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Eight actors who should have been cast as the new Spider-Man

Columbia Pictures
Who really should be under the mask?
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Sony and Marvel announced Tuesday that the next Spider-Man will be Tom Holland, a 19-year-old British actor who starred in the 2012 film The Impossible, and will be in Ron Howard’s upcoming film, In the Heart of the Sea. Holland will play the web-slinger in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before getting a film of his own in 2017.

By all accounts, Holland is a fine young actor, who appears to fit the persona of Peter Parker well enough. But considering Sony went to Marvel for a creative overhaul following the disappointing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which starred Andrew Garfield, a more than adequate Parker)—Holland’s casting seems rather obvious and unimaginative.

Never mind that the movie version of Spider-Man is literally contractually obligated to be a straight white male. Spider-Man, as far as we know, is not a real person, and thus shouldn’t have to be anything.

The character Miles Morales, a black Hispanic teenager, replaced Peter Parker in the official Marvel comic books after he was met by a unanimously warm reception from fans. In the Disney animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Morales is voiced by Donald Glover, the actor who starred in NBC’s Community and moonlights as the popular rapper Childish Gambino.

Alas, the next movie Spider-Man will be Peter Parker again, not Miles Morales. In an ideal world, this is who Quartz staff would have considered to be the new web-slinger:

Shameik Moore

Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Open Road Films/AP Images

Moore is about to blow up following his star-making performance in the critically acclaimed film Dope. Reviews suggest that the 20-year-old has the humor, presence, and energy to make for an excellent Spidey someday.

Jacob Anderson

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

If you watch the HBO series Game of Thrones, you know who Anderson is. He plays Grey Worm, the commander of the “Unsullied,” an army of silent eunuch killing machines. Anderson clearly has the athleticism needed to sling from building to building, but he also knows how to command a screen. He’s a singer, too, under the stage name Raleigh Ritchie.

Tyler James Williams

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Williams played the title character in the Chris Rock sitcom Everybody Hates Chris for five years before appearing in the most recent season of The Walking Dead on AMC. He looks the part, and has proven himself as both a comedic and a dramatic actor.

Alfie Enoch


Enoch already has one massive franchise under his belt, playing Gryffindor wizard Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter franchise. But since then, he’s done a number of dramatic turns, including roles on BroadchurchSherlock (another huge cultural phenomenon), and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Keith Stanfield

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Stanfield, like Moore, is about to become a household name. Stanfield portrayed civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson in Selma and also has a role in Dope. He’ll play rapper Snoop Dogg in the upcoming Straight Outta Compton, and will also appear in Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden film, coming out in December. That’s quite a range of films for a 23-year-old.

John Boyega

Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Boyega was magnificent in Attack the Block, and will be magnificent as one of the stars of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. His role in Star Wars means he probably wouldn’t be able to do Spider-Man anyway, but he would have been a perfect fit. He’s also on the record saying he’d like to play a Marvel character.

Michael B. Jordan

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Speaking of potential conflicts, Jordan will play the Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. That said, that hasn’t stopped Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds, or Ben Affleck from playing multiple superheroes over the years. Jordan is arguably among the best young actors in Hollywood, having starred in TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights before making the leap to blockbuster movies. His portrayal of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station was universally praised.

Donald Glover

Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP

If Miles Morales ever makes it to the big screen (that would require a certain contract to be nullified), it really should be Glover who plays him. Though he’s 31, Glover can play younger. He actually inspired Morales’ writers to create the character after he donned Spider-Man pajamas on Community—a reference to Glover’s failed attempt to secure an audition for The Amazing Spider-Man. The role eventually went to Andrew Garfield, and look where we are now.

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