SUPPORTING SPIDEY1 of 12If you're anything like us, seeing Spider-Man's debut in this week's Captain America: Civil War trailer got your spider-sense tingling. And if you're like us, after picking your jaw up off the floor, your thoughts turned to Spider-Man's next appearance - his 2017 reboot film from Sony and Marvel.
We don't yet know much about the new Spider-Man movie - it doesn't even have an official title yet. But we do know that it won't be an origin story, and that Marisa Tomei is cast as a younger Aunt May and just this week actress/singer Zendaya was reportedly cast as a character named Michelle.
Naturally, we decided it was time to make our picks not just for which characters we think should appear in the movie, but who should play them. Our choices here are based on numerous factors, including the already younger-skewing cast, the balance of classic Spider-Man stories and new cinematic ground, and just plain preference.
So without further ado, here are our picks for the cast of Spider-Man's 2017 solo film.
SHAMEIK MOORE as FLASH THOMPSON2 of 12The role of Flash Thompson may be traditionally small, but it’s also incredibly complex. Not just a simple high school bully, Flash is a football star who secretly has a heart of gold despite his angry exterior, and is also Spider-Man’s biggest fan.
That’s where Shameik Moore comes in. Moore’s breakout role in Dope may have been closer to Peter Parker, but he’s shown he can get tough when the situation calls for it. For a young actor, Moore’s got a lot of promise, and though he looks much older than Holland, he’s only a few months older, highlighting the dynamic between “puny Parker” the guy who doesn’t realize he’s secretly picking on his hero.
What’s more, Moore has the charisma and presence to pull off Thompson’s transition into Agent Venom, as either a hero or a villain, should Marvel eventually go that route.
And oh look, he showed on the red carpet just this week for Marvel/Netflix’s Daredevil Season 2 premiere.
Some fans have suggested Moore for Miles Morales... but we’ll get to that character in due time.
JULIANNE MOORE as JEAN DeWOLFF3 of 12Given that Marvel likely won’t go back to the well on George Stacy for a third time, we’re betting that they’ll use Jean DeWolff to fill Spider-Man’s “Commissioner Gordon” role in the new film. Jean DeWolff has been dead in comic books for over 20 years, but her death was an important touchstone for a specific era of Spidey, making her a solid choice for his ally on the police force who knows Spider-Man isn’t the menace he’s made out to be.
As for who should play De Wolff, we’ve got our eye on none other than Julianne Moore. Moore has the dramatic chops and can summon the attitude to play a no-nonsense police chief, and would make a perfect straightman for Spider-Man’s sarcastic antics – kind of the opposite of the occasionally-baffled Commissioner Gordon and always dark and heavy Batman.
JEFFREY WRIGHT as ROBBIE ROBERTSON4 of 12Like his boss J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie Robertson is a news man in the classic sense. Unlike JJJ, however, he’s a man given more to quiet dignity and kind encouragement of Peter Parker than bluster and loud criticism.
Jeffrey Wright seems like a perfect fit for the role. He’s got an air of gravitas about him that made his quiet Dr. Narcisse so menacing in Boardwalk Empire, but channeled through the lens of characters like his turn as Beedee in The Hunger Games and James Bond’s ally Felix Leiter, it becomes the kind of emotional heft Peter might seek out in an ersatz father figure.
JOHN CUSACK as UNCLE BEN5 of 12There’s no character more important to Peter’s growth into Spider-Man than his poor, murdered Uncle Ben. We know the new Spider-Man movie won’t revisit his origin story, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be flashbacks to when Ben Parker was alive.
To that end, we’re calling it for John Cusack. It may seem odd, but hear us out. Cusack cut his teeth playing well-meaning, intelligent teenage outsiders in the ‘80’s. He practically was Peter Parker in a few roles.
And when he wasn't, he even played good uncles (Lloyd Dobler) and mentors (Denny in Stand by Me) even as a teen himself.
So in keeping with Kevin Feige’s comments that Marvel wants a “John Hughes” tone for the film, Cusack is kind of a no-brainer. Imagine the rapport between Cusack’s Uncle Ben and Tom Holland’s Peter Parker – he’s gotta get that sense of humor somewhere, right?
And we’ll admit – our pick for Uncle Ben doesn’t look much like the dowdy, elderly Ben of comic books, but then again Marisa Tomei, the film’s Aunt May, isn’t exactly an old spinster herself. For a slightly younger skewing cast, we think Cusack makes the perfect Uncle Ben.
