Osborn, son of Spidey’s arch-nemesis and one of the (far too many) villains in Spider-Man 3
Supporting cast: Mary Jane, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), Hobgoblin
How to spin them off: Of all the Spidey bad guys, Goblin’s rich history makes for the juiciest spin-off. (We all know he’s not really dead.) Franco is a big enough star to carry his own flick, which could find Harry struggling with the evil legacy of his late father (Dafoe, popping up to creep everyone out in flashbacks or whenever Franco looks into a mirror.) But please — ditch the hoverboard.

What Spidey characters do you think deserve a chance to spin their own webs? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll let you know why you’re wrong. Or not.

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Nick Nadel writes for places like HBO and Asylum.com, and is the “geek” blogger for GuySpeak.com. Follow the Comic Book Movies column on Twitter for more superhero news and views.

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