Finally, Spider-Man has been saved. After two entries in the cruelly mistitled “Amazing” Spider-Man reboot, the character has been given a new lease of life by the arrival of Marvel. Teaming up with current rights holders, Sony Pictures, they will be bringing a new iteration of the webslinger to one of Marvel’s currently slated films before 2017 – so either Ant Man, Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange or Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – with a stand-alone Spider-Man film to follow in 2017.
Early reports strongly suggest that Andrew Garfield will be leaving the role and that the new collaboration between Marvel and Sony will follow a young Peter Parker. Again. Sigh. It’s incredibly disappointing that this new venture seems to be following the same, worn-out path as the previous two series, but there’s still something very exciting about seeing the failings of The Amazing Spider-Man corrected. With that in mind, here are our picks for potential Peter Parkers…
Along with Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf (TV), The Maze Runner), Lerman is many people’s frontrunner for the role. He’s young enough to get away with playing a teenager, at least by Hollywood’s skewed standards, and he has a solid body of work behind him, with films such as Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury covering the key Spider-Man ingredients of awkward, angsty and action-packed.
It’s notable that with recent casting decisions, Marvel have been aiming for the biggest names in the business rather than the likes of Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans who were largely unknown when cast. With Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Rudd amongst the latest crowd-pleasing additions to the Marvel roster, could the studios turn to the safest pair of hands in cinema for playing a super-powered, moody teenager? Radcliffe’s acting ability was questioned when he first played Harry Potter, but he’s since shown himself to be a determined performer, keen to push himself in new and challenging directions. Perhaps that very trait is the biggest obstacle to him taking on yet another high-profile franchise role…
Michael Cera would face the opposite problem. He’s not the first name on anybody’s lips when they think of a leading man in a studio superhero film, but it’s not as if he doesn’t have some form in that area. He rocked the kickass-geek look in cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and there’s no one in the world better at the awkward self-deprecating humour which is Peter Parker’s stock-in-trade.
It looks like Garfield is out of the picture, though whose decision that is remains unclear. Along with Emma Stone he was undoubtedly one of the best things about The Amazing Spider-Man and many fans are already clamouring for him to return for one last roll of the dice. Could the self-professed Spider-Man superfan really resist the temptation to return and finally make a good film as Peter Parker? Tell me your mouth isn’t watering at the thought of Garfield making his swansong in, say, Civil War, alongside Captain America and Iron Man.
The continuity of the MCU may become complicated, but there is a tantalising solution. The most ambitious and daring thing that Marvel and Sony could possibly do is to bring Garfield back… and then kill him off. So far Marvel have been reluctant to kill their leading characters, but this would open the door for the most progressive and intriguing possibility… Miles Morales.
*Spoilers for the Spider-Man comics ahead*
In the Ultimate Spider-Man series of comics, Peter Parker is killed by the Green Goblin and his identity as Spider-Man is assumed by the young black-Latino man, Miles Morales. The Marvel Comics team were inspired by Barack Obama’s election and took the chance to update the character for a more modern America. And who better to do that than Donald Glover? He was at the centre of a strong fan campaign to play the role eventually taken by Garfield and he certainly has the comedic talents for the part. The big question is whether he’s young enough. Could the 31-year-old really get away with playing a teenager?
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan would be the strongest candidate of a more suitable age. He’s hot stuff at the moment after progressing from The Wire to The Fantastic Four and he’s shown a great range in his career so far. He’s balanced heartfelt dramatic roles in the likes of Fruitvale Station with a wittier, cockier performance in Chronicle, and if Marvel and Sony want an actor whose star is only going to rise, Jordan is a very safe bet.
Even so, Jordan is still 28 years old, so what if Marvel and Sony take a reality check and cast an actual teenager in the role? Well they could nearly manage just that by casting the 11-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Annie. With a maturity that belies her age, Wallis would be a left-field choice, but one that would add a certain acting pedigree to the MCU. After all, how many other Oscar nominees are up for the part? Lastly, to anyone saying an 11-year-old black girl couldn’t play the role of Miles Morales or Peter Parker, remember that age ain’t nothing but a number and colour is only skin deep.
The final candidate for the role is the name on everyone’s lips. He recently left the job he’s held for over ten years in a move that seemed to coincide suspiciously with the Spider-Man announcement. Yes, it’s the American news presenter you all know and love…
After being suspended by NBC, Brian Williams is looking for something to occupy the next six months and playing Spider-Man is the obvious choice. The big-name anchor may lack acting experience, but he’s proven himself in hostile environments whilst covering the Iraq War for NBC and he has a great track record of lying to those around him – a must for someone harbouring a secret identity like Peter Parker. He may be a controversial choice, but he’s handled himself well when under fire before, so the rage of fanboys will surely be nothing in comparison. His journalistic experience and integrity will stand him in good stead for performing opposite J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle, and frankly, it’s about time more middle-aged white men got a chance to shine in global blockbusters.