The debate over equality in cinema continues onward, but better representation is starting to take shape in the realm of animated features. On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson confirmed at a slate presentation that Sony’s upcoming animated take on Spider-Man, an upcoming film still untitled, will be headlined by Miles Morales. This confirmation comes after much speculation and rumor. Notably, the character of Morales is both black and Hispanic – a stark divide from the lily white live-action Spider-Mans that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and now, Tom Holland have portrayed on film.
Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie and the upcoming Han Solo prequel project) wrote the film and serves as executive producer on the animated feature along with writing and directing partner Christopher Miller while Bob Persichetti (writer of The Little Prince) and Peter Ramsey (Rise of the Guardians) direct the feature which is set to hit theaters on December 21, 2018. “What inspired us the most is that anyone can wear the mask. You can be any race, creed or color,” stated Lord and Miller in a pre-recorded segment at the Sony Pictures Animation presentation.
The character of Miles Morales was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli and first introduced as part of the Ultimate Marvel imprint back in 2011 – the character was, at least in part, a reaction to Barack Obama, the first African-American U.S. president. In graphic novel form, Morales took over as Spider-Man following the death of Peter Parker. While the Ultimate Marvel imprint officially ended in 2015, Morales was brought aboard into the frame of the Marvel Universe. The animated feature would mark the character’s debut for film, which he has been an animated mainstay for some time in Disney XD’s series Ultimate Spider-Man, where the character is voiced by Donald Glover (who coincidentally has a role in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming).