It's been known since March 2013 that B.J. Novak -- best known for his 2005 to 2012 stint as Ryan Howard on "The Office" -- would be in this spring's "Amazing Spider-Man 2." Yet his role wasn't known until a tweet Monday afternoon from director Marc Webb named Novak's character as "A. Smythe" -- likely confirmation that Novak is playing Alistair Smythe, a long-running character in the Spidey mythos. (Hat tip to The Hollywood Reporter for noticing.)
Smythe, first introduced in 1985's "The Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #19, is the son of villain Spencer Smythe, creator of the Spider-Slayers. In Marvel's comic books, Alistair took over his father's Spidey-hunting work, and eventually transformed himself into an "Ultimate" Spider-Slayer.
Recently, the character played a prominent role in writer Dan Slott's run on both "Amazing Spider-Man," where his actions led to the death of J. Jonah Jameson's wife Marla; and the current "Superior Spider-Man," where he was one of the most formidable tests for the Doctor Octopus-controlled Spidey. Alistair Smythe was also a frequent villain in the 1990s "Spider-Man" animated series.
The movie, the first of at least three planned sequels to 2012's "Amazing Spider-Man," was already known to have multiple villains in its cast: Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as The Rhino, Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn and Dane DeHaan as Peter Parker's friend Harry Osborn, who based on promotional materials appears to take on the Green Goblin identity in the film.
"Amazing Spider-Man 2," starring Andrew Garfield in the title role, debuts in theaters on May 2. A new extended trailer debuted this past Sunday during the Super Bowl.