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Back in 2011, the comic book world was shaken by the death of Spider-Man. Over in their so-called 'Ultimate Universe', Marvel took the gutsy move of killing off Peter Parker, and replacing him with a new Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a character who added a welcome tone of diversity to the comics, and soon proved to be a hit! With Peter Parker making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, and soon to star in Spider-Man: Homecoming, many fans have been wondering if Miles Morales will follow. Now that we've seen the first trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, it doesn't look like Miles will be appearing any time soon.
Where most of Peter Parker's schoolfriends are lifted from the original comics — with the notable exception of #Zendaya's Michelle, who some fans still insist is a race-swapped Mary-Jane — there's one major anomaly.
Meet Jacob Batalon, who's playing a reinterpreted version of classic #SpiderMan friend Ned Leeds. Until the trailer hit for Spider-Man: Homecoming, we had no real idea how much the character had been changed. The relationship between Ned Leeds and Peter Parker has transformed into the spitting image of the friendship between #MilesMorales and his closest friend, Ganke. Just take a look at the trailer: Leeds's appearance is visually similar to that of Ganke; the 'nerd dynamic' between Peter and Ned is the same; and there's even a key scene that seems to be a nod to an early Miles Morales comic!
In case you think I'm reaching with this comparison, when Miles reveals his powers to Ganke in the comics it results in the destruction of a LEGO model. Sound familiar?
The Problem for Miles Morales
Introducing this new dynamic into Peter Parker's life causes real problems further down the road, should Marvel ever wish to introduce Miles Morales. You see, when Brian Bendis originally scripted the friendship between Miles and Ganke, it was something new. Peter Parker had always been a dreamy loner, but Miles had a geeky best friend. It was a clever development, standing apart from anything that had been done with Spider-Man before, and it's become a major part of Miles's character. Clearly, Marvel felt it was a nice enough development to integrate it into Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it means that any attempt to use Miles and Ganke at a later date would simply seem like a copy.
That's frankly devastating. The reality is that Miles's friendship with Ganke is one of the central parts of his story; the two are best friends, and they stick with each other through thick and thin. It's telling that, when Marvel transitioned Miles into the mainstream Marvel Universe last year, they knew they had to bring Ganke with him. Miles without Ganke is like Don Quixote without Sancho Panza, like Holmes without Watson, like Laurel without Hardy. It just doesn't work.
I can completely understand why Marvel chose to add a Ganke-like character into the mix in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The reality is that this dynamic is a powerful one; what's more, given our society accepts nerd culture a lot more than it did back in the '60s, the odds that Peter wouldn't have at least one fellow geeky friend are pretty remote. Unfortunately for fans of Miles Morales, I suspect that this decision has also shot down any chance of bringing the Ultimate Spider-Man into the MCU.