Spider-Man 3 had barely been in theaters for a week when I started hearing rumors about a fourth Spider-man movie. Personally, I enjoyed the third film and thought it was magnificent how many things they were able to artfully balance, but in light of the critical and popular response to Spider-Man 3 being largely negative it seemed like a Spider-Man 4 was jumping the gun a little bit. (Oh, and FYI, if they wanted to feature Lizard as a villain they should have done it at a much earlier, organic moment. It's just too late.)
Recently, the Spider-Man 4 project was scrapped in order that Marvel could reboot the Spider-Man story (possibly within the same continuity as the Avengers storyline?). The Hollywood Reporter released a list of boring white people lined up to play Peter Parker in the reboot: Jamie Bell, Andrew Garfield, Josh Hutcherson and Alden Ehrenreich. Honestly, if you're going to list a bunch of scrawny little white boys and you don't include the magnificent Jesse Eisenberg then what's the point (of course, they might have to rename it Spider-Man-Land)? Wouldn't it make more sense to get people excited about a Spider-Man reboot?
Marc Bernardin, writing for io9, responded with an article that I don't think he imagined would become so influential in the Spider-Man proceedings. The article was titled "The Last Thing Spider-Man Should Be Is Another White Guy," and it argues brilliantly for the fact that there's no good reason out there to explain why Spider-Man can't be played by a minority:
Lee and Ditko created a wonderfully strong character, one full of complexity and depth, who happens to be white. In no way is Peter Parker defined by his whiteness in the same way that too many black characters are defined by their blackness. He's defined by the people he cares for, by his career, by his identity as a New Yorker (incidentally, one of the most diverse cities in the world) — as too many good people died to prove, a man is defined by his choices, not by the color of his skin.In response to this article a great deal of individuals began to proclaim that Spider-Man should be played by Donald Glover, who stars on NBC's Community and has written for NBC's 30 Rock. Almost immediately, Glover began campaigning on Twitter and Facebook for the role of Spider-Man and gaining masses of people to support him. Humble Glover recently tweeted, "Some people are mistaken. I don’t want to just be given the role. I want to be able to audition. I truly love Spider-Man."
I believe that, when used right, the internet allows for the possibility of a greater democracy. I can't say that I've experienced this politically, but I know for a fact that it's happening in mass media. What have we accomplished? We elected McLovin. We got Juggernaut to sport a witty line from a popular series of YouTube videos in X2. We convinced Hollywood to add some entertaining Samuel L. Jackson scenes to Snakes on a Plane. We got Betty White to host SNL. As much as New York hipsters want to talk about the Betty White thing on a daily basis and without end, it pales (literally) in comparison to Donald Glover as Spider-Man.
Do you remember how the Iron Man movie turned out much better than the other Marvel movies that came before and after it? A lot of that had to do with the fact that Robert Downey, Jr. worked on dialogue, allowing John Favreau and the writers to focus on story. How much better would a Spider-Man film be with a writer for 30 Rock as the main character? Donald Glover is Spider-Man. He may not get the role. He may not even get a chance to audition. But when it comes to Spider-Man, make mine Donald Glover.