Over the past couple of years, a new Spider-Man has emerged and gained a lot of attention, and his name is Miles Morales. Miles' story has been told a few times in Marvel comics, but audiences have only seen him on the big screen once before when he led the 2018 animated blockbuster Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Now, Miles will get another big outing, this time in the upcoming video game Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a PlayStation exclusive that is launching along with the long-awaited PlayStation 5 console. Excitement for this game is high, and that should be a good sign that Miles is a character that fans want more of. So, why haven't fans seen him in a live-action film yet?
It goes without saying that Into the Spider-Verse was a global hit, and Sony obviously recognizes this success as they prepare to roll out their new Spider-Man game. But, if Into the Spider-Verse was so well received with Miles at the forefront of the film, and considering how many different spider-based projects that Sony currently has in the works, then why hasn't Miles been included in the Marvel live-action playbook?
It is possible that Miles is in Sony's plan somewhere in their partnership with Marvel Studios, as Miles' existence has already been teased once before in the MCU. But, Tom Holland's Spider-Man is still fairly young, and certainly not in a place yet to be a mentor. So, if that's the approach that Marvel Studios wants to take with Miles and his potential relationship with Peter, a lot has to change before that can happen naturally.
With that in mind, if the Miles Morales game does even half as well as Into the Spider-Verse did in cinemas, then Sony and Marvel Studios will have almost no reason to put off Miles’ big-screen debut any further. So, what can this game do to prove to the two studios that Miles is a smart investment for the MCU?
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
A big upside of Spider-Man: Miles Morales is that it will allow fans to spend more time investing in Miles on an individual level, and it will provide extended exposure to his origins and development as a new hero.
To date, Miles’ only big entertainment outing is in 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse, which revolved around Miles gaining his powers right as his world’s Spider-Man was killed. However, the movie equally had the task of exploring the idea of a multiverse as well - a first for any Marvel film at the time.
With a job as big as introducing the concept of a multiverse, it makes sense that there was only so much time available to really dive into Miles’ life and figure him out. This didn’t take away from the quality of the film by any means, as many still consider it to be one of the best Spider-Man movies ever. However, most of Miles’ interactions in the film were rather impersonal, and his motives were simple and concise, aligning neatly with the basic “save the world” archetype (as they should have).
So, despite how well the movie was received, this shortcoming resulted in fans still having plenty of questions about the film’s main character when the credits rolled. And, to a certain point, that was likely intentional in order to drive up demand for a sequel (which is already well underway). Plus, with how many characters and other varying elements that had to be explained in Into the Spider-Verse, there's really no one to blame for this other than the limited time that the standalone film allowed to explain everything.
Because of this, though, some fans could have enjoyed Into the Spider-Verse without necessarily appreciating Miles Morales as a character, as there were countless elements in the film that captivated different audiences. This may not be the case for most fans, but it’s certainly a possibility when so much is packed into a single film and could be the very thing standing in the way of Miles being incorporated into a live-action project.
ROOM FOR MILES TO GROW (ALONE)
In the Miles Morales game, fans will finally be able to engage with Miles like never before. They will immerse themselves in Miles’ world to analyze his strengths and struggles as he comes to terms with his newfound abilities.
As fans of Marvel’s Spider-Man will remember, Peter Parker reluctantly agreed to help Miles navigate through this unprecedented stage in his life as he becomes the next Spider-Man. This was alluded to at the tail-end of the Spider-Man campaign when Miles and Peter revealed their spider-like powers to one another. Peter’s mentorship was then more heavily reinforced in the DLC expansion of the Spider-Man prequel, where fans could hear several phone conversations between Peter and Miles discussing the earliest stages of Miles’ spider training.
This mentor/mentee relationship felt very natural as it developed, but some fans feared it would leave a poor taste in their mouths. The reason for this can be more clearly illustrated in reactions to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the MCU, which have shown that although fans love a good superhero team-up, giving Spider-Man too much time under an older, more experienced hero begins to feel like Spidey is being babysat.
In light of that, though, Peter Parker is reportedly going to be “on vacation” for a chunk of the Miles Morales campaign, for at least enough time to make it worth mentioning before the game’s release. This opens the door for plenty of time for fans to play as an unsupervised Miles, which is where the majority of his growth as a character is bound to unfold.
