In the coming weeks, or even days, superhero movie fans are going to learn the identity of the third actor to play Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man in the live-action film franchise. Normally, the recasting of such a popular character happening so shortly after two other actors (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield) played the character in the last eight years, would pose problems for a film series that's lost momentum but this is a very unique case.
This new Spider-Man, although arguably overly familiar since it will again be the Peter Parker version, is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This Spider-Man is going to be a member of The Avengers and that makes this imminent casting more important than any other from the Spidey universe before it.
A combined result of the efforts of Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, with a push from a very large and vocal fanbase, an unprecedented partnership agreement between two film studios will see the Spider-Man live-action movie universe merge with Marvel's own established franchise. And to kick things off, the new Spider-Man is going to be introduced next year in Captain America: Civil War.
This Spidey is going to be younger, potentially 15-16 years old on screen, and he's going to be in high school for a while. He's going to be a major player for a very long time so consider this the closest thing to Marvel's Harry Potter. After the property rebooted (again) via a Marvel-backed introduction in 2016, the web-slinger gets his own solo movie (potentially featuring Iron Man) in summer 2017. It could be titled The Spectacular Spider-Man or according to new rumors, Spider-Man: The New Avenger, but what matters is who is going to play him.
Five names made the widely reported shortlist last week: Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars), Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game), Tom Holland (In The Heart of The Sea), Timothee Chalamet (Interstellar) and Liam James (The Killing).
According to LR however, their insiders claim the frontrunner is Asa Butterfield and that he has been for a while. There's nothing official on this front yet outside of Marvel actively searching for a star to play Parker and the beginning of production on Captain America: Civil War before the end of the month. Given the timing of the Sony-Marvel partnership and pre-production on Civil War, it's unclear how big of a role Spider-Man has in the film.
As for Butterfield, the young British talent just turned 18 earlier this month and has proven himself capable of not only leading big budget films, but sharing the screen with big-name veteran stars. Can you picture Mr. Butterfield working at The Daily Bugle? Can you picture him helping lead The Avengers in 2018?
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.