As exciting as the news was that Sony would be rebooting Spider-Man to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans can’t help but wonder how they are going to get away with restarting the franchise yet again in such a small period of time. While they somewhat benefit from being able to introduce him in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, hopefully avoiding subjecting us to yet another retelling of his origin story, Sony still needs to do something to get people’s attention and differentiate this version of the wall-crawler from the previous two very similar interpretations.
This line of thinking initially had many people thinking the new Spider-Man may not actually be Peter Parker, but rather Miles Morales, the half Latino-half African-American superhero from Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line – who took up the mantle after Peter Parker was killed.
While Marvel seemed to be very specific in their press release that the new Spider-Man would be Peter Parker, some new information has surfaced to give credence to rumours that Miles would be the MCU’s Spidey. TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider (a generally reliable source) appeared on a Meet the Movie Podcast and said in no uncertain terms that he did not believe we would be getting another white Spider-Man. Sneider said he was “95% sure” Spider-Man would not be white, that he was “most likely going to be black. But there’s a chance he could also be Latino.”
Immediately it sounds as though Sneider is telling us Miles will indeed be the new Spidey and Sony will win the race to the first headlining black superhero in this modern era, beating out Marvel’s Black Panther and DC’s Cyborg. The move makes sense, given Mile’s popularity as a character, the genre’s need for diversification and the aforementioned issues with needing to set this Spider-Man apart. There’s even rumours Miles will soon become a regular fixture of Marvel Comics’ regular Spider-Man series, in the fallout of their upcoming crossover event Secret Wars, giving them that brand synergy they love so much.
The sticking point seems to be Marvel’s previous assertion that it would in fact be Peter Parker behind the mask in this new take. So the question then becomes, why can’t Peter Parker be black?
While there are plenty of superheroes whose race is an important part of their identity, Peter Parker isn’t one of them, and we shouldn’t need to change the character because a non-white actor is playing him. There’s nothing about Peter’s story and identity that says he needs to be white, nor for that matter does Miles necessarily have to be black. If it’s a non-issue for the characters, it should be a non-issue for the casting.
While I’m all for more diversification in super-hero movies, there’s an argument to be made that it’s better when race doesn’t play a part in the selection process and we just get the person who’s right for the role, as in Sam Jackson playing Nick Fury, or hopefully Michael B. Jordon as the Human Torch in Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.
While this can all get filed under rumours for now, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out as the new Spider-Man will need to be cast in time for production of Civil War. Until then, unleash your speculation in the comments below.