The most popular rumor doing the rounds on Michael Keaton's involvement in Spider-Man: Homecoming has been that he will play the villain known as the Vulture, a.k.a. Adrian Toomes. While the hope of Keaton being cast as the Vulture is proving popular, it's yet to be confirmed.
We know that Sony and Marvel are looking at previously untapped villains and, perhaps due to Keaton's Birdman look, people are getting behind this and similar characters he could play.
However, I believe that Keaton's unknown role could be someone else entirely — someone hinting at Marvel's Spider-Verse.
But first up, let's take a look at the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming so far.
Tom Holland As Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Being the third iteration in 14 years of Peter Parker, fans of the Web Slinger were rightfully nervous about yet another reboot. However, after his fantastic introduction in Captain America: Civil War, the young Tom Holland is already being dubbed the best Spider-Man/Peter Parker yet. I look forward to what Holland will bring to the future of the MCU and am hopeful of a longer run in Peter Parker's shoes than either of his predecessors enjoyed.
Marisa Tomei As Aunt May
When it was announced that Marisa Tomei was cast as Aunt May, there was a social media backlash, with people saying she was too hot and too young to play the part (to which Tony Stark agrees, if you've seen Captain America: Civil War).
May Parker is typically depicted as elderly and white-haired, acting as Spider-Man’s moral compass and perhaps the biggest reason he keeps his identity a secret, so for old fanboys of the original comics, this departure from the typical is quite the shocker. However, in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, as well as other recent iterations, May is an independent woman in her 40s or 50s with a strong will and an even younger spirit. It seems that Tomei's May Parker will borrow more from this latter version than she will the former.
Robert Downey Jr. As Tony Stark/Iron Man
We know him, we love him, and we're sure to see more of the mentor role he embarked on in Captain America: Civil War when Spidey returns to the big screen in 2017.
Tony Revolori As Manuel
There are conflicting reports for this one. Some are saying that this role will be that of Peter's friend, while others suggest he'll play the part of an enemy. So all we have now to go on is speculation.
Kenneth Choi As Peter Parker's High School Principal
We know the who and the what for this one, but Choi is an incredible actor, so I'm hopeful that this is more than just a high school principal role (perhaps leaning into the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series a little more, giving us an Agent Coulson-type character).
Laura Harrier As An Unspecified Female Lead
Cast in a still-unspecified "significant role," much of this casting choice remains a mystery. My hope? White Tiger!
Apparently, 14-year-old Barbieri is in negotiations to join the cast in some unknown capacity.
It has just been reported that Glover is in negotiations with Marvel to play an as-yet unspecified role in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. Glover has stated that he would love to play Spider-Man, and even this past year provided the voice for Miles Morales (a.k.a Spider-Man) in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. Fans have also been rallying behind him and it really just adds more fire to my theory.
Zendaya As Michelle
Zendaya was one of the first actors cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there is still very little known about her role. She’s playing a character named Michelle, whom many assumed to be Michele Gonzalez, a love interest from the comics. But Variety has stated, "Insiders stress that the character is neither Parker’s love interest nor a lead role. She will, however, play a bigger part in future installments."
So who could that make Zendaya? Being that she is only 19, it's easy to make the assumption that she'll be around the same age as Peter Parker, but if it's a role that means more to future installments, maybe she could be up for White Tiger, or...
Could Silk be coming to the big screen?
Who Is Marvel's Silk?
Cindy Moon, while attending a public exhibition demonstrating the safe handling of nuclear laboratory waste materials, was bit on the ankle by the same spider that bit Peter Parker. After Cindy accidentally webbed her parents with her organic webbing, a man by the name of Ezekiel Sims took her away and trained her in the use of her powers.
This could mean that the main villain of Spider-Man: Homecoming would be Morlun. As an entity from an alternate Earth that hunts Spider-Totems through the multiverse, Morlun is one of Spider-Man's most dangerous adversaries. This gets a little ridiculous, so I'll let Marvel explain it:
The term Spider-Totem refers to a class of multiversal supernatural entities linked to a mystical force called the Web of Life and Destiny, as well as the individuals - both mortal and divine - who possess arachnid-based powers as a result of a connection to the Web of Life, though the means they acquire their powers can vary drastically.
Convoluted to the max, but stick with me.
What Does This Mean For Michael Keaton In Spider-Man: Homecoming?
I don't think Keaton fits the role of Morlun, so if any of this proves to be true, I believe that he will be cast as Ezekiel Sims.
While not necessarily a villain, Sims is mostly looking out for his own self-interests. Possessing various superhuman attributes (almost all of them identical to those of Spider-Man) after undergoing some Spider-Totem ritual, Sims is the one to introduce Peter Parker to both the multiverse and the Spider-Totems.
Why Starting The Spider-Verse In The MCU Is Brilliant
With Marvel and Sony sharing the rights to our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, what better way to involve him in potentially different universes? Marvel would be able to continue using him in the MCU, while Sony could take him in seemingly different directions at the same time. Here's a reminder from Marvel as to what the Spider-Verse is:
After sensing that Silk was released from captivity, Morlun starts the Great Hunt where the Inheritors attempt to kill every Spider-Totem in the multiverse. The Spider-Army (a group of Spider-Totems, including Peter Parker) must find a way to defeat Morlun, Karn, and the rest of the Inheritors all while villains try to gather the DNA from different Spider-Men across multiple universes in hopes of using these Spider powers.
Could you imagine the Spider-Army coming in to fight alongside the Avengers against Thanos? That could certainly make for an epic big-screen battle!
Do you think this is the direction 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' is headed?