When news first broke of the deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios that would bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a vocal contingent of fans were hoping that it could be an oppurtunity for a non-white Spidey to web up the big screen. In fact, there were even reports that a diversified Peter Parker was considered by Kevin Feige. Of course, the role ultimately went to Tom Holland, whose debut in Captain American: Civil War has been well received.
However, it now appears those calling for a silver screen Spider-Man of a different race may actually get their wish. A report from Heroic Hollywood has it that the animated Spider-Man feature in the works at Sony will indeed put the spotlight on the Miles Morales “Ultimate” version of the character.
For the non-geeks out there, the Ultimate line was a series of comics set in an alternate universe from the central Marvel one. It featured “grittier” re-imaginings of classic characters, and a one point saw the death of Peter Parker. After his passing, a chain of complicated, comic-y events leads to a young half-black, half-Puerto Rican boy named Miles Morales being bitten by a genetically engineered spider. Gaining similar powers to Parker, Morales ends up taking on the mantle of Spider-Man.
The character’s 2011 introduction was not without controversy, but many applauded Marvel’s willingness to present a major superhero to represent the world’s growing diversity. Since his debut, Morales has become a beloved feature in the Marvel comics, even making the transition over to the main continuity when the Ultimate universe was destroyed in 2015.
Morales’ costume is markedly different from Parker’s, consisting of a black suit with red webbing. His power set is also slightly different, as in addition to the standard wall-crawling, spider sense, and enhanced strength and agility, Morales has a Predator-like camouflage ability, plus an electrical “venom strike” that can paralyze anyone he touches. Like Parker, Morales uses web-shooters to swing about New York City and wrap up baddies.
The first clue that Morales would step into the webs for the Sony/Marvel animated movie actually came when it was first announced. A press release read, “The film will exist independently of the projects in the live-action Spider-Man universe, all of which are continuing.” Reading that now makes it sound like they were already telling us this would be the Ultimate version of the character.
This Ultimate take on Spider-Man has been animated before, with the character currently appearing on the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series alongside the Peter Parker version. Donald Glover, who was actually part of the basis for the comic book character’s initial design, voiced Morales in his first appearances, but was replaced by Ogie Banks when he became a series regular.
In addition to breaking the news, Heroic Hollywood reports that the working title for the animated feature is either Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man or The Ultimate Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (LEGO Movie, 22 Jump Street) are writing and producing the film, which is set to hit theaters on December 21st, 2018.