TIME Magazine’s Upset Over Peter Parker

TIMEMadTIME Magazine’s Eliana Dockterman wrote up a snarky piece regarding Marvel & Sony using Peter Parker instead of Miles Morales as Spider-Man in the upcoming reboot & MCU films.

Some highlights:

The Miles Morales rumors are not true, according to Marvel hed Kevin Feige. Is this headline beginning to sound repetitive? The new iteration of Spider-Man, who will appear in the Captain America: Civil War movie before getting his own feature film, will continue to be a high school-aged Peter Parker. This is bad news for fans who were hoping to escape watching the same teenage origin story of Parker yet again.

Except that we’re not getting another Spider-Man origin story, as Kevin Feige later clarified & confirmed. But honestly? I don’t think a possible origin story is what really got Dockterman upset (emphasis mine):

After the latest Amazing Spider-Man movie delivered a comparatively underwhelming box office, Sony teamed up with Marvel Studios to reboot Spider-Man for the third time since 2002. Some fans speculated—dare we say, hoped—that the two studios might change things up by subbing out Peter Parker for Miles Morales, a character who has worn Spidey’s mask in the comic books but not yet on the big screen. Miles Morales is also the first black Spider-Man and would have added some welcome diversity to the Avengers team. (Fans nominated Donald Glover for the part.)

Let’s run down the diversity checklist in the upcoming Avengers sequel. So far we have Don Cheadle (Rhodey), Idris Elba (Heimdall) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) – on top of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who put the team together in the first place. Add that to Scarlett Johansson returning as Black Widow, Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and the addition of a new heroine – Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda.


But alas Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says they’re sticking with good 0l’ boring Peter Parker.

This risk-averse move is likely to elicit a groan from the Marvel fan base. Twice audiences have watched a radioactive spider bite Peter. Twice they have rooted for Peter to win the affections of a high school crush. Twice they’ve watched poor Uncle Ben die. There are only so many times even the most die-hard fans can suffer through the same origin story.

If by “elicit a groan from the Marvel fan base” she meant “Eliana Dockterman is mad, damnit!” then sure. Spider-fans who actually bothered to read the Feb. 9th press release knew that Marvel & Sony stated from the get-go that the rebooted Spidey would be Peter Parker:

“Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker’s story into the future,” added Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

Also – again I point out Feige confirming that the MCU Spidey will not come with an origin story.  Of course though… that isn’t really what Dockterman is upset about  (emphasis mine):

But Marvel studios has made some savvy moves lately, announcing their first feature films headlined by a female superhero, Captain Marvel, and a black superhero, Black Panther. Perhaps Marvel can heed Uncle Ben’s advice—”With great power comes great responsibility”—and think outside the box for the next Peter Parker, too.

But… but… she just spent the whole article telling us Peter Parker was boring and ranting about how Marvel was deciding to go with Peter Parker over Miles Morales! Oh, right – that wasn’t really what she was pissed about to begin with.

Heh. At least her tweet highlighting the article was a bit more upfront than the article’s headline at TIME.

–George Berryman! 

(29) Comments

  1. krankyboy

    Of course, nobody had a problem with Peter Parker (and thus, Spider-Man) just four or five years ago. He was considered one of the most popular heroes out there to which most people could relate. But then, Social Revenge Warriors like Miss Dockterman discovered the one thing about him that's unforgivable. And it's no secret what it is. Couldn't she just be honest and state "I hate Peter Parker because he's white" and be done with it?

  2. Ronny

    @ #23 #24 #25 It's my opinion that one should look at their own opinions objectively. So to be fair it's more than about just being "PC". It just doesn't look as much like a real world where all the main founders of all of these blockbuster movies aren't diverse. I'm sure if all of those characters today were just being made they would of made some of them diverse & possibly still the exact same character essentially. However, I do believe it's to late to just change the race now because it'll only be like saying "Ben Riley is the real Spider-man" & take more away from the character & hard to like and accept from any person of any race. Another problem that makes the first one worse is all characters that are not Caucasian are back up characters or B listers, save Nick Fury & they've changed the race of him & he's still background compared to the founder avengers in the movie. It's the same in FF, Spider-man, Batman, Superman(sort of) The jusctice League unless you recon whom the founders are & add Cyborg or use John Stewart GL then the get one & still no Asian or Hispanic characters. & again it's not about being "PC" and feeling sorry for some people & try to create someone who looks like them it's more like, "come on" the odds that in ever team of the biggest & best super heroes it's like that does produce a problem I won't deny. & cinematically it doesn't look or feel real without much more direct diversity...However as stated above post & here I don't think just changing the characters race now is the solution without it feeling cheap & that will only hold the character back. I think you can only solve this problem over time in ways maybe like my above post. (My own opinion on the matter anyway)

