With a new A-list actor joining a comic book franchise seemingly every day, it’s almost easier to list the actors who haven’t attached themselves to the Marvel or DC universes. One example? John Leguizamo, who has voiced The Riddler in the “Batman: The Audio Adventures” podcast but has yet to play a superhero on the big screen. But the actor says he came closer to playing one than many fans realize.
In a new interview with Comicbook.com, Leguizamo explained that he was in the mix for Vulture, Michael Keaton’s villain from “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The actor said that he was Marvel’s original choice for the character, and he even had a deal in place until Keaton showed interest in the role. Keaton was a hot commodity in Hollywood after his Oscar-nominated comeback performance in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” and Marvel asked Leguizamo to step aside to make room for him.
“I was supposed to be the Vulture,” Leguizamo said. “We had negotiated and I was about to play him, and they said that Michael Keaton wanted it back and they asked me if I would give it up. I said, ‘Well, okay I guess.’ They said, ‘No, we’ll work with you again, we’re gonna…’ That’s what happened there.”
Keaton went on to play the role of Vulture in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” before reprising it in a post-credits scene in “Morbius.” The scene was ostensibly designed as a way to set up future Keaton appearances in other “Morbius” films. But after the film’s critical and commercial failure — it pulled off the rare feat of bombing at the box office twice after multiple releases in 2022 — it’s hard to imagine there will be many more opportunities to complete the story.
As for Leguizamo, Marvel eventually did come back and offer him another role. But while Leguizamo wouldn’t reveal the character, he said it was too small to be worth his time. He opted not to take the part and has instead found success in a variety of other recent films including “The Menu” and “John Wick: Chapter 2”
“They offered me something tiny,” he said. “I went, ‘Nuh uh.'”