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“Spider-Man: Homecoming”: 11 Characters Donald Glover Could Play

by  in Lists, Comic News, Movie News Comment
“Spider-Man: Homecoming”: 11 Characters Donald Glover Could Play

#Donald4SpiderMan is happening! Well, sort of. With Donald Glover reportedly joining the cast of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the campaign that began in 2010 has achieved some level of success. That said, we still don’t know who he’ll be playing in the joint Sony/Marvel Studios film.

There are many exciting ways for the 32-year-old actor to join Spider-Man’s mythos (in addition to previously voicing Miles Morales in animation). Not only does Glover have a wide acting range, but his age puts him in a unique position to play a number of characters from Spidey’s 50+ year history, from family members to heroes, to villains (to family members who become villains).

While Glover won’t be playing Peter Parker — as some hoped prior to “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and again before Tom Holland was cast in “Captain America: Civil War” — there are plenty other fantastic roles the “Community” star could take on for “Homecoming.” CBR News navigated Spider-Man’s tangled web to come up with some possible roles for Glover, drawing on several key names from Spidey’s Marvel Comics past.

11. Miles Morales

All right, let’s get this one out of the way first. Donald Glover’s name has been associated with Spider-Man for years, and with good reason. Back in 2010, fans campaigned for him to play the new Spider-Man when Sony relaunched the franchise with “The Amazing Spider-Man”; the role eventually went to Andrew Garfield, but the idea has lingered in the Internet’s collective memory. Glover’s interest in the franchise remained as well, and he even went on to voice Miles Morales in Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series.

As such, it’s no wonder that many minds leaped to Miles Morales when the news hit. “Captain America: Civil War” breakout Tom Holland already has the coveted role of Peter Parker, but the other Spider-Man is still up for grabs, after all. Glover’s history as a fan-favorite casting choice feels so strongly connected to his recent talks for a role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” that it seems obvious Marvel and Sony are tapping into the actor’s established fan base.

But (and there’s always a “but,” it seems) here’s the thing: at 32, Glover is just too old to play Miles Morales. Marvel and Sony have opted to go young for “Spider-Man: Homecoming”; Tom Holland is a 20-year-old playing a high schooler, and most of his supporting cast is even younger. Considering that, Glover would stand out like a sore thumb among a crowd of actual teenagers if he attempted to play one. Sure, Marvel could change things up and make Miles older, but that would defeat the purpose of making Spider-Man and his core cast so young. Glover is far more likely to play Miles’ father (or uncle) than Miles himself.

What’s more, recent rumors have pinpointed Miles as the star of Sony’s animated “Spider-Man” film, which is set to release in December 2018. The animated film is said to “co-exist” with live-action Spidey film projects, though it “will exist independently of the projects in the live-action Spider-Man universe, all of which are continuing.” If that’s the case, then Miles won’t feature in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” — at least, not yet. (Meagan Damore)

10. J. Jonah Jameson

While J.K. Simmons’ version of JJJ is perhaps the greatest thing to happen to comic book movies, it would be a shame to see the Oscar-winner’s take simply rehashed in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” However, by casting Glover as Jameson, he’d no doubt offer a distinct take on the character, while ensuring a strong comedic performance as a seasoned actor in the craft.

Glover’s experience as a member of sketch groups like Derek Comedy and in projects like “Community” and “The To-Do List” prove he has impeccable range and timing. With the acting chops and unique dryness of someone like Glover, JJJ’s presence in future Spidey films would guarantee scenes of comedic gold. Glover could offer a more relatable and savvy Jameson than the one-note version from Sam Raimi’s original “Spider-Man” trilogy, all while continuing the comedic legacy Simmons established, but in a slightly different direction. (Anthony Couto)

9. Chameleon

If you’re casting an actor that is as effortlessly charismatic and versatile as Donald Glover, then you need to use every single bit of his acting ability. Through his work on “Community” as well as his grounded turn in ‘The Martian,” Glover’s proven to be able to handle a variety of roles. His improv and sketch background widens the field of characters he can play even more; that’s why a revamped version of the classic Spider-Man villain Chameleon would be a fantastic fit for the impossibly energetic Glover. Why have him play just one character when you can have him play dozens?

