Spider-Man currently exists in a very curious place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character balances precariously between Disney and his rights-holders, Sony. Clearly that’s not standing in the way of Marvel’s plans for the mighty wall-crawler. With a brief yet important role in Captain America: Civil War, Spidey is set to return to the big screen in a big way, via the conjoined efforts of Sony and Marvel.
Tom Holland, who’ll debut his web-slinging abilities in Cap 3, is already on board to bring the character back for yet another Spider-Man series, with Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei joining him as Aunt May. And while details have been scant on the new solo film, it was recently reported that Disney Channel pop star and actress Zendaya (Shake It Up!, Black-ish) could have a role in the third reboot of the Spider-Man franchise.
Today, Zendaya confirmed her role in the new Spider-Man, rumored to be titled The Spectacular Spider-Man (via Just Jared). Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the entertainer was asked by DeGeneres about her potential part in the upcoming superhero epic directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car). While she isn’t sure when production will begin and "can’t say anything else other than I’m going to be in it," she did discuss the casting experience before landing her first major film role:
“It’s very exciting. When it comes to the acting space, I’m basically unknown. I’ve never been in a real movie before or anything like that, so I had to start from the bottom like anyone else. I auditioned and auditioned and auditioned and [broke] down those walls because a lot of people do have that pre-conceived notion of who I am based off previous things I’ve done, so you got to really break that down and go hard, put in the work, take all the meetings, take all the auditions.”
Although the entertainer hasn’t appeared in a major film yet, her popularity with a younger audience is clearly attractive to the producers and studio heads. Zendaya has been acting on television for seven years, though, so making the leap from small to large screens shouldn’t be nearly as traumatic as if she was an industry greenhorn. She’ll also be sharing the screen with veteran actor Holland and the aforementioned Tomei, so she'll have some accomplished costars to work with.
Little is known about her role in the film, or the film itself – aside from MCU head Kevin Feige’s description of it as a superhero origin saga by way of a John Hughes-esque high school melodrama. Her character in the Spider-Man reboot is currently listed on IMDB as “Michelle,” which could be a reference to criminal defense lawyer and Peter Parker roommate, Michelle Gonzales. However, early rumors suggested she has a “key role” in the film (larger than a roommate role would presume, anyway), so it’s also possible her character is an amalgamation of several characters or that Gonzales' importance has been increased in the film – assuming it is her character at all.
Hiring Zendaya is a clear sign that Sony is putting some serious effort into shifting its own Marvel productions back into high gear. With an upcoming Venom film recently announced and the Spidey reboot, the studio is definitely looking to generate some excitement for their reentry into the MCU. We’ll be scouring for more news about the Spider-Man reboot as it emerges.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018;Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.