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Why Didn't We See Vulture In Spider-Man: No Way Home?

Warning: contains spoilers ahead for "Spider-Man: No Way Home"

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" is chock full of villains from former Spidey films, with Alfred Molina's Doc Ock making a grand entrance by tearing apart a highway in pursuit of Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the second act. Stealing the show is Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn, who plays nice before delivering a devastating blow as Green Goblin. Then there's Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and Lizard (Rhys Ifans) — one from each of the five "Spider-Man" movies outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) from the "Venom" franchise pops up in a quick post-credits scene, though he's far too busy getting his mind blown by the existence of the MCU to take any real part in the grand scheme of "No Way Home" things. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough multiverse goodness, the movie also gives fans the glorious return of two previous big-screen Peter Parkers, portrayed by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.  

With all the returning villains, many were no doubt wondering if Vulture from "Spider-Man: Homecoming" would show up, too. In the MCU, Michael Keaton's Vulture, aka Adrian Toomes, is Spidey's first supervillain. He cuts a menacing figure in the film with his giant mechanical wings, but ends the movie foiled by the Webhead. We last saw him in one of the "Homecoming" post-credits scenes where he's in prison talking to Mac Gargan, aka Scorpion (Michael Mando), and is unwilling to reveal Spider-Man's identity.

Despite the tease in that post-credits scene, Vulture plays no part in "No Way Home." Here's why we think he was absent.

The villains are all from other iterations of Spider-Man

Due to Peter botching Doctor Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) spell, Spider-Man villains from other universes are pulled into the MCU timeline. Those who know Spider-Man's true identity come through, which is the opposite effect of what the spell intended. However, all members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery who prominently feature in the movie — as well as the figures you see knocking at the proverbial door during the movie's climax — have one thing in common. They're all coming through from other universes ... and the only ones who actually make it through are characters who have already been in different "Spider-Man" movies. Dafoe's Green Goblin, Molina's Doc Ock, and Church's Sandman all hail from Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy, while Ifans' Lizard and Foxx's Electro both come from Marc Webb's "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies, and Hardy's Venom is his own thing. The movie also seems to go for one iconic villain per movie, which rules out baddies like James Franco's New Goblin. 

Sure, Keaton's Vulture knows Spider-Man's identity, but since the movie's villains are specifically from different universes, that pretty much rules Mr. Toomes out. After all, Vulture is already firmly entrenched in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so he doesn't really fit the villain requirements to play a big role in "No Way Home." Besides, even if he did, there's the fact that as far as viewers know, Vulture is still in prison after the events of "Spider-Man: Homecoming." 

There may be bigger plans for Vulture in the future

As "Spider-Man: No Way Home" readily and repeatedly proves, you can never count a good Spider-Man villain out just because they've been defeated in one movie. Besides, Michael Keaton's impeding return as Batman implies that the acting legend is still perfectly willing to operate in the world of superheroes. As such, it might very well be that one of the reasons you didn't see Keaton's flying villain in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is that he's already set to feature in another upcoming project.  

recent trailer of the movie revealed that some version of Vulture will likely be in Sony's upcoming "Morbius" – at least, judging by the fact that Keaton appears as a man who sure seems to be Adrian Toomes, talking to the titular Dr. Morbius (Jared Leto). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton is indeed playing Vulture in the movie, even though it appears that "Morbius" doesn't take place in the MCU. Instead, it exists in the same universe as "Venom," which is certainly different from the MCU, going by the fact that the "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home" post-credits scenes depict Eddie Brock being transported between the two universes.

As such, it certainly seems that you will see Keaton's Vulture sooner rather than later ... only, it's in a different corner of the multiverse than you might have expected.