When word officially broke that Spider-Man would, indeed, be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it didn't take long for speculation over potential actor or even character changes to hit a fever pitch. But when the dust settled, reports started to trickle in claiming that a few young actors had emerged from the rest of the pack - Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf, The Maze Runner) chief among them.
O'Brien's name was first mentioned alongside that of Logan Lerman (Fury), with later rumors taking things even farther, and claiming that the 23 year-old actor had already been signed for the part. Unfortunately for those happy to hear that news, it sounds like those rumors have been well and truly refuted by O'Brien himself.
Rumors can grow from molehills to mountains quite quickly these days, even though the report of O'Brien's casting was sketchy at best. But word still spread far enough for the actor to hear it himself, explaining to BuzzFeed that they're a total fabrication:
"Professionally, I haven’t heard anything about it... I’ve only heard from, like, [rumors] online... It feels so weird to say... It’s so funny. My friends from New Jersey are calling me. They’re like, 'what are you not telling me, dude?! Spider-Man?!'
"It makes me feel bad because I’m, like, disappointing a big chunk of fans across the nation... You can tell them that it’s not true."
Fans are likely used to hearing the rumored frontrunners for superhero roles playing coy, or letting their silence speak volumes when asked directly about any truth behind rumors. But O'Brien seems to state it quite plainly that, if a search for the next Spider-Man actor is already under way... he hasn't heard of it.
It can be understood why Spider-Man fans may be getting ahead of themselves, but more reliable sources have revealed that even a director has yet to be chosen for the new series (although Drew Goddard sounds like the most likely candidate). Given how fluid the situation remains - with Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo potentially overseeing production for Sony - it makes sense that the casting process has yet to fully begin.
There is still some time left before the clock starts ticking: though the new actor's debut as Peter Parker is reportedly planned for Civil War, there is little information on just how large a role Spider-Man is expected to play (the smaller the role - the later the new actor can be found). And for the record, O'Brien made sure to confirm that he wouldn't turn down the opportunity if it presented itself:
"It’s nothing but flattering. It’s never something I would want to get myself excited about, since I know I haven’t heard about it from a professional standpoint... I’ve always wanted to play Peter Parker, obviously. I feel like any actor my age, that’s, like, a big thing. And my name being tossed with Logan Lerman’s is the coolest thing ever, too. I just think that kid is f***ing fantastic.
"It’s really just, you know, I guess I’ll see if I even hear about it? But thank you, internet, for giving me false hope!"
Hopefully the fact that O'Brien AND his fans have been cruelly teased by the rumors will offer some solace. To be honest, the filmmakers (whoever they end up being) could do much worse than O'Brien - assuming Peter Parker is the version of the hero set to be adapted.
At this point, rumors are easier to come by than actual leads on how Marvel and Sony will choose to change/reinvent/tweak Spider-Man; hopefully this update will come as a reminder that patience truly is a virtue.
What do you think of Dylan O'Brien's comments? Are you disappointed to hear that he has apparently yet to be contacted about the part, or do you think he's being a bit more secretive than he lets on? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The new Spider-Man movie hits theaters July 28, 2017.
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