Back before The Amazing Spider-Man was cast, a then-newcomer named Donald Glover, fresh off impressing audiences with Derrick Comedy and Community, started getting some buzz among fans as a strong candidate to play Miles Morales in the franchise.
While he didn't start it up himself, Morales -- who is a comics fan and had dressed in a Spider-Man costume on Community -- embraced the fan-casting, so when nothing came of it, there was the kind of disappointment in fandom that's usually reserved for something that actually has a chance of happening.
When Glover was announced for Spider-Man: Homecoming, then, everyone wondered who he would be. He was too old for Miles now (and the character wasn't likely to appear anyway), but there are plenty of good roles for people of color in the Spider-Man franchise...and it's not as though Hollywood has balked on recasting supporting roles to diversify the lily-white world of mainstream superhero comics. Really, he could have been anyone.
And, of course, some fans hoped that he would play a major role. Bringing him on board as an Osborn or some other character with a long history and a big future in the franchise would give Glover's fans, and those who had hoped to see him in a lead role, something to look forward to.
So far, though, it looks like he's likely got a small role meant for one movie. Glover appeared briefly in last night's trailer, standing near an open van and beside a man using what looks like a bootleg version of The Shocker's gauntlets.
The actor in question wasn't Bokeem Woodbine, who has been rumored to play The Shocker and who seemingly appeared with a more finished version of the gauntlets in the international version of the trailer.
The open van has led most viewers to believe that Glover may be an arms dealer in the film -- either somebody working with The Tinkerer, or an independent agent dealing in anti-superhuman weapons and tech.
Of course, even if true, that doesn't preclude the actor from becoming a bigger part of the franchise in the future, if that's a direction that Glover and/or the filmmakers want to take. It does imply that Glover's appearance is more of a wink and a nod to the fans than a serious role, but implications like that aren't always literally true.
For now, audiences will have to keep their ears to the ground: more information on the film should start to leak out now that people are getting their first looks at it, and Glover's acclaimed FX series Atlanta is coming back, so he'll likely be doing press at some point soon for one or the other.
More Spider-Man: Homecoming: Domestic Trailer / International Trailer / First Look at Shocker / Iron Man Cameo Revealed / SPIDER-MAN HAS WINGS! / Jacob Batalon Reveals Role / Will Liz Allan Be Peter Parker's Love Interest?
Doctor Strange is now in theaters; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; and Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.