Along with confirming that the villain in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is indeed The Vulture, the SDCC panel for that movie has confirmed the identities of four characters being played by Tony Revolori, Jacob Batalon, Zendaya and Laura Harrier, all four of whom were in attendance at the panel along with director Jon Watts.
In a stark departure from the comic books, Revolori is playing Flash Thompson, the bully who torments “Puny Parker” at school. Joe Manganiello and Chris Zylka previous played him in ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, respectively.
In the comics, Thompson abuses Parker but idolized Spider-Man, having no idea that they are one and the same. Eventually in adulthood, Thompson and Parker become close friends and after serving in the Army and losing both legs, Thompson becomes the third host for the symbiote Venom, but uses his abilities as a heroic agent for the government. (This version is referred to as Agent Venom to differentiate him from previous evil Venoms.)
The next reveal came in reference to the role played by Jacob Batalon. He is portraying Ned Leeds, who in the comics is an adult reporter for the Daily Bugle and a rival of Peter’s. The pair competed for the affections of Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary. Eventually, two decades after his introduction, it was revealed that Leeds had become the demented villain Hobgoblin and was later killed by Jack O’Lantern, who then assumed the Hobgoblin identity.
Hmmm, now that would be an interesting development since moviegoers are surely sick of the Green Goblin at this point. But it actually seems that maybe the Ned Leeds character is being pretty significantly overhauled for this movie, starting with making him a high school peer of Peter’s. Who knows what other adjustments will be made to this character?
In fairly recent continuity, Peter had a roommate named Michelle Gonzales with whom he lived following the controversial ‘One More Day’ storyline. The pair hooked up after getting drunk at Aunt May’s wedding… presumably a storyline that will not be replicated in the movie.
Like Ned Leeds, Michelle Gonzales is an adult character that wasn’t introduced until Peter himself had grown up, so recasting her as a high school student pretty heavily reinvents her. That is provided Zendaya is actually playing the same Michelle.
At any rate, it was previously stated that Zendaya’s character would NOT be Peter’s love interest but that she would have a larger role in upcoming sequels.