Unlike the shape-shifters we’ve seen in comic book films, Chameleon was initially just a master of disguise. This means Glover could easily perform every single one of the characters he impersonates as Chameleon with CGI and mocap technology augmenting his disguises. Glover’s version might be a far cry from the source material, where Russian spy Dmitri Smerdyakov plays the role, but Marvel took a major leap when adapting Baron Zemo for “Captain America: Civil War,” so they could do it again. Plus, Chameleon is Spider-Man’s oldest supervillain — it’s about time he appeared in a movie. (Brett White)

8. Hobgoblin

The five previous Spider-Man solo films have had a lot of Green Goblins. Willem Dafoe memorably played Norman Osborn in the first one, then James Franco, as Harry Osborn, took over the Goblin mantle in the much-criticized third installment. It didn’t take the Andrew Garfield-led franchise long to delve into Goblin territory, with both Norman (Chris Cooper) and Harry (Dane DeHaan) both featured in 2014’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

So, it’s probably too soon to go back to the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” especially if Sony and Marvel want to distinguish this franchise as something totally different than what’s come before. But what about the Hobgoblin? For comic book fans that came of age in the ’80s and ’90s — when the Green Goblin was mostly out of commission — the Hobgoblin was  the Goblin character in the Spider-Man mythos, central to some of the most celebrated Spidey stories of that era. It could give Donald Glover a rich opportunity to not only play a villain, but a different one than what viewers have previously seen in live-action; yet still with an iconic silhouette. It may be wrinkle purists a bit to have the Hobgoblin show up before the Green Goblin, but it’s happened before — in the ’90s “Spider-Man” cartoon.

Also, Glover could fit in perfectly for at least a couple of different Hobgoblins. There’s the classic, Roderick Kingsley, who was a billionaire fashion designer/ruthless criminal schemer — which certainly sounds like something Glover could have a lot of fun with. Then there’s the more recent Hobgoblin, Phil Urich, who’d match Glover’s youthful energy and could give the film a link to the “Daredevil” Netflix series, which featured Ben Urich (Phil’s uncle) in its first season. (Albert Ching)

7. Prowler

There are two very different versions of Prowler Glover could play. The first is Hobie Brown, a classic Spider-Man supporting character. A tech genius, Brown initially created his Prowler gear to help him wash windows for a living. Upset after losing his job, however, Brown briefly used his costume to commit crimes — until Spider-Man intervened and the newly named Prowler changed paths. Prowler then served as a crime-fighter, often teaming up with Spider-Man. While Glover’s age would kinda prohibit him from playing a character that’s really a peer of Tom Holland’s teen hero, it would be fantastic to see Glover give playing a costumed hero a go. It would also be great to see Prowler, one of the very first African-American superheroes, get wider recognition.

There’s another Prowler out there, and it actually would tie Glover to the Marvel Comics character he inspired — Miles Morales. In the Ultimate Universe, the Prowler is a career criminal named Aaron Davis, a man that just so happens to be the uncle of Miles Morales. While breaking into OsCorp, a genetically altered spider crawled into Davis’ gear. That spider later bit Miles when he was visiting his uncle’s apartment. The fan campaign to get Glover cast as Spider-Man in 2011 led to writer Brian Michael Bendis creating Miles Morales. It would be clever casting to, in turn, cast Glover as the character who starts the chain reaction that transforms Miles into Spider-Man. And honestly, there’s no reason why an MCU Prowler couldn’t be the best of both versions — a costumed crime-fighter and Miles’ uncle. (Brett White)

6. The Jackal

Casting Donald Glover as Prof. Miles Warren, AKA the Jackal, could be a great way of tying genetics into the next wave of “Spider-Man” films. Starting out as one of Peter Parker’s teachers, Warren eventually underwent a regeneration — as a result of his his experiments on animals with the High Evolutionary — that turned him into, as the name suggests, the Jackal.

The Jackal played a bigger role in the Spidey comics by the time the ’90s rolled around, as he was the main antagonist of “The Clone Saga,” and eventually, played a large part in “Spider-Island.” The character could be a great way of linking untouched aspects of the Marvel/Spidey mythos — like the High Evolutionary and Ben Reilly — while serving as a decent villain in his own right as a mentor for Peter who undergoes a tragic villainous turn. While we’ve seen a similar turn from characters like Doc Ock and the Lizard in other Spidey films, a unique take on Jackal from Glover could really redefine what fans think a Spider-Man movie villain can be. (Anthony Couto)

5. Robbie Robertson

Joseph “Robbie” Robertson has long been a staple of the Daily Bugle, where J. Jonah Jameson has reigned as publisher. The Editor-in-Chief and Jameson’s good friend, Robbie often keeps the Bugle’s explosive publisher in check. Robbie is much more supportive of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, serving as an ally to the web slinger at the publication that so often maligns him. Glover wouldn’t be originating the character though, as Bill Nunn played the Robertson opposite J.K. Simmons and Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi’s first “Spider-Man” movie in 2002.

If Marvel Studios and Sony decide to introduce the Daily Bugle into the Marvel Universe, Robbie Robertson is a must — and Glover would be well suited for the role. He would be able to serve as a mentor of sorts to Peter, fostering his role at the paper. Even if Glover’s role started out as minor, it has the opportunity to grow into something much bigger.

