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Everything you need to know about Mysterio, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Spider-Man villain

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Mysterio is a Hollywood special effects-designer-turned-supervillain

Mysterio and Spider-Man on the cover of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13, Marvel Comics (2006). Mike Wieringo/Marvel Comics

The first trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home have given us our first look at Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, the classic Spider-Man villain with a dome on his head.

Once upon a time, Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of the webslinger himself, after Tobey Maguire injured his back during the filming of Seabiscuit. But this summer the actor will find himself playing antagonist to Tom Holland, who returns to the role of Peter Parker after being snapped in Avengers: Infinity War (he seems fine now).

But who is Mysterio? What’s under all that green smoke and especially that fishbowl helmet?

Meet Quentin Beck

Mysterio is a Spider-Man villain with a considerable pedigree, having been invented by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #13. He was even in the original lineup of the Sinister Six, the dastardly and recurring team-up of Spider-Man’s biggest bad guys.

Although several fictional men have taken on Mysterio’s identity over the years, the first and most famous character to wear the costume is Quentin Beck. Beck is a special effects “wizard,” stuntman, and magician, who also dabbles in chemistry and robotics. He turned to supervillainy in pursuit of the fame he feels he so rightly deserves.

Basically: He’s Adam Savage, but evil.

When Beck failed to transition his career to acting and directing he grew frustrated with his industry’s refusal to recognize his talents, and he decided that the next best way to get famous would be to kill a superhero. He chose Spider-Man because, and I am not making this up, he thought he would be the easiest.

As Mysterio, he used his knowledge of practical effects and live theater staging to mesmerize and confuse Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and his knowledge of fighting styles from his stunt work to go toe-to-toe with Spider-Man in combat.

Mysterio and Spider-Man on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #66, Marvel Comics (1968).
Man, I can’t wait to check out page 32.
John Romita Sr./Marvel Comics

His singular costume features a plexiglass dome that works like a one-way mirror: He can see out, but others can’t see in. It also includes its own air supply — because his boots vent gas to obscure his movements. Often, he laces that gas with chemical compounds with a variety of effects; eroding Spider-Man’s spider-sense (or literally eroding his webbing), paralyzing those who breathe it, or to making them more susceptible to suggestion and hallucinations. He is also a proficient hypnotist.

Mysterio is definitely a villain with a lot of cinematic potential, given the reliance of many modern superhero films on computer-generated effects rather than physical ones. Trailers for the new movie have shown Mysterio battling several CGI elemental colossi, and with his powers, it’s entirely possible — maybe even likely — that he’s creating his own monsters to battle in order to gain fame as a superhero.

Spider-Man: Far From Home will hit theaters on July 5, 2019 — two months after Avengers: Endgame, which will mark a distinct ending of an era for the storied superhero franchise. Far From Home will be the first movie to take place after Avengers: Endgame, and continue the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.