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Peter T Chattaway

The Amazing Spider-Man

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When JMS's final issue ended with the mystical unraveling of Peter and MJ's marriage, while I appreciated the artistic and dramatic reasons for those choices, and the way JMS handled them (understanding that they weren't entirely JMS's own choices), I had less than no interest in going back to reading about bachelor Peter. I looked at the next issue or two but stopped collecting pretty much immediately. I, for one, want Peter's life to go forward.

Oh, I agree. I suspected you did not fall into that group. :) I really liked the things that were done overall during the runs of JMS (taking the marriage from on the rocks to reconciliation) also PeterDavid...both proved there was much to mine from an adult Peter Parker with grown up struggles.

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It's an experiment waiting to happen: Pick a comic-book hero and have a completely original movie about him or her made once a year. Line up the directors. Turn it into an ongoing course in filmmaking theory. Each participating director would have a chance to draw attention to different elements of style and storytelling invention. Why not Spider-man? What superhero is more deserving?

Well, Batman would certainly fit better with such a project. Of all the major superheroes, he's the one with the most varied and fractured past (a clear continuity is practically nonexistent as far as Batman is concerned, given the ever-changing nature of his world), and the one most compatible with directors coming in to give life to their their different visions of the character and his world. There's simply more to draw on, and more room to experiment. And after Nolan's done with Batman, that might just be the best route to go with the character.

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Surprise, surprise, this movie, like so many others nowadays, will be in 3D.

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Exclusive: 'Percy Jackson' star Logan Lerman frontrunner to be the new 'Spider-Man'

The search for the new "Spider-Man" appears to be over.

HitFix has exclusively learned that Logan Lerman is first choice for Sony Pictures and the clear frontrunner to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in the reboot of the blockbuster franchise. A source close to the production tells HitFix Lerman is "almost 100% locked" but not in contract negotiations for the role yet.

Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer") is directing the new untitled "Spider-Man" which is being written by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac," "The Losers") and is meant to be a more teen-friendly incarnation, taking Peter Parker back to his early days of balancing girl trouble, homework, and crimefighting. The new film is expected to begin production later this year for a July 3, 2012 release. . . .

The 18-year-old Los Angeles native is best known for his role as Percy in February's hit "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." His other credits include "Gamer," "My One and Only," "Bill," "3:10 to Yuma," "The Number 23" and the TV series "Jack & Bobby" where he played Bobby. Lerman got his start in two Mel Gibson films "What Women Want" and "The Patriot" at the young age of 8. . . .

HitFix.com, April 10

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Logan Lerman

Nice. Works for me.

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FWIW, Mike Fleming says Sony insiders are adamantly denying that Lerman is a serious candidate for this role, but Fleming also acknowledges that Drew McWeeney @ HitFix is often right about this stuff (for example, McWeeney was the first person to report -- accurately, as it turned out -- that Fox was considering other directors to take Bryan Singer's place on X-Men: First Class). So Fleming's taking a wait-and-see stance on this one.

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IESB Exclusive: Another Candidate Has Emerged For Spider-Man

IESB has exclusively heard another candidate is on the short list for Pete Parker and his web-slinging alter-ego – Josh Hutcherson.

If his name doesn't sound familiar (which technically it shouldn't – being an unknown), you have seen him in stuff. He played Brendan Fraser's nephew in Journey to the Center of the Earth, the older brother (before growing up to be Dax Shepard – scary!) in Jon Favreau's underrated Zathura and recently appeared in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. . . .

IESB.net, April 13

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There's a meme going around about getting a black actor -- and a very specific black actor, at that (someone I'd never heard of before) -- to play Peter Parker. So we might as well discuss it here. Here's what I just posted on a friend's Facebook wall:

I didn't care much when Tim Burton's Batman cast Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, and I'm fine with Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury if that change has already been made in the comics (hey, if the precedent is there, why not?). And of course the Green Lantern Corps features members of every race, nation and species.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

And of course, it wouldn't be just Peter Parker who gets changed. You'd have to change his relatives (Aunt May and Uncle Ben... not that we haven't seen an iconic black Uncle Ben before!), and you might have to change Mary-Jane as well, depending on how commercial you thought an inter-racial romance would be. (Remember all the careful calibrations when Will Smith starred with Eva Mendes in Hitch? He had to find a leading lady who wasn't black, so as not to trap his movie in the "urban" genre ghetto, but also not (too) white, so as not to offend certain contingents in the African-American audience. See also Salma Hayek in Wild Wild West, or Alice Braga in I Am Legend, or Rosario Dawson in Men in Black 2 and Seven Pounds, though those films are not romantic comedies per se and thus the movies do not hinge so much on Smith's choice of partner.)

