When Marvel invited "Spider-Man" into its web of superheroes earlier this year, they also became ensnared in the ever-present mess that is the Sony Hack. And, apparently, the studio also inherited a pretty stiff set of musts for the Spider-Man's physical and personality make-up.
Those that were holding out hope for some semblance of diversity in the new Peter Parker might want to click away now because this news bites. With venom.
Friday (June 19), a portion of the Sony Hack involving a list of the required and forbidden characteristics of Peter Parker -- as contractually agreed upon within a licensing agreement -- revealed that the studios have some extremely staunch characteristics for the character to abide.
Per Gawker, Peter Parker is required within the leaked Marvel-Sony docs to be male, straight, Caucasian, and middle class.
The issue of Peter's sexuality is mentioned twice in the list -- with one portion stating he should not be a homosexual "unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual" -- which appears to hand off the decision to the receiving studio. But then under the next section, the character is mandated to be "Caucasian and heterosexual." Period. End of story. No qualifiers.
FWIW, Peter is also forbidden on this list from having sex before the age of 16, abusing alcohol, using any four letter werdy derds, and smoking tobacco.
The language is part of a licensing agreement which was reportedly effectuated in September, 2011 -- less than a year before "The Amazing Spider-Man" ushered in a new-but-not-very-different Peter Parker in Andrew Garfield. Parker was previously portrayed by Tobey Maguire -- also white and straight -- in Sam Raimi's trilogy for Columbia Pictures.
There are some among us who posit that even if Marvel did have the contractual option to diversify Peter Parker in some way, they might not want to change the make-up of the character as written and drawn in the comics, until if and when he is written and drawn differently.
That's where the option of bringing another character like Miles Morales -- which Marvel's head honcho hasn't ruled out of its new series -- might come into the picture.
Moral of the story, though? For now, Spider-Man can't be black or gay in the movies. It is written.