Now, before I let my nerd-rage flow, I feel I should lead with a disclaimer. I am a Parkerist. I will not deny it. I have been a Parkerist for over thirty years now and, in the far off future, I will die a Parkerist. So yes, I am biased. That said…
What I am going to talk about today is the last on that list, Bandwagon Diplomacy. It seems to be the new cool, hip trend right now to talk about how great it would be to have a Spider-Man in the MCU who is not Peter Parker under the mask. People say Peter Parker is played out on the big screen. Been there, done that. You can only kill Uncle Ben so many times before the impact is lost. How about something fresh? How about using that Miles Morales kid from the ‘Ultimate Comics’? Sure, the Ultimate Series was ultimately a failed experiment that confused more readers than it gained, but hey, that one guy with the blog sure did like it. Oh, and Miles is of African-American and Hispanic descent. That’s just crazy! People can’t argue with that. If they do, that “Hate” component of the Internet will label them a Racist. But still, that’s a crazy idea and we can’t do that… right?
So how did we get here? Why is Miles Morales all of a sudden the bee’s knees? The rumor started. Actually, the rumor has been around since the failed ‘Amazing’ reboot. ‘Community’ actor and resident Spider-Man fan Donald Glover has been hinting that he would love to play Spider-Man on the silver screen. And that rumor caught fire. The fact that he’s the spitting image of a slightly older Miles Morales caused everyone to believe that, if he were to play Spider-Man, it would be the Ultimate Spider-Man version and not Peter Parker. Although, I don’t see why Peter Parker has to be white. The nerdy, science whiz from Forest Hills, New York can honestly be any ethnicity… as long as… and I am going to put this in all caps so you, the reader, can understand the passion with which I make this statement… HE IS PETER PARKER! But I digress.
So this Miles Morales rumor gets started years ago and is resurrected again with the earth-shattering announcement that Spider-Man will be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The major news sites jump all over it and pretty soon everyone has a story about how Miles Morales should be the next Spider-Man. In fact, these articles grew bolder every day and if you were to believe them it’s already a done deal. Peter Parker is out and Miles Morales is in. Well, true believers, I’m here to express another view; one that might actually be supported by fact.
During the big February 9th announcement, Doug Belgrad, President of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group said, “Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker’s story into the future.” That’s right; Peter Parker was mentioned by name. And why wouldn’t he? Peter Parker has yet to have a legitimate run on the big screen. With Marvel again having some say in their franchise attraction now is the perfect time to tell his story with the same earnestness and respect that has become a staple of the MCU. All of which is practically assured since his debut will be in 2016’s highly anticipated ‘Captain America: Civil War.’ While I can’t imagine he will have the same pivotal role in the movie as he did in the comic treatment of the same story, you know his involvement will be meaningful, if not brief. This is fine since he will be headlining his own feature the following year. Spider-Man is finally where he belongs.
Parker has been Spider-Man since 1962. The amount of quality stories left to adapt and tell, are staggering. How about we dig into the rich tapestry of storytelling Spider-Man has already spun into our collective consciousness over the last 5+ decades instead of summarily dismissing the icon who started it all simply because it’s a trendy idea? I don’t think there is a soul out there who doesn’t want to see an adaptation of “Kraven’s Last Hunt” or one of a hundred other groundbreaking story arcs that made the character of Peter Parker and Spider-Man an indelible fixture of American pop-culture and world-wide acclaim.
Plus, we also need to take into account the mass appeal of the character. If you go out on the street and ask a random stranger who Peter Parker is there is a strong probability they will say Spider-Man. The same cannot be said for Miles Morales. Now that Marvel has Spider-Man back in the fold you can bet your Spider-Ass that they will not limit themselves in any way by appealing to a smaller audience. They will market the name and everything recognizable associated with the wall-crawler.
Along that point I have to ask… Why? Why would you not launch your flagship character with his most recognizable alter-ego? Marvel put Tony Stark in the Iron Man Suit, not Eddie March. DC used Bruce Wayne under the cowl, not Jean-Paul Valley. Superman is still that same baby from Krypton, neck snapping notwithstanding. You go with the tried and true, recognizable person who made the character the generational phenomenon it is, not the flavor of the month.
Does that mean that there is no place in the MCU for Miles Morales? You never know. The cinematic universe is a big place and there is an Infinity War brewing; anything can happen. Though if you ask me, there are other far more interesting characters that should get a shot at a movie before parading out a blander version of the most beloved superhero of all time. Personally I want to see Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel, on the big screen. You want to jump on a bandwagon Internet, how about that one? A female Muslim heroine headlining her own movie!? Mind blown! You’d get years of click-bate out of that one.
TL;DR – Peter Parker IS Spider-Man. I know it, Marvel knows it, and more importantly deep down in places you don’t want to talk about you know it. Let’s give Peter, in whatever context they come up with, his moment of glory as a cornerstone of the MCU. He helped make Marvel what it is. He helped countless comic readers understand that with great power comes great responsibility. A lesson the internet seems to have forgotten. So it’s only right that Peter Parker don the mask and teach a whole new generation just what it means to be Spider-Man.