It's a big weekend for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel TV launched their first Netflix series in Daredevil which is already earning rave reviews, and at the same time Marvel Studios hosted the global press junket for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This of course, is all during the same week when a spinoff for ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was announced, all building upon an evolving release slate of upcoming movies.
The 2015 summer movie season is home to the conclusion of Phase 2 of the MCU with Ant-Man rounding out the current set of films, and next summer, Captain America: Civil War begins Phase 3 - an even larger set of movies that Marvel unveiled six months ago. A lot has changed since then however since two months ago Marvel and Sony came to an agreement to work together on rebooting Spider-Man (again) but this time, merging their franchises.
Spider-Man and all of the characters associated with him owned by Sony Pictures are now going to have their stories take place in the same cinematic universe as The Avengers.
This opportunity resulted in Marvel changing their movie plans and schedule slightly to fit a new Spider-Man solo feature in for 2017. The character however, will first be introduced in a Marvel movie next year (read: Civil War). Since that announcement there's been speculation, rumors and reports pointing towards all sorts of possibilities for who will play the new web-slinger, which version of Spider-Man it would be from the comics and how he'd share the screen with other familiar Avengers heroes in the coming years. With casting seemingly already underway, we're closer than ever to finding out.
We know for certain that the new Spider-Man series will start near the beginning - with the original Peter Parker (previously played by Tobey Maguire in the Sam Raimi films and then by Andrew Garfield in the Marc Webb movies). Despite reports indicating that familiar actors in their 20s were in talks for the part, we heard a month ago that Marvel was actually looking for an even younger star, someone in their teens to play Peter Parker.
Speaking with Collider during yesterday's Avengers 2 junket (stay tuned for our video interviews!) Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige openly talks about plans to explore the stories of Peter Parker (and yes, it's 100% going to be Peter Parker) when he's in high school, confirming that "in terms of the age of what we believe Peter Parker is, I’d say 15-16 is right."
"We want to play with Spider-Man in the high school years because frankly there've been five Spider-Man films and the amazing thing about it is, even though there've been five Spider-Man films, there are so many things from the comics that haven’t been done yet. Not just characters or villains or supporting characters, but sides to his character. The most obvious being the ‘young, doesn't quite fit in’ kid before his powers, and then the fella that puts on a mask and swings around and fights bad guys and doesn't shut up, which is something we want to play with and we’re excited about."
And that's something we've spoken about a lot on the site - in how a (very) young Peter Parker brings an element to The Avengers we've yet to see. The core cast of Marvel's big screen heroes are older, with some actors in their 40s and while Age of Ultron injects some youth via new characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man is a lead character (who could lead the Avengers...), their most popular and one fans are dying to see share the screen with the likes of Tony Stark's Iron Man.
"That also makes him very, very different from any of our other characters in the MCU, which is something else we want to explore: how unique he is when now put against all these other characters."
And share the screen with Iron Man he just might. While still unconfirmed, there are rumors the new Spider-Man will be written and directed by Drew Goddard under the title Spectacular Spider-Man and that it will include Robert Downey Jr. in a major role, attempting to recruit Spidey. Ready to see a teen Peter Parker bounce wit off of 50-year-old RDJ?
Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
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.