A few years back, when Sony was still gearing up for the reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, many fans were asking the question, “What does this reboot have to offer other than a rehashing of what we’ve seen before?” It’s a valid question, one that any reboot needs to answer. Ultimately that question was answered in darker visual tones and themes, fantastic acrobatics, and a talented leading couple. Whether you’ve been satisfied with that answer or not is moot at this point, it’s what we’ve got, but before Andrew Garfield put on the tights there was some debate about who the web slinging hero should be.
An io9 article titled “The last thing Spider-Man should be is another white guy” sparked a flurry of comments regarding casting an actor who wasn’t white, some reasoned and articulate, some… not. In the midst of the digital clash a name floated to the top, Donald Glover (“Community”).
Glover later saw the comment and apparently thought, yeah- why not me? He’s a fan of the character and the franchise and a talented actor. I have no problems at all imagining him playing Peter Parker, he’s got the personality to pull it off and there is no race underneath tights, and Glover seems to agree.
"That's the great part about the Spider-Man costume: He can be anybody," Glover says. "Spider-Man could be a girl. Spider-Man could be an old man. You don't know.”
Glover took to the Twitterverse to make it happen with the hashtag Donald4Spiderman.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Garfield was selected and the franchise moved forward without Glover. It seemed as though his wall crawling dreams had been dashed… until now.
The unsuccessful Twitter campaign may have failed to cement Glover in the live action role but it did plant some seeds and help fertilize others. The idea of launching a black Spider-Man was first discussed within the halls of Marvel a few months prior to the 2008 election. The nation was on the brink of electing its first black President and the powers within the studio thought it might be a good time to rethink some of their most popular characters. The idea lay dormant until writer Brian Michael Bendis saw Glover donning Spider-Man pajamas on an episode of Community, a nod to his attempt at the Spider-Man throne. These two events combined and resulted in the creation of the character Miles Morales.
Reports have dropped this morning that Glover is voicing the character he helped to inspire on the upcoming series “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors” on Disney XD. The series will see Peter Parker travelling to alternate dimensions chasing the Green Goblin, there he’ll encounter Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of that world.
While it’s not quite the same as a live action adaptation, and Glover won’t get to wear the tights (except maybe in his living room) it does fulfill a dream of his to portray the character he’s loved since childhood, and it gives us a chance to see how he would do.
"I don't think it's hit me necessarily yet how big of a deal that is, I'm very grateful for that, and it's cool to read the comic now."
And who knows, maybe this will pave the way for the character to hit the big screen in the future.
"I still have hopes to do something like that one day. I don't look at this as second place. Spider-Man, he's such an icon — you have to do something with him."
I’d put my money down to see that.
“Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors” premieres this Saturday on Disney XD.