Alternatively, there’s another, younger Robertson Glover could play. Randolph “Randy” Robertson, Robbie’s son, is the city editor at the Daily Bugle. Even before that, though, he was a classmate of Peter Parker’s at Empire State University. While Glover is a little old to play Peter’s classmate, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” could adapt the role to shift Randy from peer to mentor, someone a little closer to Peter’s age at the publisher who doesn’t carry a title quite as intimidating as “Editor-in-Chief.” (Meagan Damore)

4. Eddie Brock

By the time “Homecoming” hits theaters, it will mark ten years since Venom appeared on the big screen. By then, audiences will probably be comfortable with digesting another take on the character — assuming he’s handled better than he was in “Spider-Man 3.” While the popularity of Venom isn’t at as dangerously high as it once was, he’s still a huge draw for audiences as a recognizable and visually engaging character.

Enter: Donald Glover as Eddie Brock. With a charismatic portrayal from Glover as the arrogant, beefed-up Brock, a fun dynamic could play out with Holland’s Peter Parker, whether the character is introduced as an outside villain/thug, or is brought in as a rival photographer at the Daily Planet. With proper scripting, Glover as a brash anti-hero could really work alongside Holland’s playful, optimistic take on Parker. And with lessons learned from “Spider-Man 3,” plus major technological advancements, a creative (yet familiar) look for Venom could really leave a lasting impact on audiences, while fixing Marvel’s villain problem.(Anthony Couto)

3. Doctor Octopus

It’s now been 12 years since Alfred Molina played Doctor Octopus in the acclaimed “Spider-Man 2,” so the time may be right for another take on the character. While Molina attracted raves from fans and critics for his subtle, human take on Doc Ock — a docile scientist who became a supervillain through circumstance — it’s a safe bet that Donald Glover could do something very different with the character, while retaining the essence of a tragic misfit who becomes one of Spidey’s archenemies.

In the past few years of Marvel Comics, Doctor Octopus has reaffirmed his status as one of Spidey’s top villains — maybe the top villain. During the long (and still ongoing) run of writer Dan Slott, Doc Ock became more and more of a threat, before pulling off something truly unique and diabolical in the “Superior Spider-Man” era — switching minds with Peter Parker as his body was failing, thus transferring his consciousness to Spidey’s healthy body (with no one in Peter’s life aware this was happening). Though it’ll be many movies before this new Spidey franchise can pull off anything like that, the current high profile of the character makes him a likely target for a new live-action adaptation.

At 32, Glover is definitely younger than the classic depictions of Doc Ock, but keep in mind, Tom Holland is also a younger Spidey than fans are used to seeing in live action or in most comic books — making for a suitable age gap between the two. And like the Holland casting, Glover could also be a Doc Ock who inhabits the role for a number of years, as the franchise progresses. (Albert Ching)

2. Horizon Labs Associate

There are multiple Spider-staples that have successfully transitioned from comic book to screen, but Horizon Labs is not one of them. The company actually comes into Peter’s life at a much later stage — first appearing in 2011’s “Amazing Spider-Man” #648 — so it’s not surprising it hasn’t yet been tapped over the course of the character’s cinematic history. However, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” could very easily change that. Glover could take on a role similar to Max Modell, the CEO who takes a chance on Peter Parker, or any of the scientists that worked alongside him before the company’s (literal) collapse in “Superior Spider-Man.”

Spider-Man’s interest in science is one of his defining traits, but one that hasn’t been explored in film to great lengths; by including Horizon Labs, the film could foster the side of Peter Parker that eventually leads him to become the founder and CEO of Parker Industries, his own tech firm. What’s more, Glover’s character could act as the transition between these two worlds. If he played a teacher with connections to Horizon Labs, he could help Peter on his way to becoming one of the smartest scientists in the Marvel Universe. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Glover has appeared as a science whiz; in “The Martian,” he played Rich Purnell, who uses an advanced math equation to send a rocket to Mars in the shortest amount of time possible. (Meagan Damore)

1. A Brand New Character

There’s one thing tying a lot of the supporting cast of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” together: they’re all-new characters. Yes, we have a Peter Parker, Aunt May and Tony Stark, and Michael Keaton may be playing the Vulture; other than that, though, everyone else is playing an unknown. Zendaya will be playing a character named Michelle, Kenneth Choi’s playing an unspecified high school principal, and Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori have all been cast as presumably original characters. Unless Marvel’s holding off on revealing these characters’ names for maximum surprise (which is always possible), it looks like “Homecoming” will feature the most original characters of any Marvel movie. So Glover could be playing a character that was actually created with Glover in mind, or a character that Glover can fully take creative control over. And if that’s the case, Glover’s new guy could find his way into the comics, just like Agent Phil Coulson did. And if that happens, then Glover will have directly inspired two different Marvel characters. (Brett White)

Who do you think Glover will play? Let us know in the comments!

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