As anyone who follows me on Twitter learned yesterday, I was a bit shocked to receive an unexpected phone call this week from the great Stan Lee, legendary co-creator of Spider-Man, The X-Men and countless other iconic characters.
But what could Stan “The Man” Lee want to talk to me about? Well, it turns out he’s well aware of the big debate surrounding one of his most popular creations, Spider-Man, and wanted to offer his thoughts on “Community” actor Donald Glover’s campaign to be cast as the new Peter Parker in Sony’s reboot of the film franchise.
Just in case you haven’t been following along at home, the issue centers around the question of whether Glover — or any other African-American actor, for that matter — should be considered for the role of Peter Parker. So, who better to speak to the issue than the co-creator of Spider-Man himself?
“He’s a great actor. I’ve seen him, and he’s terrific,” Lee said of Glover.
“A lot of [my Twitter followers] have been saying that he ought to have a chance to audition for the role,” he said. “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.”
However, Lee made sure to clarify that he wasn’t advocating for Glover or any other specific actor to get the role.
“And I didn’t mention this in my tweet, but I’m telling you that I don’t ever want to make it sound like I’m trying in any way to influence the Marvel people as to who to cast in any roles,” he added. “That isn’t my job. It isn’t in my purview. It’s something I should butt out of and I try to butt out of it — just like i don’t tell them what to do with the movie.”
“Because they really have been doing a pretty damn good job up ’til now,” he laughed.
As for the racial aspect of the debate, Lee brushed it off, saying that casting Peter Parker “shouldn’t be a racial issue.” However, he added that drastically changing Peter Parker’s appearance could risk confusing audiences — but that shouldn’t stop anyone from giving Glover or other non-white actors a shot.
“Here’s the point: We’ve already had the Kingpin in ’Daredevil’ portrayed by a black man, where he was white in the comics, [and] we’ve had Nick Fury portrayed by a black man where he was white in the comics,” said Lee. “But not that many people had seen these characters — not that many moviegoers are familiar with them.”
“Everybody seems to be familiar with Spider-Man, so I say that it isn’t that it’s a racial issue — it’s just that it might be confusing to people,” he explained. “But that’s a matter for the people at Marvel to take into consideration. I certainly don’t want to weigh in on it in any way, except to say I think [Glover] is a fine actor.”
Let us know what you think of Lee’s take on the debate in the comment section or on Twitter!