Actor Tom Holland is your new Peter Parker. Jon Watts will be your next Spider-Director.
It’s officially official now. What do you think, Crawlspacers?
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios are proud to announce that after a full worldwide casting search, Tom Holland will play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the next Spider-Man film, in theaters in IMAX and 3D on July 28, 2017. The film will be directed by Jon Watts, director of “Cop Car,” the upcoming thriller that made its debut earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.
Marvel and Sony Pictures, and producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal conducted an extensive search for both the actor and the director. The studios and producers were impressed by Holland’s performances in “The Impossible,” “Wolf Hall,” and the upcoming “In the Heart of the Sea,” and by a series of complex screen tests. Following Marvel’s tradition of working with the brightest next wave of directors, Watts also went through multiple meetings with Feige, Pascal, and the studio, before winning the job.
Commenting on the announcement, Tom Rothman, Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman, said, “It’s a big day here at Sony. Kevin, Amy and their teams have done an incredible job. The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding. I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception. I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent. For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start.”
Feige commented, “As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life. We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.”
Pascal added, “Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world. With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Sony Pictures will finance and release worldwide the next installment of the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise on July 28, 2017, in a film co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the Web-Slinger.
UPDATES below the fold!
Your New Spider-Man Is a…Fresh-Faced White Dude. Great.
When Marvel and Sony announced Spider-Man’s inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year, fans got excited that we could see a fresh take on the character, rather than just another fresh-faced white dude. (No offense to fresh-faced white dudes.) In particular, the studio had a chance to shift gears and make the new cinematic Spider-Man not Peter Parker, but Miles Morales—the half-black, half-Latino teenager who wears the Spidey suit in the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. The prospect of that was virtually nil (though Morales is taking over as the web-slinger in the comics), but there was still a shot that Peter Parker could be re-imagined.
By “fans got excited” she means “my friends on Gawker and Tumblr.”
2:33 PM CST – Reaction from Forbes.com’s Scott Mendelson:
Marvel’s New Spider-Man Is Our Third White Peter Parker In 15 Years…
Our long national nightmare is over, as Marvel and Sony Pictures have finally cast their all-new Peter Parker in their all-new Spider-Man movie. And the winner is Tom Holland. He will be playing Spider-Man first in a glorified cameo for Captain America: Civil War and then again in a stand-alone Spider-Man movie that is due to be released on July 28th, 2017 and directed by Jon Watts (Clown, the Kevin Bacon thriller Cop Car). He will be following in the footsteps of Toby Maguire who played the role in the three Sam Raimi films from 2002 to 2007 and Andrew Garfield who played the character in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014. When Civil War opens next May, he will be the third actor to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in a live action film franchise in 15 years. He will also be the third white guy to play the role in 15 years. And yeah, that is ever-so-slightly disappointing.
There was talk back in February when Marvel and Sony came to their arrangements that our third Spidey would be a minority actor and/or a minority actor playing Miles Morales. In the end Marvel, Walt Disney and Sony went with the traditional choice, even casting yet another British actor as an American superhero. But to be fair to all parties, it was unlikely that Disney and Marvel would pass on the opportunity to put their personal mark on their most iconic character in their most well-known variation. Racial politics aside, it would be like Joel Schumacher bringing on Robin in Batman Forever but going with Tim Drake the first time out. For most people, Robin is still Dick Grayson, young orphaned circus acrobat turned Batman’s junior partner, as opposed to Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and/or Damien Wayne. The first Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man was always going to be Peter Parker, at least initially.
By “there was talk,” he means “from people not involved with production.” More:
And if Hollywood is going to insist on rebooting the same franchises over and over again, then they really need to make more of an effort to make them at least try to update these decades-old stories beyond the demographic realities (or presumptions) of their Eisenhower/Kennedy-era (or even Roosevelt-era) origins. The young audience that won’t care as much that this is the third bloody “new” Spider-Man movie being made also won’t care as much if the new Peter Parker isn’t a white kid. And the audiences old enough (or racist enough regardless of age) to care about such a thing probably wouldn’t have lined up for a third Spider-Man “part 1” anyway. And the (not necessarily racist) die hard fans who go crazy at any perceived change in the dogma doesn’t represent the fanbase that Marvel is chasing, but I digress. Yes, I too read that stuff about how Peter Parker couldn’t be a minority (or gay) in the movies from back in 2011, but rules (like promises) are made to be broken.
Note that none of this focuses on what should be the most important: the character. No, it just focuses on “this has to happen for great justice, and because reasons! Character be damned!”
