Marvel 'Spider-Man' Casting: Asa Butterfield No Longer in Consideration?

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The race to cast a new Peter Parker for Sony's latest Spider-Man reboot, which will finally tie-into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appears to be winding down. Following hot on the heels of news that Walking Dead actor Chandler Riggs may have auditioned for the lead role - but ultimately been turned away, we're now getting word that a long-considered front runner for Peter Parker is also out of the running.

It remains unclear how far Riggs was into the audition process before he was dismissed, he could have been cut months back and, knowing that a Spider-Man casting announcement was imminent, decided to make his involvement public; however, the same cannot be said for Tom Holland and Asa Butterfield - who, for months, have been the presumed front-runners for a lead turn as the new web-slinger. Now, one of those front-runners has, reportedly, been let go as well.

The Wrap correspondent Jeff Sneider took to Meet the Movie Press, a show he co-hosts with Schmoes Know editor Mark Reilly, to reveal that Asa Butterfield will not portray Spider-Man in the 2017 reboot. According to Sneider, Butterfield's exit narrows the casting nominees to Tom Holland (as mentioned), Charlie Plummer, and Matthew Lintz.

You can hear Sneider discussing the Spider-Man reboot casting in the episode below (starting at the 10:30 mark):

According to Sneider, the partnered studios, Marvel and Sony, are at odds over who should take-on this new iteration of the web-head. If Sneider's sources are accurate, Marvel wants Charlie Plummer but Sony would prefer Tom Holland. Marvel is serving as creative lead, bringing Peter Parker into their increasingly complicated shared universe plan, but Sony still retains ownership of the character subsequently paying for production of the movie.

For that reason, both studios have significant skin in the game: Sony can't afford to fumble the highly profitable brand again (so they want to be comfortable with the new actor that will lead a multi-picture franchise they're bankrolling) while Marvel needs to ensure that if they do bring Spider-Man into their critically-acclaimed shared universe, the character (and the actor in the lead role) is a fit with their lineup of established stars.

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Assuming that Sneider's sources are correct, and the reporter has a pretty solid track record, Sony and Marvel have about one month before their new Peter Parker is due on set for Captain America: Civil War. It's still unknown how large a role Spider-Man will have in the Captain America sequel but prior details have suggested that whatever part Peter Parker will play in the movie, he's supposed to start filming in July.

Given that prior sources had claimed Asa Butterfield was a lock for the part, it's unclear whether the actor bowed out (due to contract negotiants) or was outright cut by Marvel and Sony - either because both studios preferred other candidates, or one side of the partnership was strongly against Butterfield. Either way, with Butterfield out, attention now turns to the actors that remain in consideration.

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Here's a quick breakdown of the young actors that Sneider claims are still in the running:

  • Tom Holland: A 19 year-old English actor. Allegedly Sony's top choice, Holland is best known for starring in 2012's The Impossible but is also set for a high profile part in Ron Howard's upcoming film, In the Heart of the Sea.
  • Charlie Plummer: A 15 year-old American actor. Allegedly Marvel's top choice, Plummer is best known for his work on the series Boardwalk Empire and Granite Flats.
  • Matthew Lintz: A 14 year-old American actor. It is unknown, at this point, whether Lintz is third in line after Holland and Plummer, or somewhere in between, but the actor has a solid filmography, including last year's Kill the Messenger as well as an upcoming part in Pixels.

Given the early high school setting of the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, coupled with plans for longterm appearances in the MCU and standalone Sony movies, it's understandable the studios might be struggling to find an actor that fits both of their respective wishlists. A young-looking high school kid like Plummer makes sense for Marvel - since he'd be a fun addition to an ensemble that is overstuffed with muscly superheroes; yet, Sony may want to find a slightly older actor that can play a high schooler but will still be on the verge of adulthood - so that their Peter Parker won't look quite as young when he takes center stage in a 2017 solo movie.

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Of course, for a lot of Spider-Man fans that were hoping to see a more diverse actor in the lead role, either as the character of Miles Morales or a non-white version of Peter Parker, the remaining shortlist plays it, comparatively, safe. Those moviegoers will have to wait for a drastic change in the lead Spider-Man role; yet, the remaining set of young actors is solid - and any one of them has the potential to embody the characteristics (courage, charm, and playfulness) that have kept the webslinger a fan-favorite among comic readers and movie viewers alike.

The clock is ticking - so Marvel and Sony will likely make an official announcement in the coming weeks (if not much sooner).

MORE: Spider-Man Reboot Director Shortlist Revealed

Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.

Source: Meet the Movie Press

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