By now it's no big secret that Marvel Studios and Sony reached a deal to bring Spider-Man to his proper place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known to the nerdiverse as the MCU). This is, of course, great for Marvel because it gets one of its biggest powerhouse characters into its film universe and secures that there will be enough interest in the ever growing franchise through Phase 6 as he will undoubtedly become the flagship character after Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Odin Son take their final, contractual bows.
And, as everyone knows and pushed for on the Internet prior to the deal, it's great for Sony because the simple fact that the web head now exists in the bigger universe will generate more interest from the casual movie goer for the diminishing franchise. The downfall, though, is that we're getting the third Spider-Man film franchise in less than 20 years. However, putting Marvel behind the steering wheel and incorporating him into the larger universe will make for some easy forgiveness once we get going.
According to IMDB, the director is set to be Drew Goddard. You might remember him as being a writer and producer for Joss Whedon's Angel, the co-writer and director of the incredibly entertaining Cabin in the Woods, and the guy who was supposed to head up Marvel and Netflix's monster hit, Daredevil, before stepping down to direct Sony's now defunct Sinister Six. Clearly there was some interest in seeing Goddard head up a portion of the Spider-Verse and he still managed to write the first two episodes of Daredevil before departing the project; so I have every bit of confidence in his ability to turn this around and bring us the Spider-Man franchise we've been waiting for.
But what will this new Spider-Man film be about? Well, here's what we know: the film will follow the high school adventures of the wall crawler (just like Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man films did) and it will NOT be another straight origin story (though we will need to show the highlights of the origin so my money is on a Man of Steel style series of appropriately placed flashbacks). So that opens us up to a fairly unlimited series of events the new franchise can follow. But there are some unwritten rules that reboots need to follow to avoid audience fatigue and, in the case of superhero franchises, the biggest one is the film's main villain. When Christopher Nolan rebooted Batman he didn't jump right into The Joker (or any other villain that had previously appeared on film for that matter). He warmed the waters with the untested threats of Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul. The Amazing Spider-Man didn't throw Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin right back in your face...we got to see The Lizard. Unfortunately, though, we did get a rather piss poor Green Goblin in ASM 2 so that means the menacing pumpkin bomber is probably going to be off the table for a while.
But that's OK...there's a perfectly great and as yet to be seen on film Spider villain that will work perfectly for the reboot. And, as it so happens, has a perfectly plausible tie-in to this Friday's [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) (should they spin the story a certain way, that is). Ladies and gentlemen...I give you...
An army of killer robots led by the evil Ultron are about to tear through the Marvel universe and disassemble Earth's Mightiest Heroes. So, piggy backing off of that epicness, why not have our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man square off against an army of arachnid seeking robots of his own with an epic climactic battle with Alistair Smythe (aka The Ultimate Spider Slayer)?
Do you feel that? It's ok...it's just your goosebumps settling...
This is all, of course, conjecture. As I have said many times before, I am not an industry insider. I have no connection to Marvel (although I have met Stan Lee!!!) and I have no idea what Marvel and Sony are actually planning. I am just a man who knows what he would like to see in this film following a disappointing showing with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
So with that said, let's delve in to WHO I would like to see in the new Spider-Man franchise.
Logan Lerman as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
I'm not sure where things stand because I have seen so many names tossed around recently, but I had heard that the studio front runners for the role were Lerman and The Maze Runner's Dylan O'Brian. Personally, of the two, it has to go to Percy Jackson. He has much more of the boyish innocence associated with Peter Parker and the leading man abilities as demonstrated in the two Percy Jackson films, which sadly appear to be going the way of Narnia to remain unfinished (which would imply a wide open schedule for a new franchise).
Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson
Oh you had to have seen this one coming. Before there was Divergent (and its sequel Insurgent) and The Fault in Our Stars, there was some unused footage in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 of Ms. Woodley as none other than Mary Jane. Since the footage never aired it doesn't have to conflict with her taking the role again in the new franchise. Plus, she recently gave an interview wherein she expressed interest in still doing a Marvel movie. So face it, Tiger, we hit the jackpot.
Asa Butterfield as Harry Osborn
Butterfield is a name I recently saw kicked around as a contender for Peter Parker. And though he's a terrific young actor, at 18, he's still a bit too young and boyish looking for such a role. Yes, it's the high school version of Spider-Man, but your typical high school student in film is still played by a 20-something actor with action abilities (I cite the 25-Year-Old Tom Welling playing a 15-year-old Clark Kent on Smallville). Now Harry Osborn, on the other hand, doesn't need to be involved in the action this go around. He just needs to be young, awkward, shy and the living embodiment of one who has been emotionally beaten down by his unloving father. The Ender's Game star just kind of radiates that performance.
Kevin McKidd as Norman Osborn
It's true that the Green Goblin will not be menacing the wall crawler in this film (at least not in my head as I write this) but that doesn't mean Osborn won't still have a strong presence as he orchestrates the plots and pulls the strings. The Grey's Anatomy star has that vacant look of an evil mastermind paired with that disarming likability that would allow you to not necessarily peg him as the black hat hiding in plain site.
