Why the next Spider-Man is likely to be British

Young stars from this side of the Atlantic have already proven that they make Marvel-lous superheroes, says Sarah Doran

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Remember when Tobey Maguire was a fresh-faced web-slinging Spider-Man? The actor will turn 40 later this month but Marvel and Sony are preparing to turn back the clock and cast a new Peter Parker to fill his Spidey shoes.

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It felt as though Andrew Garfield had barely pulled the mask over his face when the studio dropped the rebooted franchise in favour of yet another upgrade, so wouldn’t it be great if they kept it in the family by casting another UK actor?

Three of the six young men rumoured to be in the running – Asa Butterfield, Tom Holland and Charlie Rowe – are British and, if Marvel’s recent track record is anything to go by, all stand a rather decent chance of claiming the role. 

British castings in superhero films stretch back about as far as anyone can remember but there’s been something of an explosion of late. Superman (Henry Cavill) is British, Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is British, Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) is British and Professor X (Patrick Stewart/James McAvoy) is from the UK. As is Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and the soon-to-be Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).

Add Ian McKellen, Christian Bale, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Ben Hardy, new AKA Jessica Jones villain David Tennant and Ireland’s Michael Fassbender to the mix and you’ve got a superhero casting list that would easily stretch across the Atlantic.

So, what is it about the Brits that keeps Marvel coming back for more? 

“I think they like an international feel to it and obviously we’ve got the advantage that we share the same language,” Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D star Nick Blood told RadioTimes.com at MCM London Comic Con last month. “I know it’s definitely something in our show that they are conscious of.”

Blood is just one of three UK actors among the cast of Marvel’s TV spin-off, with co-stars Ian DeCaestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge playing double act Fitz and Simmons. 

“I don’t know whether the Americans think that the British are a bit more refined, or y’know, cultured in their theatrical arts” he said. “I’m quite happy for them to believe that.”

If they truly do then Marvel’s definitely heading in the right direction with Butterfield, Holland and Rowe. All three are experienced young actors who could easily – and convincingly – follow in Garfield’s footsteps. Surely they’re the candidates that really stick out?

You’d think that wouldn’t you? And then you consider Ben Hardy. The EastEnders heart-throb was surrounded by Cyclops hype before the X-Men: Apocalypse role went to Mud star Tye Sheridan. That said, Hardy went on to be cast as X-Men’s Angel, adding another British name to Bryan Singer’s jam-packed Apocalypse roster.

Betting on the Brits has served Marvel rather well of late. Hiddleston’s Loki regularly steals Thor’s thunder and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil made for far less hellish viewing than the unfortunate Ben Affleck-fronted original. In fact, it proved quite the success for Netflix, landing a second season shortly after it became available to stream.

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So by all means, correct us if it’s not to be, but our British Spidey-Sense is most definitely tingling.


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