ASA BUTTERFIELD as HARRY OSBORN6 of 12Asa Butterfield is definitely on Marvel’s radar – he was one of the final candidates for Peter Parker before Tom Holland landed the role. But there’s more to Butterfield than Marvel simply knowing his name – he’s a young actor who can portray a kind of sadness that belies his years.
Butterfield would have no problem playing off Holland’s youthful vigor, but he’d also manage just the right amount of internal despair that comes from having a dad who’s kind of a crazy supervillain type. His performance in Hugo is enough to convince us he’s capable of summoning the emotional depth to do the complicated role of Pete’s best friend – and possible eventual enemy – justice.
BRYAN CRANSTON as NORMAN OSBORN7 of 12Norman Osborn appeared in both previous Spider-Man franchises, so his inclusion here makes him something of an outlier compared to the “new blood” feel of some of our picks. But there’s no denying his alter ego is Spidey’s true nemesis, so while the Green Goblin seems like more of a long term play, Norman Osborn should be firmly established.
And for this one, we’re pulling out the big guns – Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston. Cranston as Osborn is almost a no-brainer. He’s said himself he wants to play a Marvel villain, and who could balance the pretense of being a family man who is secretly a devious menace better than him?
Sure, Cranston said he’d like to create a villain for a Marvel movie, but we’d argue that redefining Osborn in a brand new context, setting him apart from his previous portrayals, is a lot like doing just that.
MARCUS SCRIBNER as MILES MORALES8 of 12It’s unlikely that Marvel would crowd their reboot with two Spider-Men, but that shouldn’t stop them from including Miles Morales in his civilian identity. If Miles plays the part of an ally to Peter, perhaps even learning his secret and helping him behind the scenes, that would also put him in the tradition of character like War Machine and Falcon – meaning he could get an upgrade to fighting crime himself as the franchise rolls on.
And even though Harry Osborn is Pete’s de facto best friend, there’s always been a rift between them. If Peter has another friend, in the form of Miles, who knows the secret Peter’s obviously keeping from Harry, that could be a powerful alteration to their dynamic.
As for who should play Miles, our top choice is Marcus Scribner. The 16 year-old Scribner (demonstratively younger than Holland) has proven his comedic chops on the Disney-owned ABC sitcom Black-ish, as he provided a voice for (Disney-owned) Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.
Of course Spider-Man will be a Sony film, but Marvel Studios is producing.
On top of that, there’s the little matter of him looking quite a bit like Miles.
JOE MANGIANELLO as KRAVEN9 of 12We’ve had Kraven in mind as the villain of the new Spider-Man movie before, and while we previously mentioned Tom Cruise as a candidate, that was more about picking the right role for the actor – not the best actor for the role.
So working from the other direction (and height requirement) – finding someone who can best fill the role of Kraven – we present Joe Mangianello of True Blood and Magic Mike as an ideal choice to take on young Peter Parker.
Think about the visuals alone – Mangianello is 6’5” and massively muscled. That’s a perfect contrast to the slight, athletic Holland. Combine that with his strong features, and wild, dark hair, and you’ve practically got Kraven in the flesh.
Interestingly enough, Mangianello would actually be a returning cast member, having played Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3.
BELLA THORNE as MARY JANE WATSON10 of 12We’ve picked Bella Thorne for the role of Mary Jane Watson before, and we stand by it. Thorne doesn’t have a ton of cache, but she’s another Disney vet with tons of charisma, and she’s definitely got the youthful glamour to pull off a role like MJ.
Putting her up against Holland would also be a good way to show off Peter Parker’s slightly goofy side. It’s the classic “beauty and the geek” dynamic that has occasionally defined their relationship.
Interestingly, Thorne and Zendaya (remember her from the intro) co-starred in Disney Channel's Shake It Up and if the tabloid press is to be believed, they’re also best friends.
TOM HANKS as J. JONAH JAMESON11 of 12It’s almost impossible to top J.K. Simmons’s iconic portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, but theoretically, someone’s gotta do it since Simmons has moved onto the role of Commissioner Gordon in the DC film universe. And for that, we’re thinking of JJJ as kind of a prestige cameo – a place for a big name actor to come in and make a splash.
We considered numerous actors for this role – from Jack Black and Will Ferrell for comedic takes, to Al Pacino for a full-on scenery-chewing turn, to Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris for a more serious approach – but in the end we decided to go with Tom Hanks. Hanks may be known for being something of a funny guy, but along with his sense of comedy, he’s also got the dramatic chops to play the role straight, and enough gravitas to make a young Peter Parker shake in his boots.
Hanks would also bring some major star power to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – his name alone puts the Spider-Man reboot in another bracket. And for a character like Spidey, whose inclusion in the MCU is such a win for fans, a little prestige seems appropriate.
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