  3. George Berryman - Post author

    @25 - Note that I said "in the upcoming Avengers sequel," not "these Avengers." Though I do fully expect for Rhodey and the Falcon to be Avengers in the MCU at some point.

  4. Jason

    Let’s run down the diversity checklist in the upcoming Avengers sequel. So far we have Don Cheadle (Rhodey), Idris Elba (Heimdall) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) – on top of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who put the team together in the first place. Add that to Scarlett Johansson returning as Black Widow, Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and the addition of a new heroine – Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda. Other than Black Widow, I have no idea who any of these Avengers are.

  5. The Lament Beast

    Do these people even read the damn comics? Miles took up the mantle because he felt guilty for squandering his powers when Peter died. And let's be honest here, Miles is just too new of a character. He was trapped in Peter's shadow until recently. Hell, Miles' supporting cast was literally Peter's except for what? Ganke, Miles' parent and uncle? Maybe Judge? If they did make a Miles Morales Spider-man movie how would it be? Would it be based on the comics, limited as it is? Would Miles simply be Peter in everything but name and race, a new face on an old body? Or would it be an original story, treading into unknown, risky waters? Sure, I'll admit I was peeved on another reboot, but after watching the mess Sony made of the ASM series I'm all for Spidey coming home to Marvel. We may be walking on this well traveled path once again but this walk will be different. I want diversity in the MCU, I truly do, but not for the sake of diversity. I want Shang Chi fighting alongside Daredevil and Iron Fist, the Daughters of the Dragon starting up Heroes for Hire, and so on and so forth. And I want it to come to be as a result of an ever expanding universe, and not because of a supposed lack of representation. ~Lament~

  6. Magnetic Eye

    Eliana Dockterman is a culture and breaking news reporter for TIME in New York City. So what? It's too bad her pop culture research skills don't extend beyond tapping away at a keyboard looking at movie websites. She clearly has no idea about the rich history of the Peter Parker character from the original 616 mainstream universe. It's so much easier for her to jump on the SJW bandwagon than to actually do some real research. Marvel Studios don't need as Eliana puts it, (to think outside the box) when casting Peter Parker as Spider-Man. They are being true and faithful to the Spider-man mythos that has endured for five decades. Kevin Feige knows exactly what he is doing. Her opinions carry no weight or influence and all of this PC diversity (change the race of any character) is a load of BS. Marvel have always had an enormous stable of diverse characters.

  7. AmazingOSUman

    #9 -- As a general rule, I get tired of PC stuff pretty quickly (whether you choose to believe me is up to you), but I DO have a problem with using the word "retard" to mean "stupid." You COULD just say "stupid," you know. People with mental retardation issues have enough to deal with already, without the stupidity of average folks being added to their burden.

  8. Dr. Pooper

    Miles has only been around for 4 years. Peter Parker has been around for 53. Without Peter Parker, you wouldn't have Spider-Man. Screw the people that say stuff like this, you've barely scratched the surface of what you can do with Peter Parker on screen. Do you see people clamoring for anybody else to be Superman or Batman, why not? I don't get people wanting to give Peter the boot lately. He's what made me fall in love with comics in the first place. I like Miguel and Miles and SpOck and everybody else out there and whatnot, but you wouldn't have any of that without Peter and the decades of stories that have made the character popular.

  9. Al

    I think Miles works but for the same reason Miguel worked. He was the Spider-Man of his own space whilst the original was still around, unsupplanted. But if Miles had become THE Spider-Man people would've been pissed. And those who wouldn't have been because they knew it wouldn't last probably WOULD be if Miles was THE Spider-Man of the movies.

