How Similar Is Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man to Miles Morales?
One of the complaints I’ve seen frequently thrown against the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Peter Parker is that it seems like there are lots of similarities between him and Marvel’s other Spider-Man, Miles Morales. With Spider-Man: No Way Home definitely giving shades of Into the Spider-Verse, I thought I would take the time to really see where people see those similarities and if it ultimately matters, by focusing on the three that stood out to me the most.
Ganke Lee & Ned Leeds
In the comics, Ganke Lee is a Korean-American, the best friend of Miles Morales, and one of the few people who know Miles is Spider-Man. His physical and personality traits are pretty much exactly similar to the movies’ Ned Leeds, who shares the same role in MCU Peter Parker’s life. Usually, the role of Peter Parker’s best friend is taken up by Harry Osborn, who has yet to make an appearance in the MCU.
Miles Morales co-creator Brian Michael Bendis talked about these similarities when asked about them during an interview when Homecoming was coming out”
“I’ve not seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, so I’m gonna wait until we see what we see,” Bendis said. “But, yeah, it was bizarre and flattering. I don’t even know if Ganke was the inspiration, or they just got to their own place with a character like this on their own. I don’t know. It does seem like it might have been, but no one’s told me either way. There’s so much else in that trailer that’s from Ultimate Spider-Man that I would assume that, yes, it is… It’s weird only because Ganke wasn’t part of Peter’s story — he was part of Miles’s story.”
Yes. Yes, he was.
There is a Ned Lee in Peter Parker’s life who is also Asian, but it is not his best friend, but a fellow reporter at the Daily Bugle.
Vulture Family Romance
All superheroes “date a Catwoman,” and in Peter’s case, he literally has Black Cat/Felicia Hardy. Rather than explore his relationship with Gwen Stacey, MJ, or Felicia, the MCU introduced the character of Liz Toomes, a non-comics-canon daughter of Spider-Man villain Vulture.
In the comics, Miles ends up having a crush on a girl named Tiana Toomes, who is the granddaughter of Vulture and a superhero vigilante named Starling. Both Liz and Tiana are Black women.
Peter Parker does go to high school with Liz Allen, who, in one incarnation, ends up marrying Harry Osborn, but again, he doesn’t exist in the MCU yet.
Cap x Miles v. Tony x Peter
Peter Parker was created a year before Tony Stark and has always been a much more popular character than Iron Man. In Ultimate Spider-Man, he was made younger, and a lot of Tom Holland’s personality feels like it is taken from that version of Peter. Also, before the events of Civil War, there was a close relationship between Tony and Peter that could be foundational to what we see in the MCU.
But, that’s different from the heavy guiding hand, semi-paternal figure Tony plays in the MCU for Peter.
Miles deeply admires and respects Captain America. The two of them being Brooklyn boys, their relationship has many ebbs and flows which lead to a very big moment in the comics where Miles has to kill Hydra!Cap (darkest timeline). But we also get this scene:
I will say that I think (as many people have said) that the MCU should have always led the way with bringing Miles Morales to the big screen instead of just doing another version of Peter Parker.
That is not a reflection of Tom Holland in the role (as he is probably my favorite Peter/Spider combo platter). It’s a reflection on the diversity they clearly wanted to bring to Spider-Man, but were afraid to do without Peter in tow.
While I enjoy Holland’s Peter, whenever I rewatch his Spider-Man films, I find myself jarred by how little of it has any real relationship to comic book Peter. Aunt May is a young hottie (like Miles’ mom), his public Forest Hills-inspired high school gets transformed into an elite high school in the MCU, and his interests, such as photography, don’t really show up that much. They can’t even give him a love interest from any of the many canonical girls who have crushed on Peter Parker. (Which also may have been out of their control due to the Sony/Marvel deal with the character, but still.)
So, at this point, the question is less “Did the MCU just copy and paste aspects of Miles onto Peter?” and more “Why didn’t they just use Miles in the first place?”
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]