On the heels of Venom, and Morbius, Sony Pictures is expanding its Spider-Man Villain cinematic universe in the most unexpected way imaginable — with news of a Hypno-Hustler movie, of all things. But here’s the true surprise about the whole thing: it might actually be great.
For those unfamiliar with the Hypno-Hustler, don’t worry; you’re far from alone, with the character having appeared less than 20 times since his debut in 1978’s Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #24. The creation of the great Bill Mantlo — co-creator of Rocket Raccoon and Cloak and Dagger — and artist Frank Springer, the Hypno-Hustler is a disco-themed villain who uses his music to mesmerize his marks before robbing them blind. As you might imagine, the majority of his appearances to date have treated the character as comic relief, but that might change if this movie turns out well.
There’s good reason to be excited about the movie, beyond the unexpected protagonist; according to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, Miles Mitchell Murphy is on board to write the project, with none other than Donald Glover attached to produce and star in the movie.
This is far from Glover’s first brush with Spider-Man — he voiced Miles Morales in the Disney XD series Ultimate Spider-Man, and even appeared in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming as Aaron Davis, a villain looking to buy weapons from the movie’s primary antagonist, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) — but it’s certainly his most high-profile. The THR report suggests that he was lured to the project by the musical elements implicit in the character’s central concept, as well as the strength of Murphy’s take on the character.
Should it go ahead, the untitled Hypno-Hustler movie would be Sony’s fourth franchise based on a Spider-Man villain — beyond Venom and Morbius, the studio is currently working on Kraven the Hunter, with an October 6, 2023 release scheduled. And if this sounds just a little too obscure to be true, just remember: Sony is also working on an El Muerto movie, and that character has only appeared twice.
Hopefully, this movie will have more luck than the announced-but-unmade Star Wars: Lando series that Glover was attached to a couple of years back…