There’s a lot of speculation out there as to who actor Donald Glover will portray in the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie from Marvel Studios and Sony. I’m confident it will be one of the five characters listed below.
For good reason. Glover, as you’ll recall, petitioned to play Spider-Man in Sony’s first reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, before Andrew Garfield got the job. Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, even dressed Glover in Spider-Man Underoos in the second season premiere of NBC’s Community.
Glover’s gumption — and comic book fans’ support of it — inspired Marvel’s Brian Michael Bendis to create Miles Morales, the young African-American teenager that became Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line. “I saw him in the costume and thought, 'I would like to read that book.' So I was glad I was writing that book," Bendis is quoted saying.
Which is to say, Glover’s already got serious bona fides when it comes to Spider-Man. And plenty of connections to the Spider-Man universe. So who will he play in the new movie? Odds are it will be one of these five characters:
1. The Prowler
You’ll see this name on a number of lists, but few make the Miles Morales connection. Most focus on Hobie Brown, a smart, young man who chooses to steal items as his alter-ego, the Prowler, only to return them later to garner the reward money. Brown later becomes an ally of Spider-Man and a C-list superhero.
Aaron Davis, however, the Ultimate Comics version of the Prowler, is a far more intriguing choice. Davis is the brother of Jefferson Davis, Miles Morales’ father. More importantly, Davis is inadvertently responsible for Morales becoming the second Spider-Man.
After burgling labs at OsCorp, where Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, Davis carries a stow-away spider to his brother’s apartment. That spider encounters a young Morales and delivers a power-bestowing bite.
Glover’s Prowler is just the sort of criminal Spidey will face before Michael Keaton’s Vulture takes the stage.
His familial connections to Miles Morales is an added bonus that keeps the story moving along. But there’s someone better than that.
2. Jefferson Davis
Gut instinct says Glover will play Jefferson Davis, Miles Morales’ father. After all, Glover is the "real-world" father of the Miles Morales character, in a lot of ways, since his quest to be Spider-Man inspired Miles’ comic book birth.
Plus, Davis easily connects to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, since his path eventually crosses with Nick Fury and SHIELD - even Marvel’s Netflix universe.
Davis is lured into the criminal underworld by his brother, Aaron, eventually becoming an informant for Fury, spying on Wilson Fisk’s gang. Imagine Tom Holland’s Spider-Man running afoul of Fisk’s gang in Hell’s Kitchen, only to be saved by Davis.
There’s even an Easter Egg in Netflix’s Daredevil,some say. During a scene at Nelson & Murdock, Foggy Nelson enters Matt Murdock’s office and mentions that he “just bumped into Morales.” Could this be Rio Morales, Miles’ mom? Maybe.
In any case, It’s the perfect street-level subplot for Spidey. It plants the Morales seed for future films and gives Glover the right connection - SHIELD - to appear in other MCU stories.
3. Walter Hardy
The thing is, though, it may be too early to introduce the Morales family. If so, there’s another character Glover could play that ties to Homecoming’s speculated plot.
In the comics, Walter Hardy is a talented burglar, the Cat, and the father of Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat. Most people believe - and hope - actress Zendaya is portraying the fan favorite burglar rather than “Michelle,” as she’s credited.
Glover could play a retconned version of Walter - Hardy’s older brother - and prove to be a thorn in Parker’s side. Alongside his sister, Black Cat, the two could give the webslinger a real run for his money.
Plus, with a title like Homecoming, you have to imagine the plot - inspired by mid-1980s John Hughes films - will center on Spidey balancing his life as a superhero and his desire to attend Midtown High’s Homecoming. Likely with Felicia Hardy.
You think Walter Hardy’s going to let puny Parker date his sister without a fight?
4. The Tinkerer
Rumors suggest Glover will play a villain in the film. If so, count on his character being a mirror image of Peter Parker. Two characters fit that bill.
The first is Phineas Mason, aka The Tinkerer.
Since the comic version of Tinkerer is an older, balding man, Homecoming would retcon him as a 30-year-old genius, similar to Glover’s character in The Martian, astrodynamicist Rich Purnell, both in look and personality. (Glover plays unkempt and emotionally distant really well.)
Glover’s Phineas Moon would no doubt work for Stark Industries. Imagine Tony Stark, who appears in the film, selecting Moon as Parker’s mentor when Parker inevitably goes to work for Iron Man.
Maybe the Tinkerer even built that fancy Spider-Signal at the end of Civil War. Or his new Civil War costume.
In any case, don’t expect Tinkerer to be a heavy hitting villain. More someone to keep an eye on throughout Parker’s cinematic run.
5. Rocket Racer
The other candidate? Rocket Racer.
This would-be-villain-turned-superhero is a young, Brooklyn man who tragically loses his parents and must then raise his siblings on his own. To put food on the table, he uses his superior intellect to construct a high-tech suit giving him super-speed, which he uses to commit petty crimes for cold cash. In the comics, he even has a rocket-propelled skateboard that allows him to climb walls.
You can already see the hair-raising, high-rise chases through Manhattan.
Rocket Racer eventually rescinds his criminal ways and joins Spidey as an ally. (Imagine Spidey battling the Vulture alongside his amazing friends, Rocket Racer and Black Cat!)
The best part? One version of Rocket Racer simply goes by the name “Troy.” For Community fans, who know Glover best as Troy Barnes, this would make the movie all the more better.