  10. Ronny

    I'm going to get right to the point here but still argue for both sides very briefly. Some characters I think are too iconic to be changed too much. Superman/Clark Kent, Batman/Bruce, Spider-man/Peter Parker. I only very vaguely care for Miles & that's just because I like the concept of his added powers of invisibility & venom blast. I do not like that he's not Peter or an off spring off peter. Which is the only time I can accept a copy or heir I don't think it should ever be done any other way personally. Peter Parker or an off spring of Peter's only should be Spider-man. Now if an off spring down the line had a mixed race child that would be cool (they could maybe even have added evolved powers) & maybe other heroes the same thing but don't ever do doubles or copies other wise. I personally do not even like when they do a she hulk, or a copy of ironman but watered down and not ironman. It just kills both characters to me. I do see Marvel's dilemma how the ff, avengers, xmen, s-man, etc, etc, etc all have their core characters not being so diverse just looks and feels weird and unreal in trying to make a cinematic world look & feel real. Ok yes we all think just make new characters but no one really wants a cheap new filler character added to any of the original history. That would still drag down the cannon continuity. Plus what cool, original powers are left really? Most of the characters they try to make to add a character of ethnic origin are a cheap knock off or have a default power set that someone else already has better. Storm, Asian Psylocke & Blade being the only exception I can think of off the top of my head. (luke cage has super strength & invulnerability, how original,) it's what holds him back you want to like him but...meh All that being said though I don't think you should change any of the most iconic characters looks or anything. Possibly some less iconic but even that I'd prefer just leave it and just maybe change a lot of this by mixed off spring for the future but I don't believe you can go backwords or should. It just takes away from the character and the race and everyone loses. (My opinion on such a heated & ugly debate)

  11. Mike

    #6 - I also think Peter should be Spidey's entrance into the MCU, and, like you, have no problem with Marvel casting a black Peter Parker. George, however, has railed against that in the recent past as well. Complaining about increased diversity in comic books is also getting old really fast.

  12. Frontier

    @#6 - Yeah, while I actually really like MIles, he doesn't have anywhere near the supporting cast, personal villains, and stories associated with him that Peter does. And of his supporting cast, there are a few strong original characters, but the majority are made up of Ultimate versions of classic characters. Compared to Peter, or even Miguel, he has a lot less to call his own aside aside from his costume, a few original supporting cast members, two (well, three now) new powers, and his race. There is nowhere near enough for them to adapt or work from with just Miles without having to use elements of Peter's story. I'd be perfectly fine with bringing Miles in eventually to take over for Peter in the movies and the MCU as a whole much later down the line, and they'll likely be a lot more Miles Morales stories having been told in 616 proper at that point, but I don't see how you could use him now without lifting a lot from Peter. Phantom Roxas has a point that, as a legacy hero of sorts, Miguel has a lot more to him as a character overall.

  13. Spider-Dad

    Simply put, having Spider-Man not be Peter Parker in the movies will be silly and poorly received by the mass audience. Alternative versions like Miles Morales may play well in the relatively small fanbase of active comic readers, (also enjoyed by this reader), but the bottom line it is bad business. Peter Parker is Spider-Man and has been for 50+ years. Sure, there have been others that have taken the mantle like Ben, Miguel and Miles, but the masses are not aware/care and these alternate versions have never been extremely popular even in comic circles. Has the Mile Morales version of Spider-Man ever been the number #1 Marvel book? Has it ever outsold Amazing for even a single month? Not only is Marvel staying true to the original character, but is good business. Lastly I completely disagree with the writers assertion that changing the original character's race or gender is thinking outside of the box. It is creatively lazy. Anyone can take an existing character and change them to something else. Peter Parker is now Patty Parker, Batman is not a moody rich white guy, but a moody rich Cuban immigrant bent on stopping Fidel Castro. It is easy to do, but change for the sake of change is not necessarily better or creative. I applaud Marvel for bringing in Spider-Man into the MCU. I applaud there will not be another origin movie. However, I am concerned this version appears to be a teenager instead of a college aged man. I think this will bring in more confusion for those who closely or casually engage in the movies. I urge Marvel to reconsider and keep Peter a college aged student. I think it will make more sense to all the fans of the various movie franchises...

