Marvel recently landed the deal that fanboys have been lobbying for the last half decade: bringing Spider-man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (reportedly for free). Having Spider-man fighting alongside Captain America, Iron-man, Thor and the rest of the Avengers feels like a homecoming of sorts, but the unfortunate effect of his existing film career may create some complications. In other words, Sony kind of messed things up.
Say what you will about the first Spider-man trilogy, the true offender is the Amazing series. While I was in the minority for liking the pair of Andrew Garfield entries, the fact that Sony rebooted the series is the true crime. This leaves Marvel with a precarious situation. Do they dare reboot again? Will audiences detract from having to sit through yet another origin story?
A perfect resolution would be using Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker.
Miles Morales as Spider-Man
For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Miles Morales is the current Ultimate Universe version of Spider-Man; a 13-year-old kid from Brooklyn who takes on the Spider-Man identity after Peter Parker’s death. 11 months earlier, Miles developed spider powers of his own after he was bitten by a genetically enhanced spider. A year later, struck with grief at not helping Peter Parker before his demise, Miles decided to follow his philosophy — with great power comes great responsibility — and so continues his legacy.
While Peter Parker was an integral part to Morales’ rise to hero-hood, the MCU could write in a new back-story. As easily as they supplanted Tony Stark as the creator of Ultron, so too could they nominate another hero to mentor the young Spider-man.
Why would this be a huge move?
1. Avoid Repetition
We have all seen Uncle Ben die (twice actually). We don’t need to see it again. We don’t need to see nerdy Peter Parker coming of age and overcoming his shortcomings as a socially inept teenager. Marvel has a popular and well-received alternate in Miles Morales that deserves a shot at a movie of his own. After five Peter Parker films, how differently could Marvel do his story?
Additionally, the introduction of a new character would sever all confusion with the other series. Past events and villains that Peter Parker encountered in Spider-man and Amazing Spider-man would be more easily forgotten. It would allow the new Spider-man to come into his own.
2. Avoid Storyline Inconsistencies
This is a shoot-off of the last point, but if Marvel wanted to avoid a Peter Parker origin, they would need to establish Spider-man in the MCU with a past. That past would have conflicted mightily with the events of Avengers. How wouldn’t NYC’s #1 superhero not be involved in protecting the city from the alien attack?
Conversely, that New York attack served as an “outing” of sorts for all superheroes. This wouldn’t make sense if there was a web-slinging crime fighter on the loose that the Daily Bugle covered relentlessly.
The inconsistencies wouldn’t unravel the universe, but their inconvenience is undesirable.
3. Showoff Marvel’s Progressiveness
In stark contrast to DC, Marvel has been somewhat conservative with their properties. DC set the bar by announcing a slate of character solo projects that revolves around a woman (Wonder Woman), a minority (Cyborg), and casting a gay actor in the role of an old stalwart (Flash). No one batted an eye.
Recognizing the progressiveness, Marvel responded with Black Panther and Captain Marvel, but their moves look more reactionary than proactive. If they make a move to cast Spider-man as the black and Latino Miles Morales, they will show their dedication to diversity.
Race relations aside, Marvel has been very safe with their lead characters up until now. They had the chance to kill off Nick Fury in Winter Soldier, but chickened out in the third act. The only other recurring character that suffered a death, Agent Coulson, was later reincarnated on television. Marvel Studios doesn’t want to alienate audiences by doing things that create distance, but the double-edged sword is that they can create apathy (which can be equally dangerous). Marvel could really shake things up by doing the unpredictable and give audiences something truly daring, a non-Parker Spider-man.
4. Comic and Merchandise Sales
The bottom line may be much greater if Spider-man were given to Miles Morales. For 14 years, merchandising tie-ins to the five cinematic releases were all based on Peter Parker. Another Parker incarnation would just mean more of the same crap.
If Marvel decides to go with Morales, the door is open to a whole new line of toys, clothes, and lunch boxes. The movie will be only four years removed from Amazing Spider-man 2, so all the new Morales toys can be added to existing Spider-man collections without any duplicates.
The move would invite a drove of new comic fans back to the books as well. Those unfamiliar with Morales’ character would be eager to read up on the story lines that inspired the move.
Miles Morales 2018
We have three years before the Spider-man solo movie hits theaters, but he will likely cameo in an early installment of the MCU. Let’s hope the studio does something special and delivers a unique cinematic experience instead of the same old Spidey that we’ve come to expect in the last decade and a half.
Who do you think the new Spidey should be?