News of Donald Glover joining the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming can really only mean one thing. Glover is almost certainly playing Marvel comic-book favorite Miles Morarles, which, if you follow a certain kind of logic, probably means the brand-new shiny version of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) we met in Captain America: Civil War will die in his first standalone movie.
To be clear, this is not a “real” rumor, but instead, potentially the source of a new rumor. This is speculation. Sherlock Holmes said, “You know my method. It is founded on the observation of trifles.” The trifles in this case are numerous. First, the historical fact that Donald Glover has petitioned to play Spider-Man before must mean something. Add to that the fact he’s already voiced of Miles Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. First supposition complete: Donald Glover will certainly be playing Miles Morales. Seriously, why else do you cast him? For some other random character? That seems weird.
Next up: if Glover is playing Miles Morales, one could conservatively argue that doesn’t mean this version of Miles Morales will become Spider-Man in Homecoming, particularly because we’ve already got a Peter Parker Spider-Man in the form of Tom Holland. The MCU went out of its way to establish this new Peter Parker in Civil War, so there’s no way they’re not going to use him for a bunch of movies. Right?
This is the conventional wisdom. Donald Glover’s Miles Morales will be introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming to tease at the eventual possibility that he could become Spider-Man, following Peter’s death. But, we’ll have to wait several years after that to see Miles Morales take up the mantle of Spider-Man. The MCU isn’t going to unravel its spider-wad all at once.
Except, they really might. Interviews with Joe and Anthony Russo – directors on Civil War – revealed they’d originally envisioned this recent Captain America movie being more of a “Captain America 3” and didn’t think they’d get to the Civil War story until a later film.
But, in developing the film and in getting Robert Downey Jr. on board, they changed their minds. In other interviews, co-screenwriter Stephen McFeely said, that their Spider-Man also has the advantage of the five other Spider-Man movies that have come before, regardless of those films technically not being in the same continuity. Meaning, all of these writers and directors don’t want to just do what’s been done before. It seems like the new MCU is taking the existing zeitgeist’s general notion of the Peter Parker continuity as a given. They’re not going to explain it too much, which means, there’s every reason to believe they’ll do something different in Homecoming.
Finally – and this is hardly a trifle – the MCU bosses must be aware that racial diversity is a priority. After whitewashing the character of Ganke there’s no way the MCU can relegate Donald Glover’s character to the role of Peter Parker’s “black friend.” To do so would be insulting, and I don’t think the minds behind the MCU are that stupid. Instead, the casting of Donald Glover indicates a course-correction in the mythos of this new movie Spider-Man. And as in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics continuity, Peter Parker will die in this new movie and Miles Morales will become your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It will be tragic because Tom Holland is adorable, which is another reason why the writers will do it. Tug at our heartstrings!
But ultimately, Peter Parker’s cinematic death will be triumphant, because the entire world will get something we’ve never had: a person of color playing possibly one of the most famous and beloved superheroes of all time.