Miles, the Ultimate Spider-Man, is the friendly neighborhood web-slinger in an alternate universe where Peter Parker no longer exists — and fans have very strong opinions on whether or not Miles should be the Spider-Man of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Before we dig into what people are saying about Miles today, let's go back to the beginning.
In 2010, Sony was looking to cast a new Peter Parker for the film that would eventually become "The Amazing Spider-Man." Early on in the process, fans rallied around "Community" actor Donald Glover as the perfect pick for the part. Glover himself got involved, Photoshopping his own head onto Spidey's body and creating the #donald4spiderman Twitter hash-tag. The movement had its detractors, with some unhappy about changing Peter Parker's race and ethnicity; but the vocal support of the fan-casting was so loud, that it even attracted Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis:
Bendis was planning big things for his book "Ultimate Spider-Man," an alternate universe Peter Parker story ultimately ending in his death and the rise of a new Spider-Man. "Donald Glover stood up and said, 'I want to be Spider-Man,'" Bendis told Newsarama.com in 2011. "I was like, 'I would like him to be Spider-Man. Very much.' I said so publicly at the time, and that came and went."
While not a direct reaction to #donald4spiderman, an urge for something and someone new was in the air, leading to the creation of Miles Morales: A half-African American, half-Latino teenager armed with Peter Parker's powers, thanks to a spider bite, plus a few other tricks up his sleeve. (His "venom blast" can paralyze opponents with a single touch, and his spider-camouflage allows him to blend into his surroundings.) Miles became a huge hit as the star of "Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man," and eventually crossed paths with Peter Parker in the mainstream Marvel Universe as part of a crossover comic called "Spider-Men." Miles even appeared in the "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon series, voiced by — you guessed it — Donald Glover.
Miles' fans are vast and varied, and Andrew Garfield is one of them. The "Amazing Spider-Man" star went on record last year about his desire to see Miles Morales on the big-screen some day. Producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, however, were less interested. When asked by IndieWire if Peter Parker would always be the cinematic Spider-Man, Tolmach said: "As far as we're concerned. The guys who take it over after us… Who knows…"
Well, it looks like we're about to find out, as the "Amazing Spider-Man" era is over now. Garfield is not expected to return as Spider-Man when the character swings into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with next year's "Captain America: Civil War," and the following year's solo Spidey flick. Likewise, Arad and Tolmach seem to be minimally involved in the project, with Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige and former Sony Pictures head Amy Paschal standing out as the two names leading the way on the new era of Spider-Man. With so many changes happening behind-the-scenes, Miles Morales fans are taking the opportunity to champion their hero's name as the new cinematic Spider-Man.
There are countless reasons it makes sense for Miles to become the Spider-Man of the MCU. He's young and inexperienced, a stark contrast to heroes like… well, Tony Stark, for one. He's fresh and unfamiliar, a stark contrast to the all-too-familiar Peter Parker origin story we've seen on the screen twice now, for another. He also represents a new kind of hero for a huge portion of fandom at a huge, unprecedented level. A cinematic Spider-Man of African-American and Latino heritage means a great deal to a great many people, and could make a great and important impact on our culture.
There are others who do not want to see Miles swing on-screen alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of Earth's mightiest heroes. Their reasons are various, ranging from ugly and racist remarks, to unrelenting Peter Parker adoration. Some fans simply want to see Peter in the same room as Bruce Banner. Who can blame them? Fans have wanted Spider-Man back home under the Marvel Studios umbrella for years and years, and now that it's actually happening, they want the classic team-up.
But there's no reason that Peter Parker and Miles Morales can't co-exist. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big, bizarre place. While Iron Man takes down technological menaces and Captain America dismantles huge political conspiracies, there's a gun-toting raccoon and a talking tree chewing scenery on the other side of the galaxy. A crossover event like "Spider-Men," which saw Peter and Miles learning about each other's respective universes and working together toward mutual goals, would hardly look unusual, given that a giant purple alien with a reality-altering gauntlet is about to throw down with a guy whose super-power is being really good with a bow and arrow.
In other words, we're facing a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too moment with Spider-Man. For the first time since #donald4spiderman, it seems like it's actually possible for someone like Miles Morales to swing across the big-screen as Spider-Man. And because we're talking about a universe as flexible as Marvel's, there's no reason to think that both Peter Parker and Miles Morales can't share this exciting time in the spotlight.
Whether or not it comes to pass, there's a reason why people are more hopeful than ever before about Miles Morales. Here's hoping the conversation continues toward the right conclusion.