By Desirae Martinez
SAN ANTONIO—After months of rumors, Sony and Marvel confirmed the speculation of nerds everywhere and agreed to share custody of Spider-Man on film.
The announcement could not have come at a better time, considering Marvel’s next big movie will follow the storyline from the Civil War comics, in which Spider-Man plays a key role. But the big question on everyone’s mind is: who should play the iconic web-slinger, wisecracking hero?
So far, the names being thrown around are Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner). Both actors are already linked to their own franchises but I’m sure either would break their contracts in a heartbeat to play Spider-Man. While those actors are reasonable and safe choices, I think Marvel should break boundaries and cast Donald Glover as the first African American Spider-Man on screen.
Glover is probably best known for his role as college student Troy Barnes on Community and his rap career under the stage name Childish Gambino. But he has an edge over other Spidey contenders by already having voiced him (or at least an incarnation of him).
Glover was the voice of Miles Morales, who takes over the role of Spider-Man when Peter Parker dies, on the animated television series Ultimate Spider-Man.
While Glover has proven to have the voice work and charisma of being a superhero, it would also be beneficial for Marvel to cast him and break racial boundaries.
Consider this, Captain America: Civil War is set to be released in May 2016 when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (the film that killed the Spider-Man franchise (again!)) was released just last year. That gives fans two years to forget about Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man yet Marvel’s plan is to cast an Andrew Garfield look-a-like (Dylan O’Brien). Not a great plan.
By casting Glover, Marvel will be able to separate itself from the disappointment that was The Amazing Spider-Man 2, not to mention give Peter Parker a fresh look and empower the African American community.
So far, black superheroes such as War Machine (Iron Man 2 and 3) and Falcon (Captain America: Winter Soldier) have only had supporting roles in Marvel movies. Black Panther, who will be played by Chadwick Boseman, was about to break those boundaries by first being introduced in the upcoming Civil War then having his own solo movie in 2017.
Unfortunately, with the addition of Spider-Man, Black Panther’s own movie has been pushed back to 2018 to make room for a new solo Spider-Man movie after Civil War. Although it’s unfair to Black Panther, can you blame Marvel for wanting to cash in and put one of their most beloved superheroes before one of their lesser known ones?
But just because Black Panther’s film was pushed back doesn’t mean Marvel still can’t release their first black superhero film in 2017. Black Panther was a good starting point but Marvel should think bigger, take the risk and cast Donald Glover as Peter Parker. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Marvel.