Note: Contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
As soon as we got our first look at Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel fans were immediately suspicious.
The first trailer set up Jake Gyllenhaal’s goldfish-bowl-headed character as a hero and potential new mentor to Peter Parker (Tom Holland), and that’s what everyone involved in the movie insisted right up until the release of the Homecoming sequel.
But wait. Isn’t Mysterio a villain in the comics? Did Marvel pull another heel-face turn with a classic villain like they did with the Skrulls in Captain Marvel?
We’re about to head into a web of spoilers to explain Mysterio’s role in Spider-Man: Far From Home, so swing away now if you haven’t seen it.
As in the comics, Mysterio’s real name is Quentin Beck and in Far From Home, it’s actually an Italian news report of the attack in Venice that gives him his Mysterio name. He’s called a “L’uomo di misterio” (man of mystery), with Mysterio being the moniker that sticks.
Beck claims to be from a different reality (Earth-833 as opposed to Peter’s Earth-616), but – shocker – he’s a massive liar.
It turns out he’s a former employee of Tony Stark and was responsible for his holographic technology, unhappy that Tony took his “life’s work” and made it into an expensive form of therapy (as we saw in Captain America: Civil War) and calling it BARF, of all things.
So Beck teams up with fellow disgruntled former Stark employees, including William Ginter Riva (Peter Billingsley) who appeared in the first Iron Man movie, to create the illusion of the Elementals.
The goal? To swoop in each time and save the day, becoming the world’s most-beloved superhero in the process.
While this reveal wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to Spider-Man comic fans, the revelation of how it’s linked to Tony’s legacy is something solely created for the MCU’s version of Mysterio.
In the comics, Beck is a former movie special-effects specialist who uses his mastery of illusion to commit crimes. His powers aren’t magical – instead he uses technology, sleight-of-hand, hypnosis and other tricks to deceive his enemies. He Derren Browns them.
Beck’s arc in Far From Home actually echoes his first appearance in 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man #13, in which he initially pretended to be a crime fighter.
Otherwise though, the storyline is completely new for the MCU. But can we gather any knowledge about what might happen next with Mysterio from the comics?
At the end of Far From Home, Beck is seemingly fatally wounded by one of the mechanised drones, with EDITH confirming his death to Peter. However, trickster that he is, could Beck still actually be alive and have hacked EDITH to tell Peter a lie?
We can’t rule anything out and Beck has faked his death in the comics, or at least claimed to have faked his death. Another non-death of Mysterio came when he was declared legally dead after trying to escape from prison.
His cellmate Daniel Berkhard took over the identity of Mysterio, leaving Beck to start a new criminal life by using a former identity, Ludwig Rinehart, in Amazing Spider-Man #193. This saw him fool Peter into thinking Aunt May had died at the Restwell Nursing Home, before Peter realised who Dr Rinehart really was and defeated Mysterio… again.
Far From Home showed how adept Beck was at using the holographic technology to create harrowing visions for Peter (hi, zombie Iron Man). It’s possible that if he isn’t dead, Beck could come back in Spider-Man 3 and torment Peter again.
We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
However, given that his death set up the brilliant mid-credits scene as his dying declaration saw him reveal Spider-Man’s true identity, we feel that Beck’s race is run in the MCU and he is actually dead.
That doesn’t rule out one of his team of ex-Stark employees coming back and taking on the Mysterio mantle though.
After all, you can’t really see who’s behind that fishbowl helmet when it’s on…
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in cinemas now.