EDITOR’S NOTE: We are seven days away from the release of The Amazing Spider-Man; we will be running Spidey-related things all week leading up to July 3rd. Why? Because with great power comes great responsibility. 1 of 14.
Before he broke through with 2011’s Camp, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, aka Community’s Troy Barnes, was the focus of an Internet movement to cast him as the new Peter Parker in Sony Pictures’ upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man. The campaign billed itself as “half-serious”, with some advocating racial diversity and others advocating Glover’s acting abilities as reason enough to put him in the film. Ultimately the role was won by The Social Network’s standout Andrew Garfield, the better actor.
It all began once Glover tweeted “You guys. Let’s make this happen! #donald4spiderman.” The entire idea behind the “tweet” was to see just how powerful social networking had become. Remember, this was in 2010; Twitter was still in its infancy, before the days of Kreayshawn and Odd Future. As one can imagine, the handle “#donald4spiderman” began to be re-tweeted over and over again. People felt Glover’s campaign deserved an official Facebook Page: “The Official Facebook Page For The Donald Glover For Spider-Man Campaign”. Pretty soon, the media outlets began to run brief little segments on the story, about how a bunch of young kids were tweeting and Facebook posting in a frenzy in order to promote the casting of a black actor as a historically white character.
Then Stan Lee—the guy who created Spidey—said this:
“He’s a great actor. I’ve seen him, and he’s terrific [...] A lot of my Twitter followers have been saying that he ought to have a chance to audition for the role. So I tweeted back by saying, as far as I’m concerned … anybody should have a chance to audition for the role. I certainly think he should have a chance to audition.”
That’s when Sony was forced to step in and basically admit that, while incredibly uplifting, “#donald4spiderman” was never even going to get a chance for an audition. A few weeks later, Andrew Garfield won the role and was introduced personally to the world by director Marc Webb.
But just like Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, #donald4spiderman has a happy ending. Webb has made it known that a certain, specific, Donald Glover-related Easter Egg will pop in Peter Parker’s room, a sort of homage to the unsuccessful campaign. Marvel Comics also commissioned one of its most established writers, Brian Michael Bendis, to begin work on a brand new Spider-Man comic that featured an African-American as America’s Favorite Webslinger. Who says Twitter is pointless now, eh?
Mr. Darkside is a staff writer for Cultivated Society. He thinks Donald Glover and Drake should star in a remake of Bad Boys.