Thinking more critically about the rebooted Spider-Man

Graphic by Tanzeel Sayani

Film and TV franchises get rebooted all the time and that’s nothing new. Cast changes, licensing exchanges 20-years-later all that.

It can be very exciting to see your favourite television series or film franchise being rebooted. But sometimes we don’t care; sometimes we’re disappointed.

One that people are generally very excited about is the Spider-Man reboot after Marvel granted Sony the opportunity to reboot Spider-Man within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the role and now we get to see Tom Holland try his hand at playing the iconic superhero.

Many Marvel comic book fans and cinematic fans are thrilled that Peter Parker is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The question is, should they be?

The obvious answer is yes. It’s always exciting when you’re a fan of something and it gets rebooted in a big way. I’m certainly not going to try and take that away from some people.

However, when you look into the reasons why Sony gained the rights to reboot Spider-Man, the excitement can wane a little bit.

During the promotional tour and convention appearances of Andrew Garfield after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he was extremely vocal about his desire for Peter to be bisexual in the following films.

Parker’s main female love interest had been killed off in the previous film and Garfield believed that to be the perfect opportunity to give Parker a male love interest.

Garfield first expressed his desire for Parker to have a male love interest in a July 2013 interview and in an interview with The Amazing Spider-Man director James Webb, who  appeared to know about Garfield’s desire.

This is also not to say that Andrew Garfield was fired simply because he wanted his character to have a male love interest. There were many factors at play, such as Garfield’s age and the difficulty Marvel would have had integrating Garfield into their Cinematic Universe.

In response to this, at San Diego Comic Con 2013, Stan Lee stated that he didn’t know about this and that Garfield’s comments were “out of left field.”

After this, Andrew Garfield was let go from his contract to play Parker and Sony entered into a deal with Marvel to reboot Spider-Man.

According to the Sony contract, Parker had to be heterosexual and white. This contract was apparently in place during the Garfield films as well, but Garfield admitted to not being made aware of this.

I don’t know about other superhero film fans, but this certainly dims my excitement for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films.

This is not to say that giving Parker a black love interest in the newer films isn’t important enough, as I think it’s very important.

This is also not to say that Andrew Garfield was fired simply because he wanted his character to have a male love interest. There were many factors at play, such as Garfield’s age and the difficulty Marvel would have had integrating Garfield into their Cinematic Universe.

I do, however, hope that it gives some people pause when they champion Marvel’s diversity efforts. Marvel has taken many opportunities to celebrate racial diversity, but is unwilling to give one of their iconic characters a boyfriend.

On top of Spider-Man needing to be contractually heterosexual, he also needs to stay white, which is a step in the wrong direction if one wants to be a champion of diversity.

It isn’t bad to be excited about Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man, it’s just good to remember why he was casted for the role to begin with.

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