11:30 am EST, March 2, 2015

‘Spider-Man’: Meet Miles Morales

Miles Morales could be Marvel’s next Spider-Man if rumors are to be believed – but who is the man behind the mask?

Back in early February, Sony and Marvel announced the news that superhero fans had been waiting for: Spider-Man had finally joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a deal which would see the rebooted webslinger star in both Sony’s solo films and Marvel’s Avengers films.

With Miles reportedly first appearing in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, the combined forces of the studios are going to have to get a move on in casting Andrew Garfield’s replacement. In fact, we can probably expect to hear an announcement very soon. Rumor has it that the next Spider-Man actor won’t be white, leading many to speculate that we could be seeing Miles Morales on screen instead of the Peter Parker we’re used to.

This would be a savvy move, as The Amazing Spider-Man films drew criticism from both fans and reviewers for being too similar to the Tobey Maguire trilogy. This was largely attributed to the repetition of well-worn story arcs: Peter Parker’s origins, the Green Goblin’s origins, Uncle Ben’s death and others have all been told in both series. So, what better way to keep things fresh than by introducing a whole new man beneath the Spider-Man mask? It seems the perfect solution.

But who is Miles Morales? We’re all familiar with Peter Parker, but not even all of the most dedicated comic fans have read Miles’s stories. Fear not, though – as we’ve created the perfect guide to get you up to speed on the man the whole superhero fandom is talking about.

Miles Morales: Who Is He?

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

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Miles Morales: What Does He Do?

Like Peter Parker before him, Miles inherits all of the standard Spider-Man powers. However, he also has a few more tricks in his arsenal. First of all, he’s immortal, which is a pretty big deal in itself. He can also paralyze enemies and destroy technology with a ‘venom blast,’ allowing him to quickly take down villains just by touching them. Finally, he can also take advantage of spider-camouflage, which renders him invisible, providing him with plenty of opportunities for stealth.

When it comes to his costume, Miles keeps the iconic web and spider design that Peter Parker employed. Morales’s costume is mainly black though, with red motifs.

Miles Morales: When Is He Spider-man?

It’s important to note that Miles is not used as a replacement for Parker in the Marvel universe, in fact, he lives and operates in his own, entirely separate universe. In this universe, Miles steps up to the plate after Peter Parker is murdered by the Sinister Six. Miles meets many of Parker’s closest friends and family, coming into contact with Gwen Stacy and even Aunt May (who gives the new spidey her late nephew’s web slingers).

On a few occasions, Miles crosses over into the mainstream Marvel universe when he needs to – even meeting (and receiving the approval of) Peter Parker. Interestingly, he appeared in the climax of the “Age of Ultron” comic series – the source material for the new Avengers film.

Why Miles Morales?

So, we know who Miles Morales is, as well as how and why he becomes Spider-Man. The question now is: why should he become the new cinematic Spider-Man?

There are a few reasons why Miles would make a great Marvel movie Spider-Man. First of all, it would bring a breath of fresh air to the well-worn Peter Parker storyline we’ve seen on screen for the last 13 years. Though Miles is different to Peter, he shares many of the endearing traits which have become synonymous with the friendly neighborhood webslinger.

Though most people reading this article will know how superhero films work, we have to remember the genre is a mainstream media giant. Bringing in a new Peter Parker, just four years after the character was last rebooted, could cause some confusion among the uninitiated movie-goers. Changing the man behind the mask would help provide a clean break.

Finally, Miles Morales would make a great candidate for the new Spider-Man because he would help bring some much needed diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and superhero movies in general. In the comics, we currently have a black Captain America, a female Thor, and of course, Miles Morales. However, we’re yet to see a person of color as one of the main Avengers or, crucially, the titular star of their own movie. Marvel and DC are making steps with gender diversity by pursuing Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman films. But racially, the cinematic cast of superheros remains predominantly white. Bringing in a black Spider-Man would be a brave move by Sony and Marvel, and one which could prove massively popular among superhero fans.

Who’s Behind The Mask?

When news broke of Spider-Man joining the Avengers, we explored who might step into the recast role.

The fan favorite for the part of Miles Morales is Community‘s Donald Glover (A.K.A. rapper Childish Gambino). Having been the subject of two online campaigns to land him the Spidey role, Glover is a self-confessed Spider-Man fanboy. He currently voices Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, and rumor has it he was part of the inspiration for the character in the first place. In fact, the only downside is that Glover is 31 – more than double Morales age. He convincingly played a younger character as Troy Barnes, but we’re not sure that studio execs will be able to see past the number.

Other popular candidates include How to Get Away with Murder (and Harry Potter) star Alfred Enoch and The Walking Dead‘s Tyler James Williams. Both of these actors are a bit closer to Miles’s actual age than Glover, though they don’t have the same dedicated fan following as he does.

Would you like to see Miles Morales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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