And then there's the question of whether the filmmakers could resist using a lot of "urban" stereotypes -- or going out of their way to poke fun at same, e.g. by giving the black superhero a sassy white sidekick, or whatever.

In short: it would be a political minefield. And for what?

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

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.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

To be fair, in the comics there have been female & hispanic versions of Spider Man(Spider Girl & Spider Man 2099).

I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise. Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.

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I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

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I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise.

No. Creativity is necessary to establish a new franchise. Look at Batman Begins. Somehow they pulled it off without an Asian Bruce Wayne.

Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.

No no no. This super-hero is all about who he is under the mask. Spider-Man fans have a relationship with Peter Parker. He is someone we know and love, like we know and love Elizabeth Bennett or Tom Sawyer. There can be different interpretations of the character, but we must believe that it is the same character we know and love, not somebody else.

I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

I'm all for a black super hero. Something creative and original. Even, in principle, a black Spider-Man spin-off character. Peter Parker in blackface, or a black actor calling himself Peter Parker, is not a good idea.

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I'm all for a black Peter Parker.

I'm all for a black super hero. Something creative and original. Even, in principle, a black Spider-Man spin-off character. Peter Parker in blackface, or a black actor calling himself Peter Parker, is not a good idea.

But what is it about Peter Parker that precludes him being non-white? He's almost literally intended to be an Everyman, defined by his deeds and not his heritage.

It seems that the most important thing a new spider-man movie has to do is establish that is is absolutely not a sequel to Spider-Man 3. Batman had a much longer break, and did about as dramatic reinvention as possible in terms of stoytelling and tone. And no one seemed to mind the change of Ra's al Ghul from Arab to Japanese.

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.

But I'm not so sure it's a good idea to change the race of a major iconic character, i.e. of a character that "everybody knows". If "everybody knows" what Superman or Spider-Man look like, and if they've known this for generations, then changing a fundamental aspect of their appearance just comes across as needlessly provocative.

I trust it goes without saying that my basic point here -- i.e. the point I make in the second paragraph -- would apply if the meme in question were all about a Native or Asian or Latino actor, or whatever. No matter which way you slice it, changing an iconic character's racial identity would bring with it a whole lot of political baggage.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gender. See the Christopher Robin debate.

To be fair, in the comics there have been female & hispanic versions of Spider Man(Spider Girl & Spider Man 2099).

I think a dramatic change is really necessary to establish a new franchise. Besides, it's the mask that everyone knows, not the face under it.

But Spider-Girl was Peter and Mary Jane's daughter, so it's less of a female re-imagining of the original Spider-Man, and more of "what if Spidey became a father and his kid inherited his powers".

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I don't really think there is anything wrong with someone desiring for a character to maintain the same racial identity that character has always had. Contrary to what the "it doesn't matter" crowd says, it does change the character.

Even so, though, I think Don Glover--the actor in question here--could do very well in the part of Peter Parker, and I don't really mind if the character gets a racial makeover if it means getting him in the part. Would it require the character to change? Well, sure. But if the Joker can be a dude with a scarred mouth and make-up rather than a guy that got a chemical bath and was conveniently bleached like a clown and still work perfectly well, then I'm fine with Peter Parker being black.

Edited by Ryan H.

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But what is it about Peter Parker that precludes him being non-white? He's almost literally intended to be an Everyman, defined by his deeds and not his heritage.

What precludes Peter from being non-white is the same thing that precludes me from being non-white: I am white. It's the same thing that precludes Luke Cage from being non-black, or a non-black actor from playing him: Luke Cage is black.

Granted, I exist, and Peter and Luke don't. As I said, though, Spider-Man fans have a long-established relationship with our hero. Look. Imagine that you show up at school one day and sitting at your best friend's desk is this kid you've never seen who totally looks nothing like your friend, and he says "Hi Bobbin, it's me, your best friend." Um. No. No you're not. I know my best friend, my best friend is a friend of mine, etc.

Some kids were traumatized when Darren on "Bewitched" was suddenly Dick Sargent instead of Dick York, but at least they had similar hair (heck, they were even both named Dick). I can accept that Dick Sargent is playing the same character as Dick York. If they had cast Sidney Poitier, it would be a whole different character, wouldn't it? Unless, like, Endora turned one of the Dicks into Sidney Poitier. I hope that Peter Parker isn't going to undergo a race change operation before his fateful date with the spider.

Consider this: If Peter Parker is defined by his deeds and not his heritage, then why would the filmmakers want the name Peter Parker? They want it because of its heritage.

