If you have watched The Amazing Spider-Man movies (2012-2014), then you probably are wondering who the Man in the Shadows is? He is the character who appears in both films, yet slinks around in the background with limited screen time.
Well, if you want to know a little bit more about the Man in the Shadows, you have come to the right place. Not only will I tell you where he can be found in both Amazing movies, but I can also tell you who he is and what he is doing in the films.
First up, let’s recap where he can be found in each picture.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The Man in the Shadows makes his first appearance at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man. If you don’t sit through a few of the end credits you will miss him.
After the initial set of credits appear, a scene opens up to show Dr. Curt Connors in a prison cell. Connors has been put in the cell following his transformation into The Lizard and it is here that he receives a visitor.
Although Connors appears to be alone, a voice suddenly calls out from the shadows. It is here that the following exchange takes place:
The Man in the Shadows: “Hello doctor. Did you tell the boy?”
Connors: “Tell him what?”
The Man in the Shadows: “Did you tell the boy the truth about his father?”
The Man in the Shadows: “Well that’s very good. We’ll let him be for now.”
Connors: “You should leave him alone.”
After this exchange there is a flash of lightning, followed by the feeling that Connors is now alone in his cell. The scene fades to black and the credits continue.
There is no explanation as to who the voice belongs to, and the character is not named during the exchange. However, in the credits, the character is listed as ‘Man in the Shadows’, with actor Michael Massee taking on the part.
The “boy” that is mentioned during the exchange is Peter Parker.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
When the ‘Man in the Shadows’ reappears it is during the final act of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This time he visits Harry Osborn, who is locked up at Ravencroft Institute following his transformation into the Green Goblin.
Once again there is an exchange.
Harry: “You’ve made progress.”
The Man in the Shadows: “I’ve identified several worthy candidates. Now that Spider-Man’s gone, this city will never be the same.”
Harry: “Oh, I’m counting on that.”
The Man in the Shadows: “Speaking of progress, you’re looking better.”
Harry: “It comes and goes. Tell me more.”
The Man in the Shadows: “How many men did you have in mind?”
Harry: “I want to keep it small. Everything you need is already at Oscorp.”
Cut to a scene at Oscorp, and a voice-activated security system identifies the ‘Man in the Shadows’ as Mr. Fiers. Here, Fiers is seen walking past a collection of weapons, including the tentacles of Doctor Octopus, the wings of the Vulture, and a Rhino suit.
The discussion that took place between Harry and Fiers is about the formation of a supervillain group. Oscorp has been developing weapons and Fiers has an idea of who he can recruit for the team.
Who is Mr. Fiers?
So, thanks to a namedrop in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it is established that the Man in the Shadows is actually called Mr. Fiers. In Spider-Man mythology, Mr. Fiers is better known as Gustav Fiers aka The Gentleman.
The Gentleman originated in a series of Spider-Man novels, beginning with Spider-Man: The Gathering of the Sinister Six, which was published in 1999. He later reappeared in Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six and Spider-Man: Secret of the Sinister Six, before being transported across to the comics.
As you might have guessed by now, the character was a background player in the formation of the villainous Sinister Six – a team of Spider-Man’s most fearsome foes.
What is The Gentleman’s role in The Amazing Spider-Man movies?
Although his motivations are never truly explained in the Amazing movies, from his brief appearances as well as his exchanges with Curt Connors and Harry Osborn, The Gentleman appears to be keeping a careful watch on everything to do with Spider-Man.
In The Amazing Spider-Man it is established that The Gentleman knows Peter’s secret identity. When he mentions the “truth” about Peter’s father, he is referring to an experiment that Richard Parker was working on, which indirectly transformed Peter into Spider-Man.
Reading between the lines, The Gentleman is intrigued by this situation and is happy to sit back and watch what Spider-Man does next. He is interested to see what choices Spidey makes and whether this will benefit him.
Fast forward to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Gentleman is now working closely with Harry Osborn on a project to form a team. He mentions that Spider-Man has “gone” which suggests this exchange takes place during a period in which Spidey is on a leave of absence (following the death of his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy).
From this second exchange it is now clear that Spider-Man is no longer of interest to The Gentleman and this group he is putting together will include new people.
As The Amazing Spider-Man film series ended after the second entry, the full details of the group remain somewhat of a mystery. However, thanks to a few details revealed on screen, as well as some behind the scenes information regarding the Amazing series, some of the motivations of The Gentleman can be pieced together.
Firstly, the group he is trying to form is the Sinister Six. The group that he helped create in the aforementioned Spider-Man novels, is the same group he is trying to create in the film series.
How do I know this? Because when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was in production, Sony Pictures – the studio behind the Spider-Man movies – was in discussions to develop a film based around the Sinister Six. The film was to be released after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but before The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
While neither the Sinister Six movie or The Amazing Spider-Man 3 went ahead, director Marc Webb has let out a few titbits about what the films might have included. I’ve written a post about The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which you should check out, but in short, a newly resurrected Norman Osborn would have been involved in some capacity, and the Vulture would have been part of the team.
As for the rest of the group, well Doctor Octopus’s tentacles were viewed in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the Rhino was introduced at the very end of the movie. The Green Goblin – be it Norman or Harry – would likely have been included in the team too.
So, that’s Green Goblin, Vulture, Doctor Octopus and Vulture. That covers four spaces in the team of six.
The other two spots could have been left over for established characters, such as The Lizard who was already part of the movie series, or they could have been reserved for new blood. It has never been made clear.
Either way, The Gentleman was introduced into The Amazing Spider-Man films to help usher in the Sinister Six. Had the series lasted a little longer we would have seen his plan come to fruition, but instead we were largely given a background player that lurked in the shadows.
So, next time you watch The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, keep an eye out for The Gentleman. He is up to something and now you know what it is.