Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios are currently in the casting process to find the next star to play Peter Parker, the third actor (after Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield) to play the Marvel Comics character in a decade. If it seems crazy that Sony is rebooting the Spider-Man franchise again, it is, and the only way they’re able to do it so quickly without completely exhausting moviegoers is because they’re partnering with Marvel this time to fold the character’s story and world in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This Spider-Man is going to join up with The Avengers and in the coming years, Marvel Studios characters will appear in Spidey movies and Spidey supporting characters and villains may appear in Marvel movies. In fact, the first time we meet the new web-slinger will be in an MCU film.

It’s all but confirmed that Spider-Man will have a role to play in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, to be directed by Anthony and Joe Russo who return after their success with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The pair is also expected to continue their work in the Marvel family with The Avengers: Infinity War, a two-part epic scheduled for 2018 and 2019. Their use of Spider-Man in potentially all of these movies explains why they’ve signed a three-year production deal with Sony. It’s all part of the larger plan.

Spider Man Joins Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider Man Casting Update: Marvel & Sony Targeting Teen Actors [Updated]

So, after the new Spider-Man is introduced in a Marvel movie – and that could be as soon as this summer if they cast an actor in time to add in a cameo appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron – he’ll be getting his own solo movie in summer 2017. Rumor has it, Drew Goddard who was initially set to direct the Sinister Six spinoff, will helm the new Spider-Man and that it may be titled Spectacular Spider-Man. Better yet, it may feature Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man in a supporting role.

The biggest question remains though: who will replace Andrew Garfield? Although Marvel and Sony haven’t officially come out and say it, the whole world knows that they’re looking to pretend The Amazing Spider-Man films never happened, and Marvel – in order to fit the character in the MCU – wants a fresh face to play the part (here are some of our suggestions). And they’re looking for someone “much younger” than Garfield (who’s 31) to play the part and bring Parker back to High School.

Adding to rumored top candidates Dylan O’Brien and Logan Lerman, we can toss in 21 year-old British actor Sam Strike (EastEnders) who was the subject of headlines and social media buzz this weekend after having landed a major lead role in an as-of-yet unspecified American blockbuster, a role that requires him to workout rigorously.

That immediately had him listed in speculative news headlines as the next young man to play Peter Parker, but not so fast! LR reports that Marvel and Sony have yet to sign someone despite rumors to the contrary (like rumors last week saying Dylan O’Brien was cast which was false) and explain that the studios are looking for someone even younger, someone who can play a 15 year-old Peter Parker. If so, the reports of Marvel looking to put Parker back in high school aren’t kidding, and from a long-term business standpoint, it makes sense. This Spider-Man can’t fail or be abandoned. He’s not only going to potentially lead his own trilogy (at least) of Spider-Man movies that could come out annually beginning in 2017, but whatever spinoffs Sony aims to pursue on top of his major appearances in Marvel’s movies which may see him as the lead in The Avengers: Infinity War – Part One.

[Update: LR mentioned X-Men or Deadpool as projects for Sam Strike but his actual role is that of Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel.]

The Avengers need some younger stars and while newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) will bring that element in The Avengers 2 this summer, they aren’t bankable lead characters like Spider-Man is. Spider-Man is Marvel’s top comics character, their golden child, and whoever they cast could be playing him for a decade or more depending on what Marvel wants to do after Phase 3 when some of their current stars see their contracts end.

Are you game for a young Spider-Man?

More: 5 ‘Spider-Man’ Stories We Want To See On Film

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.

Sources: Sam Strike, LR

Header edited from art by Aidan May

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