Peter Parker has a heritage. That heritage includes Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Forest Hills, Empire State University, Grantray-Lawrence Animation, Nicholas Hammond, John Romita Sr., various Marvel Productions series, various computer game series, Todd MacFarlane, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire, that Universal Studios ride, the late, great "Spectacular Spider-Man" on Kids WB and Disney XD, and a Broadway musical that may or may not make it to the stage.

By and large, throughout most of this heritage I am able to accept that it is one character in all of these incarnations. A black actor might easily create a much more interesting character than Tobey Maguire (it wouldn't be hard); it would not be the same character. At all. If it were a character I cared less about, I might not mind. I do care and I do mind.

It's not just race. Peter can't be blond, because he isn't a blond. I know that the Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly bleached his hair; I could accept a storyline in which Peter bleaches his hair. But Peter has dark hair, because he does. I'm blond, and I identify with Peter, but I don't want Peter to look like me.

When you say Peter Parker to me, I know what he looks like. Countless panels drawn by Jack Kirby, Romita Sr. and Jr. and others have shaped my picture of Peter Parker. Nicholas Hammond and the 1967 "Spider-Man" series shaped it from before I was ten. Todd MacFarlane, Tobey Maguire and "Spectacular Spider-Man" didn't exactly shape my picture -- it was already set by then -- but they basically conformed to the right picture. No black actor could ask me to accept him as Peter Parker, any more than a white actor could ask me to accept him as Luke Cage.

Separate but equal, then? ;)

I'm so not laughing. I have no idea how you meant that, but it strikes me as neither funny nor appropriate, and a smiley doesn't really help.

Edited by SDG

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Peter can't be blond, because he isn't a blond. I know that the Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly bleached his hair; I could accept a storyline in which Peter bleaches his hair. But Peter has dark hair, because he does. I'm blond, and I identify with Peter, but I don't want Peter to look like me.

This reminds me of the cries "James Bond is blond?" that followed the casting of Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE.

I'm so not laughing. I have no idea how you meant that, but it strikes me as neither funny nor appropriate, and a smiley doesn't really help.

It's a reference to the internet wars that are currently waging in regards to this very topic, where the group that doesn't want Parker to be black is very quickly labeled by the other camp as backward, racist idiots. In my experience, it almost always happens when other such discussions occur (like the "What if James Bond was black?" one, which I've seen float around more than a few times), and a comment referring to "separate but equal" inevitably arises at some point. Kind of a Godwin's law sort of thing.

I apologize, though, and retract the remark.

Edited by Ryan H.

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I'm still mad at the Kingpin being black, much less Peter Parker. The Kingpin belongs to a culture of characters very much like a group of people I see in the papers every day here in Chicago. Those people are not black. That's just the way it is, sorry.

Why not just make a film about Power Man? I don't get it.

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Peter can't be blond, because he isn't a blond. I know that the Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly bleached his hair; I could accept a storyline in which Peter bleaches his hair. But Peter has dark hair, because he does. I'm blond, and I identify with Peter, but I don't want Peter to look like me.

This reminds me of the cries "James Bond is blond?" that followed the casting of Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE.

Yes, but. First, with Bond, the source material is non-visual, so the character's looks were never as defined or as significant from the start -- and the movie franchise established an identity and a fan base much less tied to the source material anyway, with a parade of actors in a role in which the character's specific appearance wasn't particularly important. Also crucially, Bond fans aren't emotionally invested in Bond as a person the way that Spider-Man fans are in Peter. Peter is like an old friend; Bond is merely a fantasy figure.

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Also crucially, Bond fans aren't emotionally invested in Bond as a person the way that Spider-Man fans are in Peter. Peter is like an old friend; Bond is merely a fantasy figure.

You're suggesting a change in mere hair color would compromise that investment?

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SDG wrote:

: No no no. This super-hero is all about who he is under the mask.

Exactly. And like I say, if you change Peter Parker, then you have to change a lot of OTHER characters, too, because Peter Parker's identity is very much wrapped up in his relationships with his Uncle, his Aunt, his girlfriend(s), etc. And once you've changed all those characters, just how recognizably "Spider-Man" could such a movie be?

: Yes, but. First, with Bond, the source material is non-visual, so the character's looks were never as defined or as significant from the start -- and the movie franchise established an identity and a fan base much less tied to the source material anyway, with a parade of actors in a role in which the character's specific appearance wasn't particularly important.

