Marvel Studios announces spinoff franchise, the ‘Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man,” taps Danny DeVito to portray shorter statured “Donald” Parker

Danny DeVito cast as Donald Parker, Peter Parker’s shorter statured uncle, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man.

LOS ANGELES, USA—Columbia Pictures, in association with Marvel Studios, today announced a new, upcoming spinoff franchise, the “Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man,” as part of an obligatory, uncontrollable urge to repeatedly and vigorously expose the public to new, engorged plotlines within the Spider-Man universe. 

Jon Watts, executive producer and chief officer for creative development of the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff franchise, The Resilient Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man, remarked, “When you think of a superhero, you think of a prime male specimen with a half-assed secret identity – muscle-laden Superman moonlighting as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent, or even the animated superhero, Mr. Incredible, with that racoon-like mask covering up his eyes and leaving the rest of his distinctive facial features exposed and easily recognizable even to the most seemingly unobservant coworker passing by him in the street. And then, of course, there’s Peter Parker, the ‘amazing’ Spider-Man, toned and acrobatic swinging from one city building to the next and spewing that semen-like spider webbing from his hand midflight. The whole thing is very traditionally masculine, rife with and overpowered by erotic overtones.”

Wishing to expose the world to a so-called “everyman” superhero, Watts remarked, of the upcoming Itsy-Bitsy Spider film, tentatively subtitled, Climbing Up the Waterspout: “…the banality of what a superhero film could and should be almost makes you think of a paunchy, black caped Frank Reynolds, huddled over a plate of fried chicken as he, famished, succumbs to reveal his identity when a cumbersome beak, jutting down off his mask, interferes with his ability to nourish himself; all this, occurring within the dilapidated walls of a dated, disease-infested apartment building, where our everyman seeks a little excitement. An orgy, whether high class or in this instance, lower… who couldn’t relate to such an impulse? It transcends social class; it is a universal desire.”

A half-grin emerges suddenly across Watts’s face as he adds, “That’s how we got the idea about casting DeVito. His performance as Frank Reynolds, now virtually indistinguishable from himself, is precisely the sort of ‘everyman’ we had in mind when developing the initial story for ‘Itsy Bitsy’. At a mere 4’10”, he literally is ‘itsy bitsy;’ and his average looks, but undeniably lovable charm, that makes him the relatable underdog audience members will want to root for.” 

He went on to explain the premise of Marvel’s upcoming franchise: “Everyone wants to see themselves as the hero, but maybe you’re not tall enough, or maybe you’re not strong enough… who doesn’t like an underdog story? That’s exactly what ‘The Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man’ is about. It draws on the iconic nursery rhyme, of a tiny spider overwhelmed by a world that just doesn’t seem to care, but guess what happens ‘after the rain’ dries up? The ‘itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again! And the same thing goes for The Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man. He, too, must wait for the rain to dry up so he can climb up the waterspout again. While that’s where the nursery rhyme ends, there’s plenty of plot yet to explore. That’s what we intend to do in this franchise! You’ll know, by the end of this first film, what happens after he climbs up the waterspout!” 

Film Synopsis: Donald Parker, a short and stout, serially failed businessman, is overshadowed by his well-liked, handsome, and multi-talented nephew, Peter Parker, a highly successful photojournalist for The Daily Bugle who leads a double life as world-famous superhero, Spider-Man; as well as his more popular brother, Ben, who has since tragically passed away. When Peter confides in him about his secret identity, Donald, fueled with jealousy, must choose whether to assume his brother’s role as Peter’s guardian and mentor, or to seek the opportunity to become a competing hero no one knew they needed, ‘The Itsy-Bitsy Spiderman.’ 

Slated to release in theaters this fall as well as stream on HBO Max, Marvel Studios has selected M. Night Shyamalan to direct the film, hot off the buzz of his recent horror thriller film, Old. Watts offered justification for M. Night Shyamalan’s hiring: “M. Night understands the trials and tribulations this kind of middleclass, middle-aged everyman character deals with. Just look at the title of his last picture: “Old.” And while his interpretation of The Last Airbender received universally terrible reviews, he did complete the project, and it’s that kind of experience directing a film about the supernatural that he’ll need to be at the helm of a superhero film!”

The studio also, surely to an audience’s delight, enlisted DeVito’s costars and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney, and producers Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, to cowrite the screenplay.

However, at press time, Danny DeVito had withdrawn from the project based on irreconcilable creative differences and a misunderstanding on his part that he’d be portraying the “Itsy Bitsy Man-Spider,” a mutated version of Spider-Man; Charlie Day, too, had withdrawn after studio executives refused to honor his nonnegotiable request to score the film and provide an original piano medley as the series’ theme song.

Remaining contributor Rob McElhenney withdrew from the project when studio executives refused to assign him as choreography director, and Glenn Howerton also withdrew when the studio rejected a plotline where Donald Parker, portrayed by DeVito, offered his nephew Peter dating advice on how to court female love interests Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy by using his fullproof “D-O-N-A-L-D System”: 

  • D – Demonstrate value. 
  • O – Open up emotionally.
  • N – Nurture dependance. 
  • A – Abdicate responsibility. 
  • L – Leverage lingering feelings. 
  • D – Depart abruptly. 

Additionally, Howerton noted that his decision to leave was also based on the studio’s rejection of adding a “M. Night Shyamalan twist” to show full penetration, when Donald Parker becomes intimate with Peter’s love interests, “the ultimate betrayal.”  

When asked about their decision, executive producer Jon Watts expressed regret casting DeVito in the first place, calling the actor and his Always Sunny collaborators’ plot contributions “crass, at best,” remarking on one particularly “bad piece of advice” they suggested for Donald to give Peter when asking how he resolve his dual infatuations for Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy: “Bang ‘em both, Peter! If you’re like me, you like boling denim and bangin’ wh’oores!”