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Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 06/ 1/2010

Donald Glover as Spider-Man? Like Spidey, the online campaign gains traction [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna


Donald Glover may or may not have Spidey sense, but the actor-writer's already proved one thing over the weekend: He definitely has business sense.

Responding to the report last week that cited the five actors said to be in the running for Marc Webb's "Spider-Man" reboot, io9's Marc Bernardin wrote a short, pointed piece titled: "The last thing Spider-Man should be is another white guy." And responding to Bernardin's lament, the commenter "Rootadoo" wrote: "May I suggest one Mr. Donald Glover?"

From those seven radioactive words, a campaign was born.

That was enough to spur Glover -- the "Community" actor and "30 Rock" writer -- to throw his headshot into the ring and lobby for an audition.

A post on Glover's website says: "I'm putting myself in the running for the Spiderman reboot. I'm actually quite interested to see how far this goes. If this happens, I'll buy each and every one of you a mini cooper."

And a post on his reported Twitterfeed MrDonaldGlover said: "@io9 wrote a post about casting a non-white #Spiderman for the reboot. some1 suggested @MrDonaldGlover. I agree with this." Minutes later was posted: "You guys are awesome! Retweet. Someone start a facebook page."

Aye-aye, potential Spidey. The Facebook page created by Michelle Vargas soon had more than 3,500 supporters.

"I immediately went to Facebook and searched the groups to see if anyone had done [a Facebook page] yet. They hadn't," Vargas tells Comic Riffs. "I've never started one before, so I went for it, and quickly shot Donald a link to the page via Twitter. I must have been the first one, because he re-tweeted me (@Smush21) right away."

"Other than his re-tweet, I haven't corresponded with him directly," says Vargas, a Brooklyn-based comedian who adds that she's seen Glover perform live with his group "Derrick" a handful of times. "I've always admired him, and when he got the role on 'Community,' I watched the show solely because of him," she says.

io9's Bernardin supports Glover -- but he sees a larger issue at hand.

"I'm all for Donald's campaign -- he's a talented dude who'd kill it as Peter Parker," Bernardin tells Comic Riffs. "But I think there are lots of talented dudes who'd kill it that we haven't heard from yet. That was the point of my article: Not that Spider-Man should be black, or Latino, or Asian, but that to ask the question, Why isn't Sony willing to even entertain the possibility, especially since none of their candidates bring anything to the table save handsomeness and youth? Let's have the conversation."

As for the response to his editorial, Bernardin says it "has been pretty much what you'd expect from a post that brings both race and beloved geek icons to the fore: both encouraging and demoralizing."

"A decent chunk of the comments I've seen on the piece have been refreshingly open-minded," he says. "Some have been from staunch traditionalists: 'Keep to the letter of the law: Spider-Man has always been white and always should be white.' Which, for the record, is fine. I understand, And others have taken the opportunity to either accuse me of being a racist, or make racist comments veiled as 'humor.' To which I say, that's the beauty of free speech -- allowing the dumb people the opportunity to prove it in public."

Meanwhile, Glover's own campaign continues to gain traction.

The hashtag Donald4Spiderman became a trending topic Monday night after @MrDonaldGlover -- which has more than 30,000 followers -- began calling for "Twitter-bombs" to multiply the hashtag like Tribbles. (Another Twitter-bomb is planned for tonight at 9:30 ET.) Over at CBS, host Craig Ferguson (@craigyferg) was among those who supported the campaign via Twitter.

And to clarify matters, @MrDonaldGlover 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."

And thousands of Glover fans obviously truly love this campaign.

Somewhere, Betty White would be proud.

What do you think of Glover as Spider-Man/Peter Parker? Feel free to fire away below.


STAN LEE SAYS: Zac Efron would "definitely be fine" in the role.


By Michael Cavna  | June 1, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Superheroes  | Tags:  Donald Glover, Marc Webb, Spider-Man, Stan Lee  
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Imagine if there was more than one actor playing Harry Potter. Or a different Actor playing Gittes in The Two Jakes (bust or not). The multitude of Batmans and differing story presentations leave a bad taste in my mouth. I think the bar has been set very low, and people except everything they shouldn't these days; poor story, stock characters, implausible plot devices are acceptable. I thought Avatar looked absolutely fantastic; the stock characters, predictable plot, implausible plot developments, and, most of all, the ridiculously bad dialogue are the substance of the film, the "real" elements. The imaginary elements "CG", while technically superior in every way, do not replace the need for a well crafted story.
I'm coming to grudgingly accept (nay, I never will) that this 'need' has been ttrained out of the public.

Posted by: oo7 | June 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: oo7 | June 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't care for the Spiderman movies, but there have been alot of different Bonds and it's all worked out. Everyone likes a different Bond and it hasn't killed the series yet.

Posted by: em15 | June 1, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Why don't we have Chris Rock play Bruce Lee's character in Enter the Dragon??? Stop the madness! Peter Parker is a white guy from way back. Don't mess with our few remaining vintage comic icons. Why don't we have Samuel E. Jackson play Jesus in his next movie?? Where will it stop? I know. Let's have Jerry Lewis pay Flip Wilson and see how THAT flies.

Posted by: elsa41 | June 1, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

the next actor to play MLK should be a short fat white guy...
Charles Durning...
just to be fair...

Posted by: DwightCollins | June 1, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Whew!!! for a minute there I thought you said DANNY Glover...

Posted by: bproulx45 | June 1, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

And here comes the ignorance...

Peter Parker is a character in which race or culture was never apart of the background and origin of the story. It would be different if the character was going from black to white, such as with Storm, Luke Cage, or Black Panther, because their ethnic identity plays a large part for their character. Captain America also couldnt be any other race due to that character's origin story.

And to start taking names comparing this to people like MLK... or Jesus... is utterly ridiculous.

On other sites, I've seen people bring up Catwoman as some sort of comparison, which is outrageous. That film wasnt bad because Halle Berry was black (did people also forget that Catwoman was played by Ertha Kitt, a black actress, in the original series?) but the movie was just BAD.

Donald Glover has a great following and would be an excellent choice for Spider-Man. He's funny, nerdy, and extremely likable. And in 2010, this really shouldnt be an issue.

Posted by: Legends1 | June 1, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | June 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: ydf89d7s9 | June 1, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

On one hand the argument is that Spiderman's race is not part of his identity, on the other that he ought to be black. Obviously his race is material to his identity for some people or they would not want to change it. If he was a black character would it be OK to make him a white character because his race is immaterial to his identity or is it only the case that being white is immaterial?

The question really is why should Spiderman's race be changed? Is there a good reason? Is there a reason he should not be oriental, hispanic or even a woman? Does his gender matter as part of his identity or is that immaterial too?

Also, wasn't there a black spiderman in the last movie? When he was heading toward evil wasn't his costume black? Perhaps THAT is the most material impact of color in the films?

Posted by: fawls13 | June 2, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

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