Yeah, though it bears mentioning that Ian Fleming defined Bond as the offspring of a Scottish father and a Swiss mother -- so presumably an actor who would play the character should at least be plausibly Scottish-Swiss, or perhaps British-Swiss. (And if memory serves, Fleming didn't identify Bond's father as Scottish until AFTER Sean Connery had been cast in the early movies -- so the movies influenced the non-visual source material, there (much like some people have argued that the Harry Potter movies have influenced the later Harry Potter books).)

Fleming also drew a picture of Bond "to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists," according to Wikipedia -- and the Bond that he drew had dark hair. For whatever that's worth.

But honestly, if Daniel Craig is blonde, I've never really noticed. So he can't be THAT blonde.

Ryan H. wrote:

: And no one seemed to mind the change of Ra's al Ghul from Arab to Japanese.

Or to an Irishman posing under a French name, as it were.

But this, I think, goes to my earlier point about iconic characters who "everybody knows". It's not just a question of what the FANS expect, it's a question of what the populace as a whole expects. If the Superman or Spider-Man or Batman of your movie look different than what "everybody knows", then the big vast audience that you're counting on to make your movie a hit will wonder what kind of "statement" you're trying to make, and like I say, down that road there are minefields galore. On the other hand, when it comes to characters like Ra's al Ghul or Harvey Dent, nobody outside of fandom really expects anything in particular -- they just don't KNOW those characters -- so they'll accept pretty much whatever you give them. (And besides, do even fans really think of Ra's al Ghul as an "Arab", as opposed to some immortal international supervillain? How many Arabs have a father named Sensei and a daughter named Talia?)

I must admit, though, that I would have been ticked off if they had hired pretty much anybody OTHER than Morgan Freeman to play Lucius Fox. :)

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Also crucially, Bond fans aren't emotionally invested in Bond as a person the way that Spider-Man fans are in Peter. Peter is like an old friend; Bond is merely a fantasy figure.

You're suggesting a change in mere hair color would compromise that investment?

I'm saying if he doesn't look like Peter, that would cause an emotional disconnect, yes. In the world of comic book art, hair color is a major identifier. Brown hair is one way that we know Peter is Peter and not, say, Flash Thompson or the Human Torch.

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And like I say, if you change Peter Parker, then you have to change a lot of OTHER characters, too, because Peter Parker's identity is very much wrapped up in his relationships with his Uncle, his Aunt, his girlfriend(s), etc. And once you've changed all those characters, just how recognizably "Spider-Man" could such a movie be?

It would be like The Wiz to The Wizard of Oz.

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But honestly, if Daniel Craig is blonde, I've never really noticed. So he can't be THAT blonde.

True. He's got kind of nondescript hair.

: And no one seemed to mind the change of Ra's al Ghul from Arab to Japanese.

Liam Neeson in a goatee isn't too glaringly unlike various portrayals of Ra's al Ghul. I was just annoyed that they mispronounced it "Roz" instead of "Raish."

Even so, one villain in a rogue's gallery isn't equivalent to the hero. Anyway, you saw how annoyed Stef was over making the Kingpin black. Actually, personally, I might have been able to deal with a black Kingpin if he'd come across as Miller's character, a brilliant monster who projects boundless power and control. (Michael Clarke Duncan wasn't up to the task, alas.)

Somehow, the Kingpin being bald makes a difference: Without hair, the Kingpin in the comics wouldn't necessarily look all that different if he were black. You might even have to make a note to the colorist. And since his only family is his wife Vanessa, who's not that big a character, his race isn't the integral part of his story that Peter's is. And, again, he's a villain in a rogue's gallery, not the hero.

And like I say, if you change Peter Parker, then you have to change a lot of OTHER characters, too, because Peter Parker's identity is very much wrapped up in his relationships with his Uncle, his Aunt, his girlfriend(s), etc. And once you've changed all those characters, just how recognizably "Spider-Man" could such a movie be?

It would be like The Wiz to The Wizard of Oz.

Exactamundo.

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And like I say, if you change Peter Parker, then you have to change a lot of OTHER characters, too, because Peter Parker's identity is very much wrapped up in his relationships with his Uncle, his Aunt, his girlfriend(s), etc. And once you've changed all those characters, just how recognizably "Spider-Man" could such a movie be?

But the change is cosmetic; I'm not sure the change in race would alter the nature of those relationships much at all.

To reiterate, I have no interest in a black Spider-Man for the sake of having a black Spider-Man. My support for this notion comes purely from my support for Donald Glover in the part, who would be a terrific Peter Parker. He might require a noticeable visual change for the character, as well as for that of his family, but he'd be able to pull off Peter Parker's personality beautifully.

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Ryan H, I forget, are you married? Suppose you came home one day and your wife were a different race than she is now. Would you consider that a "cosmetic" change?

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