Warning: Spoilers from Spider-Man: Far From Home are ahead.
Seriously. Big ol' Spoilers.
Another Marvel movie, another character who presents themselves as an ally who ends up turning out to be the villain. Yes, we just saw this earlier this year with Captain Marvel and Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg (this Kree is bad!), and it happened again with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In every released trailer for the movie, he presents himself as a friend and new father figure for Peter Parker, but in the end, he turn out to be bad news. In the comics, Mysterio is a known Spider-Man villain and trickster, and while Marvel has certainly done role reversals with characters in the past, that simply wasn't the case for poor Peter this time.
We first meet Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and learn his supposed life story via what Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) are told: Mysterio is stuck on Earth after a ripple in the multiverse (thanks to the snaps of the Infinity Gauntlet), and he’s now trying to help battle an evil force that came over to this side with him, the Elementals. Easier said than done, as Nick Fury enlists Spider-Man’s help to team up with Mysterio to stop them.
This certainly seems like a good idea at the time for Peter — considering he’s just looking for guidance and help after the death of Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) — but he really needed tread lightly. Beck is actually a disgruntled former employee of Tony Stark and he's out to use his band of tech geniuses to create and solve superhero problems, essentially rendering him the next (albeit dishonest) Iron Man. And while it's shocking, honestly, comic book readers probably saw the twist in which Beck betrays Peter coming from a mile away.
In the comics, Quentin is a failed actor but one who’s pretty good with special effects. He takes on the mantel Mysterio and starts using his special effects knowledge to trick people into thinking he’s actually got special powers. After Spider-Man foiled one of his first criminal attempts, he vowed to get revenge on the web-slinger and was a constant thorn in Peter’s side throughout the comics.
Mysterio even joined the Sinister Six, a criminal organization started by Doctor Octopus — who hasn’t appeared in the MCU yet but did appear in Spider-Man 2 back in 2004. The idea of the Sinister Six joining the MCU has long been teased, and the Vulture from Homecoming is also part of the group. Mysterio now might be the one to really jumpstart them.
But, ahead of Far From Home everyone really tried to tell us that now Mysterio is a nice guy. During a set visit, director John Watts told Nerdist that, “Mysterio is a hero in our world,” with Holland adding that, “It’s very much a ‘big brother-little brother’ relationship [between us]. Mysterio is always sort of sticking up for me and patting me on the back and telling me I did a good job.”
In saying that, the filmmakers are also quick to tease that they are potentially setting up a switch with the character. Watts explained to io9 that Mysterio was chosen for Far From Home, “Because of who he is, what he may-or-may-not be able to do, it’s really opened up a lot of possibilities for the kind of story we can tell with him.” Executive producer Eric Carroll also hinted that Mysterio might be good right now, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be bad later, saying, “We wanted to give them time to have relationships so when and if we get to do something different with Mysterio, it really feels like a betrayal...and we’re hopefully setting the stage for something really spectacular and that feels really Spider-Man, which is, again, if we get to do something else with this character, then they’ve already got this really personal relationship.”
Damn. We really should have seen this whole thing coming.