2:48 PM CST – Time.com’s reaction was more muted, and perhaps misinformed:
The casting decision comes just a day after Marvel Comics announced that Miles Morales, not Peter Parker, would be the one and only Spider-Man in the all-new Marvel Universe this fall. Morales, unlike Parker, is black and Hispanic.
I’ve seen this a lot in the non-comics focused press lately. They apparently took the Bendis/Miles Morales from earlier this week to mean there wouldn’t be a Peter Parker after Secret Wars – just a Miles as Spider-Man. Marvel does leak this spoiler stuff all over the press (while admonishing Rich Johnston at BleedingCool.com for publishing potential spoilers) so maybe they know something we don’t.
3:31 PM CST – Yet more butthurt from Forbes.com, who is really exploring the space on butthurt today. It’s like cowbell, but with butthurt instead. From Forbes.com’s Monika Bartyzel:
After a long journey to try and find the magic that once made Spider-Man a safe box-office bet and not an emblem of box office disappointment, Marvel has tapped their director and star for the latest incarnation of Peter Parker. Forget any chance that Marvel might have used the increasing demand for diversity to jumpstart their ailing superhero. Indie director Jon Watts (whose recent thriller Cop Car debuted at Sundance this year) will helm the film, and actor Tom Holland (How I Live Now) will play the titular hero.
The announcement comes after news hit that Miles Morales, the first black and Latino character to be Spider-Man, was officially replacing Peter Parker in the Spider-Man comics. As The Independent noted, the announcement raises hopes that Morales “may get his big screen debut soon.” Of course, if Watts and Holland’s Spider-Man manages to break the webbed superhero out of his big-screen rut in 2017, “soon” still means — at the very least — six to ten years from now. Rumors say Marvel is hoping for a three or four film franchise for Holland’s Parker, which will certainly become a reality if the first film is a success. Marvel does not give their superheroes a vacation when they’re bringing in the money, and they’re not going to have two Spider-Men compete with each other.
Yet again we see this misconception (or forehand knowledge that we’re not privy to) that Miles is “replacing” Peter Parker after Secret Wars. It smells like wishful thinking and not really understanding Marvel’s press release earlier this week about Miles Morales, and also not understanding the difference between ‘Ultimate Marvel’ and ‘Real Marvel.’ Heh.
Bartyzel’s meltdown later extends into Patty Jenkins being replaced on the second Thor film.
5:06 PM CST – Tech Times’s J.E. Reich says you should be as angry as they are over white Spidey, damnit!
What did all of these actors have in common? They are all white. To our, or anyone’s knowledge, no person of color was even considered for the role. Despite the fact that there is no particular reason that enforces Peter Parker’s trend toward whiteness, a black, Latino, or Asian characterization is apparently unacceptable. And with an e-mail leak earlier this week between Marvel and Sony that revealed the “mandatory character traits” Peter Parker must have in the franchise — hetero, cis, and Caucasian — it’s clear that both corporations support this philosophy.
Although Marvel has traditionally been framed as more progressive than DC when it comes to the POC/LGBT/female representation/identity politics department, it more or less only extends to their comics sector, with a few exceptions. Inasmuch, the reluctance to entertain the idea of a POC Spider-Man projected onto the silver screen indicates a larger issue, one that breaks the confines of celluloid frames and outpaces the whirl of manic projectors, throttling into the real world: the societal problem of whitewashing our narratives.
But the latter — in the context of the last Spider-Man reboot and the latest one — is more difficult to detect. It relies on laziness and a strange sense of comfort: the default of whiteness. It hankers on a parasitic symbiosis and a willful blindness that is inherent to the American racial hierarchy, that whiteness is intrinsically the norm. It feeds off a lack of information and the reluctance to discuss race in any other context than within the realm of a “postracial society,” which has been proven time and time again is only a myth. This benign racism thrives when we refuse to even entertain the notion of racial justice, inequality, and non-representation, even in something as seemingly insipid as who is cast in a superhero movie.
This is not to say that Holland is undeserving of the role of Peter Parker. I wish him luck and hope he does a great job; Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, so I’ll root for him. Despite this, I still mourn for what could have been: a Spider-Man who represents a concept of justice for all, even if, as a POC, he is not always granted it – a hero to inspire us to do better.
Note how the writer says Spidey is his “favorite” hero – then goes on to say he just can’t be white anymore because “justice for all.” Odd, but as someone who actually *does* love Spidey as his favorite character, Spidey’s never been about “justice for all.” He’s always been about “responsibility.”
