Recently I created a Miles Morales movie concept trailer for a contest sponsored by my local ComiCon. While I’m new to the community here, I’ve been visiting the site for about a year now, and I enjoy the content I see written by fans, which encouraged me to write this article. I thought it was the right time for this trailer because of recent talk in the media as to whom the next Spider-Man will be. I’ve seen that a few news sites like Variety, and even many fans feel as though Miles should get a shot at the big screen in the reboot. In contrast, others want to stick with the familiarity of Peter Parker.
In an interview with The Playlist, Avi Arad, the producer of many of the Spider-Man films stated that Peter Parker should always be Spider-Man in the movies. Marvel Studios are sticking with this trend as well, as we are probably only days or weeks away from finding out who will be the next Peter Parker.
With all of this going on, I thought to myself, what would a Miles Morales film look like?
I’ve been a fan of comic book movies and shows since I was a kid. My dad grew up reading comics and although he didn’t have any when I was born, I’m pretty sure I got the love of superheroes from him. The films I go to see in theaters are pre-dominantly superhero ones. I appreciate the diversity Marvel is starting to add by introducing Falcon and soon Black Panther to the Marvel Universe. And of course, Fox casting Michael B Jordan as the Human Torch – I think he’s said enough on that matter with his essay in Entertainment Weekly. While these are all promising creative decisions, The Walking Dead actor Tyler James Williams has best summed up the current status quo; there’s still not a lot of black teenage superheroes out there.
There’s not a lot of black superheroes in film period.
I made this film, honestly, because I’m tired of African-Americans in many films still being portrayed as ghetto gangsters and thugs. And sadly, many of these films are by African-Americans! I see this trend in culture where we say we’re tired of being victims of racial injustice, yet we still act the fool and consume content that feeds on the idea. I wanted to make a film that shows a bi-racial kid (Miles Morales is both African-American and Hispanic) just out there being a hero. I wanted to show a teenage black kid who is out there on the streets saving his city from destruction. Instead of joining the corruption, he’s fighting against it. In the process of making the trailer I didn’t even have time to delve into Miles’ parents and touch on his ethnic background. I just wanted to show him being Spider-Man!
When I was out shooting Spider-Man in an alley, there were some kids who saw me in costume without my mask. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know who Miles Morales was, yet they still called me “Spider-Man”, and said “What’s up Spidey!” I wasn’t even wearing the traditional blue and red costume. Yet when people saw the symbol they didn’t ask, “Why is he black? Or why he is wearing that?” They just called me Spider-Man. They identified with me because of the symbol I wore. Isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t people not be identified by the color of their skin, “but by the content of their character?” (MLK). Young African-Americans need someone who they can look up to – they need a hero that they can identify with. Sadly, many come from broken homes and have no positive role models in their lives. At least in the film industry, I want to see characters that can help fill that void.
That’s why I made this trailer. To inspire others.
At first I was making it to win a contest – but I see that it’s more than that. With this trailer I want to show that if Marvel were to cast Miles Morales, they could do it. They don’t have to lean on black stereotypes – they could just show him as an ordinary person suddenly given extraordinary abilities, and learning to deal with them responsibly.
While the trailer is not perfect, (and of course could be better) I hope you can see where I’m coming from with this. And maybe it will inspire Hollywood to think outside the box.
I hope you enjoy it!