Rumor Patrol: Spider-Man Won't be White in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man Miles Morales rumors

Spider-Man is being born again... again. After successful negotiations between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, the web-slinger is getting ready to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe - probably making his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War - and will star in his own MCU standalone movie in 2017.

Andrew Garfield, who played Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man movies, will not be reprising the role - and recent casting rumors have pointed to young stars Dylan O'Brien and Logan Lerman becoming the new Mr. Parker onscreen. Given that whoever takes the role will be the third actor to play Spider-Man in less than a decade, however, some have suggested that the latest reboot of the superhero on screen should change things up by having Ultimate Marvel character Miles Morales behind the mask instead of Peter Parker.

In the official press release announcing the Sony/Marvel partnership, Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad explicitly named Peter Parker as the character who would be joining the MCU. However, TheWrap reporter Jeff Sneider has opened up fresh speculation during a recent Meet the Movie Press podcast, when he claimed that (presumably) based on his sources, it is very unlikely that Spider-Man will be played by a white actor. Here's a transcript of the conversation.

Jeff Sneider: This is not set in stone, guys, but I'm telling you right now: Spider-Man's not going to be white.

Nathaniel Rogers: Really?

JS: Spider-Man is not going to be white.

NR: Is that your speculation, or...?

JS: I'm 95% sure. Spider-Man's going to be most likely black. But there's a chance he could also be latino. 95% sure: not white.

NR: If that happens then, damn it Marvel, if that happens do not call on Peter Parker. Call on Miles Morales, please.

JS: I don't think it's going to be Peter Parker.

Marvel Studios wants fresh start with Spider-Man

As comic book movies have come to dominate the box office, race has become an increasingly hot topic with some fans directing a great deal of ire at the idea of traditionally white comic book characters like Heimdall and Johnny Storm being played by black actors. There is a comic book precedent for a Spider-Man who isn't white (Miles Morales is half-black, half-latino), but that didn't do much to soothe the outraged response when casting for The Amazing Spider-Man took place and some fans suggested Community star Donald Glover.

In a recent series of controversial leaked e-mails, Sony chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin speculated that President Obama probably liked Django Unchained and Think Like a Man. Sneider speculated that Sony's desire to combat the perception of racism among the studio's higher-ups may play into the Spider-Man casting.

"I really feel strongly. Sony has an opportunity to beat Marvel and DC to the punch with a major black comic book character. Like I mentioned last week, the emails that leaked were perceived as racist in some quarters. I really think that’s going to play into things."

[Update: Sneider has provided follow-up comments on Twitter.]

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