So, giving Miles time to learn from Peter in the game, as well as giving him time on his own without being able to call on Peter for help, could very well address the issue that many fans have with the constant oversight of the MCU Spider-Man, and provide a great solution for the new, developing Spider-Man that is Miles Morales. Sony and Marvel Studios can take note of this, and should keenly pay attention to how well this approach is received by audiences compared to what’s been done before.
SO, HOW WILL THE VIDEO GAME HELP?
Keeping all of this in mind, Spider-Man: Miles Morales may play a bigger role in Miles’ uncertain future with the MCU. Sony and Marvel Studios may be hesitant to introduce another Spider-Man with how little audiences still know about him and may be waiting until the time is right to start telling his story. However, if the studios are looking for a way to get people to know Miles better before his on-screen debut, then 8-10 hours of gameplay may be the perfect place to do it.
For example, Miles suffered the loss of his father in 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, and his grieving was lightly touched on towards the end of the game’s story. So, when the Miles Morales game picks up a year later on the timeline, fans will get to see a couple of Miles’ developments as a character right off the bat.
Firstly, Miles will already be well into the process of dealing with the pain and grief of losing his father, so fans will immediately get a firsthand look at what Miles’ motivations are moving forward and how he carries himself after going through that traumatic experience at such a young age.
Another element that will change is Miles’ relationship with his mother. Their dynamic will surely take on a new form in the absence of his father, and analyzing the way Miles interacts with his mother can be very telling of how Miles will shape into New York’s newest wallcrawler.
It’s also worth noting that, as already mentioned, this game will give a second perspective to the mentorship Miles receives from Peter Parker - specifically from a Peter Parker that Miles actually knew on a personal level and had grown to trust prior to acquiring his powers. This couldn’t be more different from the story that was told in Into the Spider-Verse and will surely give everyone a new idea of what Miles’ introduction to the MCU can look like - including Sony and Marvel Studios.
These examples are all new territory for Miles Morales in the game, but these topics were also not at all incorporated in the Spider-Verse flick. Watching how fans appreciate these developments of Miles’ will be a great focal point for Sony and Marvel Studios if they are looking for ways to make the MCU Miles more relatable.
ALL EYES ON MILES
A final example of how the Miles Morales game will help his chances in the live-action universe is that the upcoming Spider-Man sequel game isn’t promising major focus on any other characters so far, besides Miles’ mother Rio, who will apparently be trying her hand in the political arena.
With more and more eyes seemingly turning to the real world of politics, Rio Morales running for office in Spider-Man: Miles Morales will offer another relatable topic for fans to invest in.
This is development fans have seen very little about thus far, so a good amount of time will have to be used to establish this new turn. However, it will surely intersect with Roxxon’s involvement in Miles’ hometown in Harlem (where he and his mother have just moved back to) and will most definitely influence Miles’ development as well.
Every known element in this game thus far - such as Peter Parker taking an unexpected vacation - will seemingly allow Miles Morales the room needed to really grow as a character, without being overly diluted by other characters’ stories getting in the way. And, even the elements that seem out of place at first glance, like Rio Morales investing in her community, are likely to be closely tied to Miles Morales and his journey to becoming the Kid Arachnid.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE GAME'S RELEASE
This extended gameplay devoted to Miles' growth as a hero is an opportunity fans have hardly seen for him on any entertainment platform until now and could be just what Sony and Marvel Studios need to make a decision on how to write Miles into the MCU.
The examples given, combined with the fact that it will take about half a calendar day to get through the Miles Morales campaign, is enough to say that the game will give fans every opportunity they need to familiarize themselves with Miles and the story that Sony and Insomniac Games have attached to him. It will allow for a clear distinction on where he ranks among fans' favorite heroes.
And, after the game’s initial launch, if the reaction to the game is even relatively positive, Sony and Marvel Studios can get a much better gauge on how audiences receive Miles Morales as a character and be more encouraged (and inspired) towards incorporating him in live-action content.
Once the Miles Morales game is released, fans could see a young Miles be recruited by Tom Holland's Spider-Man sooner than they think. Or, with how much will be thrown at Miles in the upcoming game, Sony may decide to introduce Miles on his own journey entirely, choosing not to have him intersect with another Spider-Man until later on down the line.
The possibilities are endless, but it's clear that Sony and Marvel Studios are waiting until they think the time is right to pull the trigger on Miles' entrance into the MCU. The upcoming Miles Morales game can help with that decision in a big way, so it's only a matter of time before the Miles Morales of the MCU makes his appearance.