Donald Glover will be playing Spiderman, a cartoon version of Spiderman in an alternate universe where his secret identity is actually half-black, half-hispanic Miles Morales, but still Spiderman.
The decision to cast Donald as the web-slinger comes four years after the social media campaign, #Donald4Spiderman. The hashtag crusade consisted of fans clamoring for Glover to be casted as Spidey on Twitter because his unique nerdy cool vibe gave him the natural range to portray Peter Parker’s switch from dweeb to stud.
Ultimately, Andrew Garfield won the role in the stylish remake, but one fan was not satisfied. Brian Michael Bendis, a comic-book writer, was inspired by the possibility of Donald Glover as Spiderman and created Miles Morales. So Glover is the perfect casting choice as he is the inspiration for the character he is portraying.
In Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, Peter Parker, voiced by Drake Bell, is tracking the dimension-hopping Green Goblin through alternate universes. The Goblin’s goal is to destroy every shred of the Spiderman D.N.A. in any universe, ostensibly so his plans of world domination don’t continue to get mucked up by whatever it is Spiderman shoots out of his wrist. Luckily, Parker runs into Morales before the Green Goblin.
This interaction is the first clip we have of Donald Glover’s voice coming from a character clad in a Spiderman costume. The clip is intriguing and despite Bell’s Parker sounding the same age as Glover’s Morales, the plot is set for some juicy dual webslinging action.
This foray into voice acting is the latest step in Glover’s plan to acquire such fame that “they say James Franco is the White Donald Glover,” a line he rapped under his Wu-Tang name generated pseudonym Childish Gambino.
Glover has ventured into just about every medium of entertainment. His rap career typifies the blurring of racial lines in Hip-Hop as he has been called a “white rapper” for his mildly pretentious, verbose, pop-rap style that is a departure from the gangsta rap of earlier eras. His albums have received lukewarm acclaim, but one listen to “Freaks and Geeks” and his abundance of wordplay talent is clear.
He got his start online with Derrick Comedy which lead to writing for the Pantheon comedy “30 Rock,” which led to portraying the lovably spacey Troy Barnes in “Community.” His fame in music, television, and comedy have multiplied each another as fans in one medium ultimately end up discovering that Donald Glover is Childish Gambino and vice versa.
Glover is a uniquely modern star. He got his start on Youtube and released his first mixtapes for free online. He started his career by doing what he wanted to be paid for; for free.
This Spiderman casting parallels his career path as the demand online came to fruition in real life. Donald Glover is among the first celebrities created by the internet.
In the modern era, fans use social media to generate massive waves of public opinion that influence entertainment decision-making like never before. What started with the American Idol call-in voting system could become a way for entertainment companies to generate buzz for upcoming projects.
Imagine in 2020, when the eighth Transformers is in the works, and Michael Bay decides to allow the fans to choose which babe they want to see running away from explosions in slow motion. The next Batman movie could be preceded by actors campaigning online for the lead role, with homemade sample clips of them as the Caped Crusader to persuade public opinion.
Obviously this idea won’t work for every decision, but this style of casting might open the studio up to actors they would not have previously considered, could generate publicity buzz for their project, and would remove the possibility of an unpopular casting decision.
For decades the entertainment industry has struggled to decipher the desires of the people, now all they have to do is listen to the internet.
With #Donald4Spiderman complete, let’s see who else gets casted because the internet.