Back in 2011 when the Ultimate Marvel Universe was still a thing, writer Brian Michael Bendis made a bold decision and decided to kill that version of Peter Parker. Instead of continuing on a world without the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Bendis alongside artist Sara Pichelli introduced a new and original Spider-Man in the form of Afro-latino teenager Miles Morales. With a completely different backstory, similar but different powers, and an inherited rogues gallery, Miles struggled not only with the balance act of real life with superhero problems but he also did his best to carry on Peter’s legacy. Miles would work alongside all sorts of Marvel characters and when the Ultimate Universe ended in 2015’s Secret Wars, Miles and most of his supporting cast were among the handful of Ultimate characters to be incorporated into the mainstream Marvel Universe. Since his initial debut, Miles Morales has been one of the more successful fan favorite Marvel characters and has been a member of the New Ultimates, the Avengers, and currently the Champions. He previously was featured in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, later renamed as Spider-Man: Web Warriors voiced by actor Donald Glover who had been among one of the inspirations for the character. When Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was announced in 2017, its teaser trailer was enough to really excite fans of all genres with its story and colorful animation. A second and more detailed trailer debuted today and after watching it, I have to say without a doubt THAT I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT FOR THIS FILM TO DEBUT IN DECEMBER 2018.
First and foremost, the style for this movie looks absolutely amazing. Splattered with comic book style thought bubbles, periods, and sound effects that bring memories of the Sixties Batman and the Golden Age of Comics, producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanted to balance the comic book style with the realistic artwork of Miles’ co-creator Sara Pichelli. Not only are they producing the film but Phil Lord also wrote the screenplay so the duo’s previous success with The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs only adds to the excitement for their brand of silly but grounded humor and what they can bring to the story of Miles Morales. Speaking of worlds, we get to see a Spider-Man who is not Caucasian but a bi-racial child on the big screen. With that new identity, the movie could touch on subjects of race, identity, prejudice, and other sensitive issues that Peter Parker can’t address but that the comics had no problem addressing during its publication. Miles isn’t Peter Parker and with his father a police officer and his uncle Aaron Davis, a skilled thief known also as the Prowler, you can guarantee there will be the kind of inner turmoil and struggle we know all too well from anybody wearing a web themed costume. When worlds collide, we also see a version of Spider-Man that we’ve yet to see but is hilariously realistic. Peter Parker voiced actor and comedian Jake Johnson is an older and slightly less put together Spider-Man who can impart words of wisdom but has problem paying for the check when it comes. This relationship clearly is inspired by the 2012 mini-series Spider-Men where Miles met the mainstream Peter Parker and the older Spider-Man hilarious became a sort of mentor to the young webslinger, even imparting his own web wisdom whenever he deemed necessary even when Miles didn’t get the reference. Chris Lord has shown he clearly did his homework for there are so many references to pick up on in the trailer alone whether it’s the store bought Spider-Man outfit Miles trains in, the Ultimate Universe inspired Green Goblin, or even the reference that Miles is from a world where Peter Parker’s Spider-Man is dead do exactly what Easter eggs should do: they excite you enough to go see the movie when it debuts.
But the really exciting thing is something the title suggests. Edge of the Spider-Verse was a small mini-series tied into the 2012 Spider-Verse story-line which introduced Spider-Men (and Women, anthromorphic animals, and other similarly powered individuals) who would have a role to play in the Spider’s united battle against the Inheritors, a family of powerful creatures who survive by feeding on people who carried “the Spider-Totem”. It was in this series that Spider-Gwen, a Spider-Woman from an Earth where Gwen Stacey had inherited the Spider mantle, was introduced so it’s fitting that Gwen make a cameo at the end of this trailer voiced by Pitch Perfect’s Hailee Steinfeld.
Gwen’s introduction in 2014 was so successful that she earned herself a solo series, appearances on Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man, and will be featured as “Ghost Spider” in the upcoming Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Her presence in the movie plus Peter’s appearance in Miles’ world suggests that there could be more Spider-people in this film and the possibilities for who we might see as well could be its own separate article. Personally I’m hoping to see two of my favorite Spider-Men, Miguel O’Hara from the year 2099 and Peter Parker from the Marvel Noir universe, make a cameo but honestly any webhead shown will get the same excitement I had when Spider-Man worked alongside his multiversal compatriots in the Animated Series finale back in the Nineties. For now some people would be hesitant putting their faith in a Spider-themed film coming from Sony but with the momentum this film has been building with its cast, publicity and people involved, I think this film will not only be a greater introduction of Miles Morales to the world but also push the boundaries of what Marvel could do with animated films based on their characters. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it at the next big Comic Con.