  14. Al

    I have a feeling she’d change her tune if it was Peter Parker but he happened to be played by a black actor. Suddenly she wouldn’t think he is boring?

  15. Spider-Matt

    I have no problem with Miles, but I feel like he's a legacy character, and therefore needs a character to follow, and live up to. So do Peter, and then Miles in the future maybe. Peter Parker is an iconic character, and it would be amazing to see him be in this universe. It would be like if they chose to make Dick Grayson the Batman in the DCCU because he's younger and hipper than old, crusty Bruce Wayne who's had like three reboots. We've seen the Wayne's get murdered how many times now? It would feel weird if I saw Dick Grayson Batman standing beside Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League, just as it would be weird to see Miles stand beside the MCU's heroes, without Peter ever being there

  16. Phantom Roxas

    I'm all for diversity, but I would have vastly preferred Miguel, because at least he's a character in his own right, while Miles is nothing to me beyond a replacement for Peter. He'd be used not for the sake of a unique story, but for the sole purpose of him not being Peter. Also, apparently Avengers doesn't count because if you look at the solo films, it's still a bunch of white guys, three of whom are named Chris.

  17. crime master

    I'm all for giving Morales a film, and I'm sure we're going to be getting that eventually... but frankly, if Peter didn't appear at all in the MCU, I would be PISSED! As would any actual Spider-Man fan. I hope they set up Miles a little in the Parker movies though, like he could play a supporting role in some capacity, setting up his introduction as the second Spidey of the MCU.

  18. sthenurus

    Honestly I agree with her. If they went for a 20 ish Spidey I would have welcomed peter with open arm. But another iteration of teenage peter parker? When he is portrayed as a man child in his own book? I'd rather have an actual teen be in there. Especially since knowing marvel brand synergy habit, they will prolly make peter even more of a retard in comics to match the movie.

  19. jack

    Social Justice Warriors, to arms! Time to be ignorantly outraged together over... Wait, what exactly?

  20. Al

    I am so sick of this. I respect Miles and his fans but if you were seriously entertaining the possibility it’d be Miles you were deluding yourselves...especially since in the opening annuoncment it was STATED it’d be Peter! And I am also appalled that so many fans and observers not only slap the label of ‘boring’ onto Peter Parker, but worse now consider him ‘optional’ to be Spider-Man. Spider-Man isn’t a guy with webs and spandex. You need the specifics of Peter Parker’s character and life to bring that character to life. you do a Miles Morales franchise sooner or later you’re going to draw upon Peter Parker stories as an influence, which you SHOULD do because there are more and they’ve stood the test of time. at that point just DO a Peter Parker movie, and if you really want diversity, cast a non-white actor for the role. But don’t do a PP movie and call the character Miles Morales. It’s insulting to fans of both characters.

  21. Doc Wyoming

    Really, it's OK that a superhero based on a brilliant, Nerdy teenager who gets bit by a spider at a science exhibition be a caucasian. I know we live in a PC world now, but it's OK for Peter to be white.

  22. James Deen

    What an idiot writer, just another excuse to hate on Peter Parker, Miles Morales is boring get over it.

  23. Max

    Just another dumbass who doesn't know the comics at all. Seriously, if someone as "reputable" as TIME magazine wants to do an article on comic related topics, get someone who's actually read the comics, let alone knows them. I'd be happy to oblige them, in the very distant chance they ask. But this is just stupid. Peter Parker is white, and that's how he's going to be... For now, of course. I, for one, would not mind seeing Miles take the mantle up on screen. George, you hit the nail right on the head as far as diversity goes. The MCU is perfectly diverse. They want hispanic super heroes, get White Tiger; they want Japanese, get Sunfire. Enough of changing races. People don't realize just how diverse the Marvel Universe is, and it doesn't require changing races for films.

  24. hornacek

    Yep, that's right, " good ol’ boring Peter Parker." Seriously, has this writer read any Spider-Man comics? It seems pretty obvious that the sum total of their Spidey knowledge comes from the 3 Raimi films and the 2 Webb films. The quotes reads like they think that Peter was replaced in the comics years ago by Miles and that there currently is no Peter in the comics and that the movies are clinging to a character that no longer exists. Do some research!

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