Sony’s and Marvel’s Peter Parker Must be White and Straight

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d10d17b73e809b172f16a9a4337f3fc568bef111Well here’s something super progressive.

According to a leaked agreement between the Sony and Marvel studios that share film rights for the Spider-Man franchise, the Spider-Man character and his alter ego Peter Parker can only be portrayed under the strictest terms.  Most of these terms are par for the course for Marvel films, which have historically frowned upon portraying their characters killing for fun or expressing pedophilic desires.  However, in addition to these stipulations, there are some other interesting ones in the contract.  Notably the last one in this excerpt.

 

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So.  Spider-Man can’t be gay unless his alter-ego is gay?  Okay….what are the stipulations to Peter’s character, then? 

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So Peter Parker cannot be poor, must be white, and…must be straight.  Great.

When Gawker broke the story, they indicated that the contract between Sony and Marvel forbid Spider-Man from being any race except Caucasian and from expressing same-sex desires.  That is not true.  Peter Parker must be white and straight.  Then again, I highly doubt that Marvel or Sony would make a Spider-Man film using another alter-ego such as the black Miles Morales out of fear of confusing the general audience who only knows Spider-Man as Peter Parker.  Thus, while Gawker did sensationalize their claim to some extent, closing the opportunity for a studio to change Peter’s race or sexuality is tantamount to ensuring that we do not end up with a movie featuring a black or gay Spider-Man.

In the past, Marvel has demonstrated that they are willing to race-bend characters such as the traditionally white Nick Fury.  At the time, it was heralded as a great movie for representation in the predominantly white Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, Nick Fury was, up until recently, never really considered an A-list hero, thus minimizing Marvel’s risk.  It’s unfortunate that film studios still appear to be unwilling to take the plunge and truly commit to creating a more diverse looking cinematic landscape.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I find it interesting that they insist Peter was raised in a ‘middle class household’ now, as Aunt May’s financial struggles were a long-time motivating factor for Peter to take up freelance photography and contribute to the home’s financial support. And, given our modern age’s increased economic disparity, I would better expect stereotypical Peter to be raised in a struggling lower-class household instead. But I suppose Spider-Man is fiction, after all.

  2. I don’t see what the story is here. “Peter Parker must stay the character he’s been for 50 years,” isn’t that outlandish of an edict.

    PS: I always thought he’s raised on the lower end of middle class, until Uncle Ben dies, then Aunt May struggles.

  3. Yeah, this was another non-story Gawker wanted to use for hype.

    And I agree, I always viewed Peter was lower-middle class. Uncle Ben’s death obviously triggered financial problems, but I didn’t consider him RAISED as lower class.

  4. Headlines that would have made just as much sense:

    “Spider-Man Can’t Be More Than A Casual Social Drinker or Have His First Costume Professionally Tailored”
    “Spider-Man Can’t Be A Woman or Have Been Raised By His Grandpa”
    “Spider-Man Can’t Be Raised In West Bend, Indiana or Have Steve As His Middle Name”

    Gawker naturally cherry picked the “heterosexual” and “Caucasian” parts out of the long list of established traits and focused on those in an attempt to dishonestly make Marvel seem racist and homophobic, because that’s the kind of thing that lying clickbait peddlers do.

  5. Previous commenters have hit it fairly well, movie Spider-Man must be portrayed like the character he is based on. Spidey is a cultural icon as he is. Glad I didn’t catch the Gawker exploit on this non-issue issue. Also, Nick Fury being portrayed by Samuel Jackson was no “risk” for Marvel. He and most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is based on the “Ultimates” comic book universe, and the artist(‘s) in those comics portrayed Nick Fury as a black male looking as much like Samuel Jackson as their artistic talents would allow. All of us Marvel geeks already knew Ultimate Nick Fury is Samuel Jackson and probably would have been let-down if any other actor had been cast in that role.

  6. Can we stop the idea of “Let’s take this existing character that has been popular for so many years and change them into something completely different”? Create a new character. Quit picking and choosing existing characters with the intent of changing them to fit the whims of people who write for the internet.

  7. Marvel Comics has plenty of diversity and you would know that Alexander Yu, if you took the time to look. Sunfire is Japanese, Colossal is Russian, Power Man is Black, White Tiger is Hispanic, The Black Panther is Black, Storm is Black, the Blue Marvel is Black. The Falcon is Black just to name a few. The more popular characters shouldn’t be fundamentally changed from their origin simply to make minorities, or the Left, feel better. The people who followed comics as kids grew up with these characters the way they are. It’s bad enough the Hollywood Left see fit to alter the characters origins or stories because they think they can do a better job.

  8. Very disappointing. For years I’ve been hoping against hope that they would finally make a Spider-Man movie where he would “sell / distribute illegal drugs” but now I see those closed minds of Hollywood will never change.

  9. Anybody who wants to see how cool Spiderman could really be, without all this studio political correctness, need but go to You Tube and type in “Turkish Spiderman”.

    Frankly, I turned off the one before last, because it was sooo boring and then I didn’t even bother see the last one but I can honestly say that if in the next one, Spiderman was female, hard drinking, hard smoking, gay, killing & torturing people, having sex with minors and using foul language, I would absolutely go back to check it out.

  10. As someone who identifies with the left and with liberal ideologies, I would agree with the stipulations that Sony gave Marvel. While I believe that there needs to be more representation of minorities in comic books and the movies that go along with them, I believe that they should be new characters, such as is the case of Miles Morales as the first Black Spiderman or Falcon as the First Black Captain America. Even the new Thor isn’t “Thor transformed into a woman”, it’s a new character who becomes worthy to have the title of Thor. Changing Peter Parkers race, gender, or sexual orientation would fundamentally change the iconic character many are familiar with, whereas having a black Spiderman (Miles Morales), a Hispanic Spiderman (Spiderman 2099) or even Spider-Girl (the daughter of Peter Parker and MJ I believe, a character whose story I loved) helps to add representation to that character Spiderman without changing the character or story of Peter Parker as an individual. We have the potential to simultaneously expand the Marvel Universe AND give great minority representation if we can develop new characters to add into the mix instead of trying to completely change the old ones. I am sure that there are some who may disagree with me, and this is entirely my opinion on the matter, but I feel that it has some merit.

  11. Peter Parker/Spiderman was invented as Sony’s email’s stated, but that doesn’t mean it has to stick to the many aspects of the original character. I wouldn’t be mad about a Star Wars remake with a Native American Luke Skywalker. Stop being babies.

  12. I agree with you, Ram. Comic book characters are being rebooted all the time now. Change to race, sexuality, or sex is no different than changing an origin story. Comic book movies and TV shows are never fully faithful to the original conception of the character. I don’t always like the changes, but I’m open to seeing what they’ve got. For me, the main point is that Sony is creating racist. Notice there are no restrictions to Peter being any nationality, or from any planet. Or to Peter being of any profession, or any particular personality attribute, other than moral (he could be a rageoholic, or a business mogul, or whatever). He can be a woman named Peter. He could be transgender. He anything, as long as he is WHITE. They slipped in the tiny caveat about homosexuality, yes. But the point is that Peter could be a female crystal-ball reading three-armed half-snake with a hundred other different personality attributes that would change Peter’s character more fundamentally than the stupid color of his skin, people. Sony would be fine with that. But being BLACK. Well, now…that’s just beyond the pale. That’s into the realm of the unacceptable. I’m not saying anyone would, or should, try these changes. But out of the millions of changes that could be made to Peter’s character, that one is restricted?! Come on…

  13. Ram, thanks for calling people names, that really helps your argument. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean everyone else has to have it, and it doesn’t make them babies either.

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