J.B. Smoove to Play a Lead Role in 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'

Jb Smoove

No word on who he will play, but our bet is on the teacher leading Parker’s class trip across Europe.

Peter Parker, like the King of Wakanda, has the habit of surrounding himself with various voices of wisdom. The character has never been afraid to let his sidekicks, or his sidekick’s sidekick, steal the scene. As much as we want to follow the wall-crawler into battle, the audience is equally as happy to hang out with Ned or enjoy a hot dish of larb with Aunt May. His friends and family are what give a purpose to every punch.

So, yes, while it is essential to cast a titanic performer in the role of the big bad (see Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio), the second fiddles are just as important to the piece. Spider-Man: Far From Home is putting New York City in its rearview, and dropping Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in a foreign surrounding. Nevermind the fact that he’ll probably still be reeling from his time in the void between Infinity War and Avengers 4.  The kid will need some serious mentorship to get him through his next adventure.

As reported by Deadline, actor and stand-up comedian J.B. Smoove has been cast in “a lead role” for the Spider-Man sequel. Best known for breaking out of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-’90s and landing the brutally hilarious persona of Leon on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Smoove is an obvious but welcome addition. Director Jon Watts populated the first film with a collection of comedians, each one given a moment or two to take over the story. Smoove slides nicely next to Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, and Donald Glover.

We do not yet know who Smoove will be playing in Far From Home, but some have speculated that he could be Daily Bugle newsroom honcho, Robbie Robertson. Not a bad choice and I would personally be thrilled to see the newspaper finally make a proper appearance in the MCU. J.K. Simmons left such an incredible mark as J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films that the follow-up reboots simply stayed away from filling those shoes. Robertson is a solid gateway into that world while Marvel Studios continues to create distance from the memory of Simmons.

Whenever a person of color is cast in a superhero film, certain fractions of the fanboy community start theorizing on the role based on race. Could Smoove be the anti-hero Cardiac, or how about the free-wheeling Rocket Racer? Yeah, no. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Watts specifically filled out characters based on personality and not skin tone.

The riddle of Smoove’s character is probably a lot less grandiose. As with Coach Wilson or Principle Morita, Smoove is a big personality right for a bit part. With Peter Parker navigating unfamiliar territory overseas, I see Smoove as the school teacher tasked with monitoring a European field trip. Martin Starr’s Mr. Harrington had a mental breakdown after his near-death experience in Washington D.C., and Smoove will swoop in to take charge of the decathlon team.

You might remember that Smoove actually played Peter Parker’s driving instructor in an Audi commercial tie-in with Homecoming. In the tv ad, Peter borrows Tony Stark’s prototype car for the exam and Smoove is instantly jealous. Engaging automatic parallel parking, the Audi practically takes the test for the teenager. While Smoove racks up the points, Peter dips out of the car to smash a few bank robbers as Spider-Man. In his excitement over witnessing the heroics, the skeptical teacher passes Parker. Victory.

An unknown teacher may not be as enticing as a possible member of the Sinister Six, but it is a character that could potentially go a long way in defining Spidey’s mission. As Smoove has aided in the education of Larry David, he could also provide the necessary insights to keep Peter Parker on target. He will absolutely slay on the comedy front.

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Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.