In an interesting bit of casting news, Peter Parker’s parents, along with a second villain, have been cast in Marc Webb’s Spiderman reboot. To recap, Andrew Garfield of course has been cast as Peter Parker, Martin Sheen is going to be Uncle Ben and Sally Field is going to play Aunt May. Dennis Leary (pictured at the very bottom set on the left) of Ice Age and Rescue Me fame is going to play the father of Gwen Stacy, who is being played by Emma Stone. Rhys Ifans has been confirmed to play the Lizard, and Chris Zylka (pictured two over from Leary) has been rumored for some time now to be locked in for the role of Flash Thompson.
Campbell Scott (Music and Lyrics, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) (pictured left) will play Peter’s father, and Julianne Nicholson (Law and Order, Ally McBeal) (pictured middle left) will play Peter Parker’s mother. It’s being reported that the parents won’t play a huge role in the film, but possibly in a prologue or a flashback of some kind. The next casting bit is where things get interesting. Irrfan Khan (The Bad Guy from Slumdog Millionaire) (pictured middle right) has been cast as the film’s second villain, Van Atter, and Annie Parisse (Rubicon, National Treasure) (pictured right) will play his wife. For those unfamiliar with the comics (like me), Van Atter is one of the scientists at Oscorp who is tested with one of the preliminary Green Goblin serums. The formula isn’t anywhere near perfection, and it ends up mutating Atter and turning him insane, morphing him into the Photo-Goblin.
Now while I’ve been a full supporter for Webb thus far, this casting bit throws me on my head just a bit. First off, just as a disclaimer, it’s not confirmed that Khan’s character Van Atter is going to become the Proto-Goblin, but it is confirmed he is going to be a villain and he is going to be playing Van Atter. We’re also not sure if it’s going to be a matter of if Van Atter will be a full-fledged villain like Lizard, or have a smaller part more like what Chris Nolan did with Scarecrow in The Dark Knight. Assuming they don’t go the route of the Photo Goblin, the actor did a great job in Slumdog Millionaire and I’d love to see him stretch his legs here. If they did go the route of the Photo Goblin, although I’d still love the actor and would be happy they’re introducing a lesser-known character, I’m not sure if I see that going well. While it may be easily confusable for Norman Osbourne from Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, it seems to me like it may be an awkward way to introduce Oscorp, and possibly leading up to the Green Goblin in a later film. Or maybe Webb doesn’t even plan on doing the Green Goblin and he just wants to get that plot thread out of the way with a side villain here, I could see that easily happening with great success. Either way, as long as Webb’s getting his due creative freedom here and they don’t over cram it like so many superhero movies have been doing lately, I feel like Webb’s risks here with the characters might just pay off. And honestly, as long as all future goblins aren’t in snowboarding gear, I think we’ll be ok.