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Speaking to Screencrush, Feige reminded fans that Miles Morales—the black Latino hero of recent Ultimate Spider-Man comics—already appears in Marvel’s animated universe. However, he’s also “there somewhere” in the live-action world of the MCU. This ties into an obscure reference in Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Donald Glover‘s character Aaron Davis. Davis is Miles Morales’ uncle in the comics, and in the movie, he mentions having a nephew.
Feige’s answer feels oddly familiar. That’s because earlier this year, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said that LGBTQ characters exist somewhere in the MCU. Both statements are meaningless, especially in the context of minority representation. Fictional characters only “exist” if they actually have a role; they don’t have any impact if they’re floating around in some quantum state offscreen.
Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland supports the idea of Miles Morales appearing in the franchise, and Feige gave a characteristically equivocal answer about anything in Marvel comics being open for adaptation. But the truth is, the new Spider-Man movies make it harder for a Miles Morales spinoff to exist.
In recent comics, Peter Parker is generally depicted as an adult while Miles Morales is a teen. Miles stars in a contemporary high school drama with a diverse supporting cast—exactly like Spider-Man: Homecoming. There are enough similarities for fans to accuse the movie of borrowing Miles’ role and supplanting him with a white lead. And while the movie is full of material from classic Peter Parker stories, it copied a key character from the Miles Morales comics: his best friend Ganke, renamed Ned Leeds for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
To appear in the MCU, Miles now requires a significant rewrite to avoid overlapping with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor