Last week, we reported about five actors rumored to be on the shortlist to play Peter Parker in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot. The website io9 ran an editorial about why they didn’t want yet another white guy superhero–a sentiment I couldn’t agree with more. The people in the comments section of the editorial came up with a sixth name that should be on the list: Donald Glover (Community, Mystery Team). Glover is charismatic, funny, and age-appropriate for the role. He’s also a huge fan of the character. In response, the actor/writer/comedian began a Twitter campaign for the chance to audition for the role. Tonight #donald4spiderman became the third-highest trending topic on Twitter. The Facebook campaign has also amassed over 3,000 fans and climbing.
For more of my thoughts on why casting Glover would make the Spider-Man reboot worth it, hit the jump.
I’ve had trouble finding a single person who thinks that Sony’s decision to reboot Spider-Man was a good idea. We’ve heard “Oh, it will be gritty and contemporary” this time, as if the Raimi Spider-Man movies were mindless action films. To cast Glover or any actor who challenges the notion of what Spider-Man has been or can be would provide a reason for this reboot’s existence, elevating it from the cynical cashgrab it currently is.
We ran an editorial last year suggesting that Will Smith would make a good Captain America. The comments section exploded in controversy, even though there was at least some basis in the comics for a black Captain America. I don’t know if fans would accept a non-white Spider-Man, but I don’t really care. It’s not an affirmative-action move. It’s asking the question: is there anything inherently white about Spider-Man’s story? Yes, Stan Lee wrote Peter Parker as a white character, but is there anything about that character’s story that wouldn’t work for a man of any non-white ethnicity?
Even Glover says he shouldn’t be given the part outright, but I agree that he deserves the chance to at least audition. I know studios are scared to do anything risky when it comes to an $80 million movie, but I’m willing to bet there’s going to be a lack of enthusiasm for this reboot if people don’t see anything fresh about it. Casting a young, talented non-white actor for Spider-Man would get people talking about what is currently a movie with no reason to exist.