As great as it is to have reporters constantly tracking casting news, ready to deliver it to us when they’ve done their research to confirm their sources, it’s worth noting that, sometimes, reports tend to be wrong from time to time. Case in point: One of the most recent Spider-Man: Homecoming castings, Michael Barbieri. Of course, it is worth noting that, unlike most casting reports, this one had THREE different sources each reporting their own information, so it’s understandable that some information ended up getting reported falsely by other outlets. Still, I’m not entirely sure why this one ended up being reported so incorrectly by multiple outlets.
The reporting issues all started from bits of information revealed by the folks over at Comicbook.com:
Comicbook.com sources tell us Barbieri’s character will be a new one, though he’ll be based off the Ultimate Spider-Man character Ganke. In that comicbook from Marvel Comics, Ganke is the trusted best friend of the other Spider-Man, Miles Morales. His affinity for Superheroes and unwavering optimism and support of his friend are his standout characteristics, which can be expected to be found in Barbieri’s new character.
Somehow, there were sites that took this as confirmation that Barbieri would be playing Ganke.
The idea that Barbieri would be based off of the Ganke character? I can understand how that’d make people upset, sure. And there’s no denying that Marvel has failed to offer a good amount of diversity within the Marvel Cinematic Universe – something that recent casting announcements have proved the studio is working on going forward. However, if you read what they actually put, it seemed more likely that Barbieri’s original character would just have had an affinity for superheroes. And if the rumor were true, that would have probably been the only thing the two of them shared. Unfortunately, incorrect reporting led to many people thinking that Marvel and Sony would be erasing an Asian character as multiple sites reported that Barbieri had been cast as Ganke. (That would have been reason to be upset if that’s what the actual report stated.) But the only confirmed news regarding Barbieri’s casting from those initial reports was that he’d be playing a friend of Peter’s in the film – that bit was from Deadline, one of the most reliable Hollywood trades.
What The–?! Michael Barbieri was never playing Ganke… no idea how that rumor started… Ok, back to work!!!
— Jon Watts (@jnwtts)
Given how widespread the false reports became, it isn’t entirely surprising that the news made it back to director Jon Watts. Now, as many of you know, Watts is relatively quiet on Twitter. He doesn’t really make it a point to comment on casting stories, although he did post a rather interesting gif of Michael Keaton after it was revealed Keaton was in final talks for the villain role. So the fact that the director took to Twitter last night to confirm that reports of Barbieri being cast as Ganke were incorrect? It’s pretty surprising, but a nice confirmation that this isn’t a case of erasing an Asian character.
He then went on to debunk Comicbook.com’s report of the actor’s character being based on Ganke.
What The–?! Michael Barbieri was never playing “a version of or a character based on/similar to” Ganke… Ok, back to work for reals now!!!
— Jon Watts (@jnwtts)
This just goes to show that, as much as we’d love to believe all of the casting news that makes it way out? It’s not always true. (Unless it’s by one of the main trades: Deadline, Variety, THR, and The Wrap, as they’re typically right on the head.)
With filming set to kick off any day now, it’s more than likely we’ll see an official cast list from Marvel and Sony soon. Until then, you can follow along here for all news regarding Spider-Man: Homecoming!