Meryl Streep as Aunt May
Marvel Studios has succeeded to the point that the genre is no longer that area where careers go to die or never get started. Classically trained, well respected and (in some cases) Oscar winning actors are jumping on to the Marvel freight train. Glenn Close (Guardians of the Galaxy), Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Solider) and Anthony Hopkins (Thor) have all graced the MCU. Spider-Man's new film should be no different. Plus, Meryl Streep typically makes one or two movies a year and gets an Oscar nomination for it EVERY year...so how awesome would it be to see Aunt May get a Best Supporting Actress nomination in 2017? Make it happen Marvel!
Jim Carey as J. Jonah Jameson
Light the torches! Get the pitch forks! Let the epic nerd raging begin!!! Yes, you just read that correctly. I want Jim Carrey to play the Daily Bugle's editor. Naturally nobody will be able to give as spot on of a performance as recent Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, but Carrey is my choice for an immediate follow up. Here's why: disregard everything you think you know about Jim Carrey's acting ability. Despite a career heavily populated by goofy comedies, he's a tremendous actor. He's also not above altering his appearance for roles (look at A Series of Unfortunate Events and How The Grinch Stole Christmas). Think he looks too young? Hogwash! He's 53 years old! Give him the right hair cut and Hitler mustache paired with a raspy, angry, coffee fueled performance and you'll have a pretty great J. Jonah Jameson...and it would be that magical, unexpected performance that completely blindsides you and probably becomes one of the highlights of the film (like when Tom Cruise surprised the world as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder).
John Hurt as Spencer Smythe
Kicking off the movie would be OsCorp scientist and resident Spider-Man hater, Spencer Smythe. As any reader of the comics knows he doesn't like the wall crawler very much and develops the Spider Slayers as a means of bringing him down. There could even be an MCU tie in to Spencer blaming the superhero population for his son's paralysis (following the events of one of the Avengers films or something) and focuses his efforts on Spider-Man. To play the elder Smythe I'm going with John Hurt (Immortals, Hercules) who (like Kevin McKidd) has that charm and likability that you don't suspect as being the villain.
Jared Padalecki as Alistair Smythe
After Spencer's inevitable demise or incapacitation of some sorts, it is left up to the wheelchair bound Alistair to take control of the Spider Slayers and transform himself into the Ultimate Spider Slayer for the film's climactic battle sequence. Jared Padalecki has shown year after ungodly year on Supernatural that he is teeming with familial co-dependency, daddy issues and vengeance rage. Plus he has the stature and impressive body to easily be the Ultimate Spider Slayer with limited CGI and, to make things even better, he already has the mullet to be a perfect Alistair Smythe!
Danny Glover as Joseph "Robbie" Robertson
Helping to round out the supporting cast would be this Lethal Weapon veteran as the Daily Bugle's moral compass and Spider-Man supporter to counter Jameson's libel crusade against him. You may also recognize the name Glover as, Donald, has been trying to be Spider-Man for years. Maybe, one day, we'll get the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man on film but by that point Donald may be too old. So at least this way one Glover will be in a Spider-Man movie.
Sam Neill as Uncle Ben
Yeah...we're not doing the whole origin story thing in quite as much detail this time around but you still have to have Uncle Ben in there somewhere. I see him making a few flashback appearances here and there similar to Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel and possibly popping up in sequels as a moral compass for Peter to look to (like Cliff Robertson's appearance as Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2). To play him? Personally I loved Martin Sheen's take on the character in The Amazing Spider-Man. Him and Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy were the highlights of the film. But this time around I'd like to see Sam Neill take a stab at it. The Jurassic Park star has that tough love look to him that would really hit the Great Power/Great Responsibility lesson home.
Sigourney Weaver as Cassandra Webb
Concluding the cast is blind, clairvoyant mutant Cassandra Webb (aka Madame Web). However, since Fox still owns the rights to the term "mutant" there will need to be a slight variation to her background. Perhaps she can be an Inhuman or a "miracle child" like the film versions of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Either way, she'd be a character whose abilities both help Spider-Man and act as foreboding look at his future. Webb can also even crossover into a potential Spider-Woman spin-off, which would also be a benefit for this Marvel/Sony deal that both parties should consider signing off on. Playing Ms. Webb? Well the natural choice would be Drew Goddard alum, Sigourney Weaver (Cabin in the Woods - as well as a couple little known franchises by the name of Alien and Ghostbusters). She has a strong and distinguished presence about her that is perfect for the role and having that previous connection with Goddard would really help seal the deal.
So that's it everyone! That's what I think would be a great Spider-Man film. And yeah, I know I left some major people off like Eddie Brock, Flash Thompson, Felicia Hardy and all that. But I was really trying to keep it limited to the most important characters for this story. Obviously there's room for more characters to make cameo appearances and build into bigger roles. There's just no room in this article for them.
Now, hopefully the fine people at Marvel and Sony read this and take some of it to heart. Or at least have something equally or more awesome planned. The ball's in your court Marvel. Make it great! See you in a couple of years.
Sound off in the comments below on what you thought of this one.