The official trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has dropped, and eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted a certain scaly supervillain perched on scaffolding and looking for a fight. Who is the Lizard, aka Dr. Curtis Connors, and what is his history in past Spider-Man films and comics? We’ve assembled this Sinister Twelve member's background information in anticipation for his universe-hopping appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Dr. Curtis “Curt” Connors made his first comic appearance in November 1963 in issue #6 of The Amazing Spider-Man. Born in Coral Gables, Florida, he met his wife, Martha, in college, and the two would later have a son named Billy. After attending medical school where he received dual doctorates in biology and biochemistry, he enlisted in the army where he operated as an emergency surgeon for wounded soldiers. It was during this time that an explosion would claim his right arm. He later became obsessed with the regenerative power of lizards, utilizing his time as a civilian to develop a serum that could be used to regrow lost limbs.
In a horrific monkey's-paw turn of events, the serum he injected himself with succeeded in regenerating his lost arm, but subsequently changed his DNA and transformed him into the villain we’d later come to know as the Lizard. As the Lizard, his powers include regeneration, super strength, agility, and reflexes. In addition to his super-tuned abilities, he also has sharp teeth and claws, as well as a powerful tail that acts as an extension of his body. Peter Parker visits Florida on assignment from the Daily Bugle and encounters the Lizard, reverse engineering an antidote and temporarily curing Dr. Connors of his affliction. Future issues proved this solution to be short-lived, as Dr. Connors regularly reverts back into the Lizard and complicates Peter Parker’s life.
Spider-Man: No Way Home won’t be Dr. Connors’ first foray into film, as the character has appeared in two of the Tobey Maguire films as well as 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield.
Portrayed by Dylan Baker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007), Dr. Connors was a teacher and academic mentor to Peter Parker, who was enrolled in his physics class at Columbia University. In Spider-Man 3 he helps Peter analyze the symbiote, warning him that bonding with it could lead to aggression in the host. In later interviews, Sam Raimi revealed that the script for Spider-Man 4 had Dr. Connors transforming into the Lizard, with Dylan Baker reportedly excited by the opportunity. However, the movie was never made, and the franchise was rebooted in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man.
In The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Rhys Ifans portrayed the character, who in this universe is employed as a biologist at Oscorp. A friend of Peter’s late father, his work at Oscorp entailed creating a serum to regrow human tissue that utilized human and animal genetics. After losing his job for refusing to rush into human trails, he applies the serum to himself, becoming the Lizard. The serum distorts his mind, and he hatches a plan to turn all humans into similar lizard-people. Later “cured” by Peter and imprisoned, the film's post-credit scene shows him speaking with a man who asks if Dr. Connors told Peter about the fate of his father, before disappearing.
So is the Lizard from the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer the same Lizard as in the Sam Raimi or Andrew Garfield films? Potentially! The few seconds of screen time we see of him show a creature with a strong resemblance to the Lizard from the 2012 film; with his flat, human-like face and large tail. Rumors have long circulated that Rhys Ifans will return to reprise his role as the character, and a print article from Empire Magazine alluded to this possibility. Regardless, the film’s release this December will mark the characters first official appearance in the MCU, opening up a wealth of possibilities for future appearances in the MCU and Spider-Verse.
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