Where is George Takei when you need him, because this one's a doozy? The casting of Michael Barbieri in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming is causing a stir. The actor's (rumoured) role could cause big problems for Hollywood's whitewashing debacle, and this one comes straight off the back of the Tilda Swinton/Doctor Strange controversy - ooops Marvel!
Comicbook.com reports that Barbieri's (unknown) role will be based on the character of Ganke Lee, from the Ultimate Spider-Man line. Drawn as an Korean American, Lee is one of the best friends of alternative Spider-Man, Miles Morales. It is safe to say, some people aren't happy if the news is to be true!
At this point it is important to note that Holland's Spider-Man is definitely the Peter Parker version, and not Miles Morales version, so how Barbieri/Ganke fit into this world anyway is the first stumbling block. The 14-year-old Little Men actor originally auditioned for the role of Peter Parker, but lost out to Tom Holland. He must have impressed directors, because Barbieri will be kept on as part of Peter Parker's posse.
sources tell us Barbieri's character will be a new one, though he'll be based off the Ultimate Spider-Man character Ganke...His affinity for Superheroes and unwavering optimism and support of his friend are his standout characteristics, which can be expected to be found in Barbieri's new character.
The MCU have said that they do eventually want to include fan-favourite Miles Morales, but not straight away. I do think that is important for Holland's Parker to establish himself before we start throwing other web-slingers into the mix. Ganke certainly could be an Easter egg of a larger Spidey world. In the comics, Ganke is trusted confidante of Morales, and a bit of a 'wide-set' geek, with a penchant for Lego. Ganke does actually get the girl though, after wooing Gwen Stacy (with Lego obviously), he lands a kiss from the most popular girl in school! In your classic comic book twist, he also knew the identity of Spider-Man, so could we see an amalgamation of two Spider-worlds in Homecoming?
Time get ready for some more Ghost in the Shell backlash, or should we take the casting rumour with a pinch of salt? My Spidey sense is telling me that isn't the last we will hear on the issue. Barbieri joins Tom Holland, Robert Downey. Jr and Michael Keaton in Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming, set for a July 17, 2017 release - only time will tell.