Wednesday, 11:35 AM CST – Forbes goes for the trifecta of butthurt with a ‘piece’ by Dorothy Pomerantz:
But I would argue that if there was ever a time to take a risk, it’s with Spider-Man. As I said, this is our third Spider-Man in 15 years. That alone is ridiculous. If the new movie turns out to be an origin story (Holland will play Peter Parker as a high school kid) it will be the third time we’ve seen the Spider-Man origin story in less than 20 years. Even by Hollywood’s reboot-crazy standards that’s pretty extreme. It’s not like a new generation has come along since Andrew Garfield played Spider-Man. Kids who saw the last Amazing Spider-Man movie when they were 10 will only be 13 when the new Spider-Man movie comes out.
If the studios are going to view Spider-Man as a character who can be constantly re-invented, why not take a chance with him? If they had gone with an ethnic or gay Spider-Man and it hadn’t worked out, they could have easily rebooted the franchise yet again in 2020.
Note that last bit, folks. That’s a taste of what’s to come. Not just making Spider-Man black – but also making him gay, too. Because to journalists who haven’t read the comics or followed the character, there is a great pressing need for great social justice that can only be worked through Spider-Man.
12:50 PM CST – Quartz.com has a piece up from Adam Epstein entitled “Eight actors who should have been cast as the new Spider-Man.” All eight are black. What makes this funny is that the author states:
Spider-Man, as far as we know, is not a real person, and thus shouldn’t have to be anything.
I will go ahead and confirm it for Adam Epstein: Spider-Man’s not a real person. Neither is Peter Parker; he’s a fictional white guy from Queens.
Wednesday, 3:55 PM CST – Vox.com finally gets around to posting their own butthurt. Vox is a site created by Ezra Klein to ‘Voxsplain’ things (i.e. “dumb it down and usually get it wrong”) to people who can’t be bothered to read anything lengthy. They’re often mocked on Twitter for getting facts completely wrong, to the point of sometimes posting charts that make the opposite point that they try to make themselves.
In 2015, it’s pretty hard to accept the idea that Parker must remain white and straight simply because he’s always been white and straight. But if you think of the character as a piece of intellectual property worth millions of dollars, Marvel and Sony’s contract takes on a different tone.
Well no, in 2015 it’s really not hard to accept the idea that Peter Parker is a white, straight guy. I’ve accepted that Peter Parker was a white, straight guy since 1975. That makes it pretty easy to accept in 2015, too.
Wednesday, 4:03 PM – E! Online comments on the manufactured (my word, not theirs) outrage over white Spidey. They don’t take a side in the article so much as just post a lot of socially butthurt tweets.
One good thing to come from this is that with most of these articles, including the multiple butthurt articles at Forbes.com, the people writing these have largely been taken to task in the comments section by their readers. And rightfully so. It hasn’t been every article I’ve seen but on a lot of them. There’s been a lot of pushback to the pushback. Heh!
Wednesday, 4:24 PM CST – While I have talked about major news outlets getting last week’s Bendis/Miles press release from Marvel completely wrong, the New York Post gets it very right, and I feel like I have to point that out for doing the job major news outlets should do.
Unlike with, say, Superman or Daredevil, a more racially diverse alternative to Peter Parker/Spider-Man does exist in print.
He’s Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Latino teenager who first appeared in 2011. The catch is, Miles existed in Marvel’s so-called Ultimate Universe, part of Ultimate Marvel, a publishing imprint for characters and stories that existed outside of mainstream continuity.
In other words, those adventures weren’t considered canon by the hard-core fanboys.
All that changed on Tuesday, however, when Marvel announced that Morales will be brought into its mainstream universe and will headline a new title simply called “Spider-Man.” Morales is now just as much Spider-Man as Peter Parker.
And when Tom Holland as Spider-Man does finally show up in a movie, reportedly first in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” it will be the first time the character has been controlled by Marvel.
Earlier this year, the studio cut a deal with Sony, which had licensed the rights to Spidey and released five movies, to share the character. Marvel execs must have been cringing while watching Sony’s wretched, franchise-killing “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” dreaming of what they’d do differently if they ever got the chance.
Well, now they have, and they no doubt feel they need to get Peter Parker right, and do him the true Marvel way, before they could possibly branch out into other Spider-Men.
Morales might one day get his chance — just not anytime soon, it appears.
That’s incredibly fair, even-handed and factually accurate, and it also makes the distinction between Peter, Miles and 616 and ‘Ultimate’ Marvel – something most media outlets who misinterpreted last week’s press release failed to do.
More updates as they come!