Diversity, Movies, Opinion

Miles Morales Moves to Marvel’s Mainstream But Not the Movies

SPIDER-MAN #1 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Art & Cover by SARA PICHELLISay that headlines five times fast. No worries if you can’t, because either way, thanks to the new Spider-Man series coming this fall, Miles Morales will be shifting from his current status as an Ultimate character, to becoming a full member of the Marvel Universe with the conclusion of the Secret Wars event.

The rooftops of New York City might be a bit different for the biracial wallcrawler, but many fans have been reading his story since 2011 and are very familiar with the character.

Created in 2011 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Morales’ introduction made headline news worldwide back in a time not so long ago when comic books typically weren’t headline news. Now they are, especially when Sony hacking scandals are involved. In this case, ones that reveal that neither Sony nor Marvel seem to have a handle on who Peter Parker really is, and confirm that the Peter Parker we will continue to see on the big screen will still be a dorky, heterosexual white dude. Enter 19-year-old Tom Holland, who has just been cast as the newest Spider-Man in the growing series of white webslingers. Now that Spidey has been brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe fold, we can only hope that we’ll see yet another reboot involving a poignant origin story about great responsibility and radioactive spiders. Because it’s been so long since we’ve seen this and it’s so easy to forget.

How great for Miles Morales fans to have the news of his series swept away by yet another Peter Parker to add to the list of Spider-Man films already out there? A pleasant reminder that we’re sure not going to get that Miles Morales Spider-Man movie we’ve been pleading for any time soon.

In the comic world, Morales’ shift to the main Marvel canon is yet another notch in Marvel’s slowly building diversity belt, joining a female Thor, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and a Black Captain America. Some die hard fans–whose motto should simply be “FEAR CHANGE”–are likely very pleased to learn of the contractual film obligations between Sony and Marvel regarding Peter Parker’s sexuality and skin colour and the subsequent casting of Holland. While we may not be seeing any other options for Peter Parker on the big screen for a long time, that does not mean, as this Gawker article implies, that Miles Morales is banned from the Marvel Cinematic Universe completely. Peter Parker might have to remain a white dude, but Spider-Man still has options. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has already said as much (albeit noncommittally). Plus, we already have a precedent set when it comes to Ultimate characters of colour crossing the great divide.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Not that I’m holding my breath based on the MCU’s track record right now. But… sometimes it’s nice to have a little hope…