Spider-Man: Homecoming has been building a solid cast over the last couple of weeks. The latest news came today, with Robert Downey Jr announced to be reprising Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. However, with one addition came another actor being taken away, as it looks like Michael Keaton will not be joining the latest Spider-Man movie as previously anticipated.
Although Keaton was apparently in talks to play Spider-Man: Homecoming’s villain, those broke down, and now Deadline is saying he won’t be part of the project. So if you were looking forward to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker going up against one of the previous cinematic Batmans, you’re out of luck barring some last-minute decision change. Along with Holland and Downey, Spider-Man: Homecoming’s cast so far consists of Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori.
Had Michael Keaton joined, it’s unclear which villain he would have played. A previous rumor suggested that The Vulture will be Spider-Man: Homecoming’s main antagonist. Keaton certainly is in the right age range and has the right look to have played the winged foe. We also provided our own candidate suggestions, but alas, we won’t be seeing him antagonize the Web-Slinger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course, it’s not like the actor needed some superhero work on his resume. He previously played Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, both directed by Tim Burton. He later parodied his superhero movie career in 2014’s Birdman as washed-up actor Riggan Thomson, who was desperate to move away from that period of his career, but still experienced hallucinations of the winged hero urging him to make another Birdman movie. Since shooting is expected to begin on Spider-Man: Homecoming this June, that casting team needs to work fast to find Keaton’s replacement.
Even though it didn’t work out with Spider-Man: Homecoming, that doesn’t necessarily mean Keaton will never join a Marvel movie in the future. The fact that he was in talks for the blockbuster means he was open to revisiting the world of superheroes unironically. Maybe another opportunity will present itself for later in Phase Three or during Phase Four,whether it’s a villain or supporting character. I doubt he wants to play another leading hero again, and given the legacy he already left with Batman, moviegoers don’t really need him to.
Details are scarce about what Spider-Man: Homecoming holds in store. Taking place after Captain America: Civil War, it will follow Peter Parker as he continues his crimefighting career while navigating the perils of high school. Director Jon Watts has described the movie as a "coming of age" tale, so as the MCU’s youngest superhero, we’ll watch Peter handle the struggles of both dealing with super villains and growing up in this crazy world.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017.