As the first Amazing Spider-Man film ended two year ago, fans were left scratching their heads as to the identity of the mysterious man who appeared in Curt Connor’s jail cell at the end of the film. We had several ideas of our own which we discussed here. The trench coat and fedora-wearing stranger appeared again in last weekend’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, and even though he is given a name this time out – Mr. Feirs – even diehard Spidey fans might still be scratching their heads as to his identity. And that’s because although he is a Spider-Man villain, he has never squared off against the wallcrawler in any comic book.
Mr. Gustav Fiers, or as he is sometimes known as, The Gentleman, is actually the chief villain from novelist Adam-Troy Castro’s trio of Spider-Man novels published in the late 1990s/early 2000s. A behind-the-scenes manipulator and criminal mastermind with an unusually long lifespan, Fiers spent much of the 20th century being involved with such events from the Hindenburg disaster to the death of Marilyn Monroe and the Vietnam War and with such noteables as Al Capone, Henry Ford, Italian radical terrorist group the Red Brigade and more. In addition to being a bit of villainous Forrest Gump through the past century’s history, he also saw business with some of Marvel’s dastardliest including the Red Skull, AIM and Hydra. Castro even worked in some references that Fiers has interacted with characters from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Casablanca, North By Northwest, Marathon Man, Trading Places and more!
But the most important thing about Fiers, at least for the purposes of the Spider-Man movies, is his involvement with Peter Parker’s family. He first encountered Peter’s parents Richard and Mary Parker when they were American agents helping to rescue a Canadian agent named Logan (yeah, exactly who you think that is) who had infiltrated Fiers’ organization. For that, Fiers was instrumental in orchestrating the Parkers’ deaths, though he wanted the infant Peter to live so he could take his revenge on him later. Years later, when he learned that Peter was actually Spider-Man, he headed to New York to recruit the villains known collectively as the Sinister Six into his plans.
As seen in the final scenes of Amazing Spider-Man 2, we see that this version of Fiers is still an instrument, behind-the-scenes force of the Sinister Six. However, it looks as if much of the background and motivation that Castro imbued the character have been stripped in favor of turning him into an employee of OsCorp. And while it does appear as if the character has been vastly diminished for his role here, I have to give credit to the folks at the franchise for including a character from outside of the comics in the films. It was certainly one which most probably didn’t even consider as being part of the rights package owned by the studio, which was probably a key factor in fans not guessing who it was underneath that pulled-low fedora. In fact, even Castro, in a short email exchange with me, admitted that he only found out that the character he created was going to be in the film “when Marc Webb teased the Gentleman to a comic-con audience.”
So what does the future hold for Mr. Fiers? Well, I suspect that he will be taking a much larger role as the film franchise continues through Amazing Spider-Man 3 and the Sinister Six spin-off. In fact, we almost saw a bit more of him during the closing moments of the current film. Remember how we saw him strolling through the OsCorp secret projects lab past tech that looked as if it will be used by the likes of Doc Ock and the Vulture? Well, there was some additional footage shot there, with Fiers entering another section of the vault to where Norman Osbourn’s severed head is being held in some form of cryogenic deep freeze. The scene suggests that Norman will be back and that Fiers might be even be working more for the elder Osbourn rather than the younger Harry. It would also explain two other mysteries – 1) Why would the film hire on an actor of Chris Cooper’s stature for what amounted to a cameo scene if they weren’t planning on bringing him back in some capacity in the future and 2) What those scientists were doing with that green laser scanner thing they were using in the scene immediately following the death of Norman. (Thanks to Screen Rant for doing the detective work on this.)