movies

PETER PARKER VS. MILES MORALES – WHY MARVEL SHOULD (AND WILL) PICK MILES

Since the Sony/Marvel announcement that Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in an upcoming film (likely Captain America: Civil War) before web-slinging his way into yet another reboot the following year, rumours have been swirling over who would take over from Andrew Garfield and don the red, tight, and blue. Hand-in-hand with the casting rumours are which incarnation of Spider-Man would appear in these films: Peter Parker or Miles Morales? Here are the reasons why it should, and will be, Miles Morales.

Who is Miles Morales?

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Miles is an African American kid from Brooklyn who was also bitten by a radioactive spider and gains super powers. He exists in the Ultimate Universe of Marvel Comics, a series that is a little more action-packed and gritty (adult) than the regular Marvel Universe. In this universe, Peter is killed and Miles decides to become the next Spider-Man to honour Peter’s legacy. He aids S.H.I.E.L.D., fights many of the same baddies Peter tangled with, and even interacts with various characters we all know including Mary Jane Watson and Aunt May. He is a teenager, also loves science, and is a bit of an outcast at his charter school. Sound familiar?

Here are a few reasons I think we’ll see Miles Morales on the big screen soon:

Diversity

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Marvel has made a conscious shift towards being more diverse. In the last year, Marvel has changed the narrative that claimed their heroes were white-washed and predominantly male and totally flipped it on its head. Ms. Marvel became the first Muslim superhero, Thor was relaunched with a woman as the God of Thunder, they announced their first movie with a female lead in Captain Marvel, they also announced the Black Panther movie slated for 2018, and even The All-New, All-Different Avengers is a female led squad. Miles Morales would be a totally new spin on a character we all know pretty well at this point. It would bring Spider-Man into the 21st century and from a box office point of view, would drive people to the theatre to see a new origin story. I’d be shocked if people flock to see Peter get bitten and Uncle Ben die… again.

The Ultimates

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The Ultimate story-line and appearances are very similar to the MCU. Nicky Fury looks just like Samuel L., Tony Stark is essentially Robert Downey, their costumes are incredibly similar, and the backstories are what you see on screen. The MCU is very closely aligned with the look and feel of these comics so it would make sense to include Miles. He is an updated Spider-Man and would fit well with the other updated Avengers.

Freedom

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Peter Parker is one of the most beloved superheroes. He has a massive fan base and everyone knows his look, personality, friends, family, girlfriends, backstory, and villains by heart. He is Marvel’s Superman or Batman, which is a blessing and a curse. Writers can only be so creative with a much-loved character like Peter Parker, if they mess up one tiny detail, or have him say a line that isn’t quite “Parker-esque” enough, everyone freaks out. It is a lose-lose situation for Sony and Marvel to do another movie with Peter. Having Miles as the new Spider-Man gives them total creative freedom to sculpt a new character however they’d like. They can more easily tie his backstory to The Avengers in a way that doesn’t completely change Peter’s narrative. This freedom is something Marvel has recently embraced with lesser-known character in Guardians and Ant-Man.

Diversions

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In the past week, a few names have been thrown around as having auditioned in top secret locations. Most rumours seem to revolve around Matues Ward, a 16 year-old Caucasian actor, which has lead many to suggest that we will be seeing a young Peter Parker and NOT Miles Morales in the new films. Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, seems to have tipped Marvel’s hand here and in a recent Nerdist Podcast interview, Brian Michael Bendis (creator of Miles Morales) said that there were some really interesting and exciting developments in the works, but that he couldn’t say much more.

Conclusion

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To me, it seems that Marvel is giving us the run-around. They somehow let slip who the front-runner was for Spider-Man? Quesada, who knows every little secret that’s coming, sat down at his keyboard and typed PETER FREAKING PARKER without thinking that it might set people off? These are calculated leaks to throw everyone off and to make the announcement of Miles Morales appearing in Civil War all the more buzzworthy.

I was wrong on Cumberbatch and I may be wrong here but my fingers crossed. I can say I’m not alone here as Ultimate Fallout #4 (First appearance of Miles) was a hot comic at Toronto Comic Con this weekend and there is a huge fan-base that would love to see Donald Glover as the next Spider-Man. Myself included.

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Doctor Strange – who will it be?

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Doctor Strange, earth’s sorcerer supreme, will get his own Marvel flick in summer 2016 but Marvel has yet to announce which actor will be performing spells and saving the world from demons. I expect that announcement to be made soon, possibly this weekend in San Diego. There have been dozens of rumours and names tossed around but here are my predictions based on Marvel’s past choices. Kevin Feige has said that this will be Marvel’s most important film since Iron Man as they need to prove they can pull off the magical side of the Marvel universe as well as the sci-fi and technical side that has been portrayed already.

viewDoctor Stephen Strange was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and debuted in Strange Tales #110 (1963). He was a genius level neurosurgeon who was obsessed with two things: money and himself. When a car accident shatters his hands and ends his career, he travels the world looking for cures and meets The Ancient One, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Through a series of events, the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme is passed to Strange and he acts as Earth’s defender against all sorts of magical and demonic entities. The role of Doctor Strange will need to be serious and brooding at times but he also has a sense of humour. The toughest part of this role will be ensuring it doesn’t come across as campy or cheesy.

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For the most part, Marvel has picked lesser-known actors to fill their roles so far. See below for their past choices. This is why I believe Doctor Strange will not be portrayed by the likes of Jonny Depp. I’m not saying there were no big names cast in Marvel phase 1 or 2 but for the most part the household names were not members of The Avengers. When you sign someone on to a 5-10 picture deal, you can’t cast someone that will cost $20 million per movie. All of this being said, here are my picks:

Jon Hamm

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His name has been floating around recently. Aside from having the perfect looks for the role, he has a seriousness that would work as well as some comedic chops which he displayed on SNL. With Mad Men coming to a close next year he’ll be available as well.

Jared Leto

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Has proven he can play a character that is a little out there. I feel like he may be too much of a household name after his Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club but he certainly has the talent and look to pull off this role. His cost may be a draw back.

Aiden Gillan

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Definitely best known for his role as Petyr (Little Finger) Baelish on Game of Thrones, I think Aiden has the talent and the look to pull of Doctor Strange. He is unknown enough to not cost a fortune and has the experience playing the mysterious creep. A bit of a stretch here but so was Chris Hemsworth (now number 5 on highest paid actors 2014)

Matthew Macfayden

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Better known for his stage work in Britain, Macfadyen is an incredible actor with an intriguing and unique voice. Probably best known for his work in Pride and Prejudice, he would be a newcomer to the U.S. action genre. Marvel has dipped into the British stage acting pool before (see Tom Hiddleston) why not do it again?

Hugh Dancy

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This is probably a huge stretch and would involve Marvel going totally rogue in terms with their selection but I think Dancy could be phenomenal. He is currently appearing on NBC’s Hannibal and is stellar. He plays the damaged hero better than I have ever seen and stands out each week among a stellar cast.

Hopefully we will all find out soon. Maybe I just wasted 30 minutes and it will end up being Benedict Cumberbatch after all.