Leading into Marvel Studios' Hall H panel at Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon, we knew that Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would be part of the panel, thanks to social media posts from directors Scott Derrickson and James Gunn. One of the panel's big surprises was the arrival of the Spider-Man: Homecoming cast, who had taken a break in production in Atlanta to showcase the very first footage to the Comic-Con crowd. That footage confirmed that one iconic character has a much different look in this movie.
One scene from the Comic-Con footage featured Tony Revolori, who, when he was cast in April, was said to be playing a character named Manuel, described as a "schoolyard enemy" to Tom Holland's Peter Parker, much like Flash Thompson from the comic books. It seems the name Manuel was all just a red herring, since the footage confirmed that Tony Revolori is in fact Flash Thompson, after he was called on in class, while Peter watches YouTube videos of his work on the streets as Spidey. Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot more about this character, and how similar and/or different this Flash may be from the comics. Though just casting in Tony Revolori in the role puts a very different spin on who we know Flash to be.
This character is quite important in the Spider-Man comics, and has previously been played on the big screen by Joe Manganiello in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and by Chris Zylka in Marc Webb's reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. In the comics, Flash eventually becomes one of the hosts for the symbiote Venom, which could be explored in future movies. Jon Watts also described Spider-Man: Homecoming as an "all-out high school movie."
Director Jon Watts confirmed in an interview after the panel that Tony Revolori is playing Flash, while Zendaya is playing Michelle, Jacob Batalon is playing Ned and Laura Harrier is playing Liz. While we don't have confirmation on their full names it's believed that Michelle is actually Michelle Gonzalez, who was only recently added to the comic book continuity, where Peter meets her as an adult. Liz is believed to be Liz Allan, Flash's high school girlfriend in the comics who later marries Harry Osborn, while Ned is most likely Ned Leeds, who, in the comics is a Daily Planet reporter who shares the same romantic affections for J. Jonah Jameson's Betty Brant, just like Peter Parker. Michael Barbieri has also been cast as Peter Parker's friend, but his character's name hasn't been revealed yet.
If all these character rumors are true, then this movie could be setting up quite an interesting franchise that takes Spider-Man to new levels. There have been rumors that Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the first movie in a trilogy that will be set during Peter Parker's high school years, with each movie representing a year of high school. Stay tuned for more details on Spider-Man: Homecoming as production continues in Atlanta.