'Spider-Man 4' Villain Rumor Mill: It's The Lizard. Wait, It's Black Cat! No, It's...

Spider-ManThese days, it's hard to tell which movie has a larger rumor mill churning around it: "Spider-Man 4" or "Batman 3." Both record-breaking franchises have seen their upcoming installments surrounded by casting and story rumors since the moment the last film wrapped, and with both projects, the focus of much of that speculation has been on the potential villains.

While we try to limit our reporting on the various unsourced, anonymous rumors percolating around the 'Net to responses we receive from the relevant filmmakers and actors, every now and then it's worth collecting them for the sake of discussion. So, consider this your "Spider-Man 4" rumor roundup, folks—the villain edition.

Oh, and keep in mind—most of these rumors end up being just another casting announcement or plot point created out of thin air to stir up traffic. So take 'em all with a mountain-sized grain of salt.

The LizardTHE LIZARD: Last month, Sam Raimi commented on the results of our "Spider-Man 4" villains poll, and offered some thoughts on the poll's top vote-earners, The Lizard and Carnage. A week later, we received confirmation that actor Dylan Baker would reprise his role as Dr. Curt Connors (The Lizard's alter ego) in "Spider-Man 4."

Cut to a few days later, and MarketSaw reports the following: "We all pretty much knew that either The Lizard and/or Carnage would be in this movie and now we have word that it will be The Lizard ONLY. No multiple villains. Again, strong source here. Of course, things could change - but it is highly doubtful."

Despite its anonymous sourcing, the report found legs around the 'Net and cast a fairly wide net—leading many sites to assume that all was set in stone for Spidey's upcoming clash with The Lizard.

But wait, is that another anonymously sourced "Spider-Man 4" rumor around the corner? Get ready for...

THE BLACK CAT: Back in June, we told you about a great bunch of fan-made "Spider-Man 4" posters that featured Eliza Dushku as Felicia Hardy (a.k.a. The Black Cat), the cat burglar and occasional love interest for Peter Parker. The character was originally rumored as one of the prime candidates for a debut in "Spider-Man 3," but like most comic book characters, a good casting rumor never stays dead for long.

Earlier this week, Mania.com reported (courtesy of an anonymous, unspecific source) that not only is Black Cat once again in the picture for "Spider-Man 4," but actress Rachel McAdams has met with the film's producers about the role.

Black Cat"McAdams (of 'Wedding Crashers' and 'Sherlock Holmes' fame) is said to be a top contender for the role of Felicia Hardy, known to comic fans as The Black Cat," reports the site. "Our sources tell us that the Black Cat's story fits well with Raimi's Spider-Man formula, which always finds the villains troubling not only the costumed hero, but also becoming entangled in Peter Parker's personal life as well."

According to Mania, "Spider-Man 4" will indeed be a two-villain movie—with their anonymous source refuting the claims of the prior anonymous source who, well... you get the idea.

"Our source also says they are casting for a male villain, but had few details," reports the site. "However, this would seem to discount the idea that Lizard is the primary, since the role of Dr. Conners has been cast since movie #2."

However, despite the layers of anonymous sources adding to the "Spider-Man 4" villain drama, there is at least one actress who's gone public about a potential role in the film.

"Emma" star Romola Garai recently mentioned in a column for The Observer that she'd auditioned for a role in "Spider-Man 4"—though she confessed that her chances of getting the part were slim. While she didn't mention which part she was up for, the 'Net has already been buzzing that it was Black Cat, with the two pieces of Black Cat coverage feeding off each other and creating a perfect storm of online speculation.

So, with all that in mind, where does the "Spider-Man 4" villain situation stand? Well, I have big news for you, folks. My own anonymous source with close connections to Spider-Man has revealed the villain in the next film. Created by comic book icons Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the character will make his big-screen debut in "Spider-Man 4," though the part has yet to be cast.

Consider this your SPOILER ALERT and read on at your own peril, true believers. I'll give you time to decide whether you want the film ruined...

Okay?

Made your decision?

Revealed exclusively to Splash Page by an anonymous source, the villain of "Spider-Man 4" will be...

Hypno Hustler


HYPNO HUSTLER!

Debuting in a 1978 issue of "Spectacular Spider-Man," Hypno Hustler has the ability to hypnotize victims with the the musical stylings of his guitar and backup band, The Mercy Killers. He uses the knockout gas and retractable knives in his boots to rob, murder and otherwise sow the seeds of chaos, and will likely prove to be one of Peter Parker's most troublesome nemesis thus far in the film franchise.

As my source points out, Hypno Hustler's music-based powers continue the tone of the previous film, and offer the chance to build on the musical element in the third installment of the franchise. While casting hasn't begun for the part yet, we can probably expect some rumors to hit the 'Net any day now regarding producers' top choices for the role.

So, there you have it, folks. It's Hypno Hustler in "Spider-Man 4."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I promised to bring my anonymous source a PB&J (sans crusts) before nap time today. He's a little hellion when he's cranky, but he does love his Spider-Man.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're fairly certain that Hypno Hustler will not be in "Spider-Man 4"—but heck, a guy can dream.

Related Posts:

- The Lizard And Carnage Top 'Spider-Man 4' Villain Poll!

- EXCLUSIVE: Sam Raimi Talks 'Spider-Man 4’ Villain Possibilities -- But Will He Go Obscure?

- Sam Raimi Says 'Spider-Man 4’ Villains Won't Be Announced Until Script Is Finished