Bad news for Miles Morales fans.
A few weeks ago, during an interview with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 producers, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, the conversation turned to Andrew Garfield’s suggestion that Miles Morales eventually be brought into the film franchise. Morales, for those who haven’t picked up an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man since 2011, is a half-black, half-Puerto Rican teenager who took on the Spider-Man mantle after Ultimate Peter Parker died. Arad and Tolmach were asked if audiences could expect to see Morales on the big screen anytime soon … or ever.
No. The one thing you cannot do, when you have a phenomena that has stood the test of time, you have to be true to the real character inside – who is Peter Parker? What are the biggest effects on his life? Then you can draw in time, and you can consider today’s world in many ways. But to have multiple ones… I don’t know if you remember, but Marvel tried it. And it was almost the end of Spider-Man.
Well, that’s disappointing. However, I appreciate that this does not seem to be a conscious avoidance of race nor deliberate white-washing. Unlike the screenwriter of Noah, they weren’t trying to “make [race] not a factor.” It was a decision based on story and character, not race. It certainly seems like they were approaching the issue from a truly color-blind mentality.
That said …
You can’t really approach this issue from a truly color-blind mentality. Since the internet’s atrocious reaction to Donald Glover’s joking suggestion that he should play Spider-Man back in 2011, race is too intricately and sensitively linked to Spider-Man’s 21st century legacy to gloss over it. (As a matter of fact, Glover was partly Brian Bendis’ inspiration to create Morales in the first place.) To staunchly deny this character, who’s so significant to the cause of diversity, any screen time is unfortunate.
Though, to be fair, if the producers are going to unambiguously dismiss any chance of Morales being brought to the screen, I’m at least relieved that it was for the story, not for fear of diversity.