What secrets did the viral campaign for ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ reveal?

Marc Webb’s first outing as director of a “Spider-Man” film seems to have been largely embraced by audiences, and in particular, the chemistry between his leads has proven to be the most winning ingredient in the reboot of the series.

It seems like things have been quiet on the “Amazing Spider-Man 2” front lately, but honestly, why keep beating that publicity drum when all the winter movies are just about to come out and there are other movies in the spring aimed at that audience as well. Why not wait until it makes sense to really start hitting audiences hard, and until then, just buckle down and focus on finishing the film?

If you saw the video I ran this summer after Comic-Con, Andrew Garfield and I were very careful to talk our way around a pretty big spoiler for the film. I mentioned it to him before the interview, and he seemed pretty relieved that I didn’t spring it on him when we were actually rolling tape. The thing we did not discuss is not the thing that we’re going to talk about today, but it was related. In short, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is going to have a ton of villains in it.

At the very least, it’s going to work to build a world where those villains exist, whether we actually see them onscreen or not. We’ll definitely see The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) in a smaller role, and we’ll see Electro (Jamie Foxx) as the main villain, but we’ll also be meeting both Norman Osborne (Chris Cooper) and his son Harry Osorne (Dane DeHaan). Felicity Jones is in the film, and the rumor is that she’s Felicia Hardy, aka The Black Cat. All of that would already be a fair amount of characters to juggle for a film like this, but thanks to “The Daily Bugle,” a Tumblr site that is connected to the film and which plays a sort of key role in the film’s viral campaign, it now looks like they’re laying the groundwork for both Hobgoblin and Venom.

How? Well, let’s just say that Google is your friend when it comes to character names on that page.

It’s important to note that the studio changed their plans mid-way through production of this film, and when they announced dates for both “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” (June 2016) and “The Amazing Spider-Man 4” (May 2018), I don’t think that was an accident or an idle bit of date-claiming. They seem to have a very specific narrative plan in place, and every rumor we’ve heard lately seems to suggest they’re setting up a two-part Sinister Six event. By the end of this second film, at least four of those players will have appeared onscreen: the Lizard, the Rhino, Electro and… someone else, ahem… and it seems like they’re being careful not to kill any of them prematurely, either. If we’re ever going to see the comic-book movie evolve, long-range character planning seems like an important step in that process.

Do we know for sure Hobgoblin and Venom will round out the film version of the Sinister Six? Nope. But it seems like Sony wants to start suggesting all sorts of possibilities, and I would expect they’re paying close attention to whatever conversations are kick-started by this sort of online clues.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” swings into theaters May 2, 2014.