Ever since the Sony cyber-attack leaked information about a possible collaboration with Marvel to reboot the Spiderman franchise again, fans have been frantically speculating about which actor will follow Andrew Garfield as the beloved web-slinger. Now, according to Deadline we know that the front runner of the possible replacements is Hugo and Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield.
The deal has yet to be set in stone, but various sources claim that an official announcement should be appearing soon once negotiations are completed between Marvel and the young actor’s reps. Buttefield’s first role as the super hero may very well be Captain America: Civil War in 2016, with a series reboot coming shortly after. Marvel studios has expressed interest in returning Peter Parker to his roots – a dorky high school student given too much power at an emotional time in his life, which would explain why they have reportedly chosen the 18 year old acclaimed actor. It should be interesting to see the age difference on screen while Asa fights alongside the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr.
But what does this partnership between the two studios mean? After the train wreck that was The Amazing Spiderman 2, Marvel sought to save their wall-crawler and bring him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) we now see unfolding on the silver screens. History of the character’s ownership is a bit shaky, but Marvel actually sold the rights to Spiderman years before Marvel Studios LLC was even formed. After a lot of suing and buy-outs, the character eventually fell into the hands of Sony after they became the parent company of Columbia Pictures, the studio behind the original Spiderman Trilogy. Believe or not, Marvel was filing for bankruptcy only several years ago, it’s only now with their string of successful adaptations that they can even negotiate buying back their character. However, Sony Pictures wasn’t entirely interested in giving full rights back to Marvel. They settled on a deal that lets the character appear in the MCU with Sony still retaining creative control, merchandising, and distribution rights so long as Andrew Garfield is scrapped and Marvel gets to help produce the reboot. Some fans may cringe at the idea of yet another Spiderman franchise being made out of Marvel’s hands, but this may be the closest we’re going to get to a ‘true’ Spiderman series and it also means exciting new opportunities for future instances of studios sharing characters.
Here’s hoping Butterfield is a good fit and that the Spiderman series is refreshed. I know personally I’m a little bit sick of the Spiderman origin story, but hopefully the studios can find a way to work around giving their audience a feeling of deja vu while still staying true to the character’s back story.