In a surprise piece of casting news, Michael Keaton will reportedly return to his role as Adrian Toomes in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel.
As a more sympathetic villain than the Marvel Cinematic Universe is used to, Keaton's performance as Toomes was praised as one of the movie's best. This is the first indication that Keaton's character, last seen in a mid-credits sequence in prison, would return for the sequel.
The news arrives in Variety's report that Jake Gylllenhaal is in talks to play the classic Spider-Man villain Mysterio, but there's no word how Keaton's Toomes will factor into the plot. The site also confirms the return of Marissa Tomei as Aunt May and Zendaya as Michelle, and backs up rumors that Tom Hollands' Peter Parker will go on a globe-trotting adventure.
The untitled Spider-Man sequel will kickstart the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2019, and will be the first release after Avengers 4.
Given that Homecoming loosely put in place the pieces of a Sinister Six formation, the return of Toomes may tie into the group of Spider-Man villains. That said, the close of Jon Watts' 2017 movie saw Keaton's character refuse to give up the identity of Spider-Man, so he could easily be fighting alongside the wall-crawler this time. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley wrote the script, which will apparently contain at least two major villains.
Spider-Man is currently MIA, due to the events of Infinity War, so it is up to Avengers 4 to bring Peter Parker back into the fray ahead of his solo movie and reunite with the cast of Homecoming. Either way, the possibility of bringing Keaton back is sure to be a big talking point when Watts gets back in the director's chair.
Tom Holland debuted as Peter Parker in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War as part of a co-production deal between Sony and Marvel Studios that led to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which successfully rebooted the franchise and grossed more than $880 million worldwide. Holland reprised his role for Avengers: Infinity War, and will (presumably) return next year for Avengers 4, which arrives in theaters just two months before the Spider-Man sequel.