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This question stems from the recent controversy over the new choice of Spider-Man for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are people who claimed it was unfair that they chose another white Spider-Man (Peter Parker), instead of the newer mixed-race Spider-Man (Miles Morales), while older fans or "purists" contend that Spider-Man should be portrayed as he originally was, as Peter Parker, and not the newer version.

As such, are there any rules about what Spider-Man must look like that must be adhered to in films?

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    Himarm: Feel free to hit me up in chat next week if you want to take another stab at this. I think there's a question along these lines that'll work here. – user1027 Jul 1 '15 at 20:33
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    @DVK - Would you like me to reopen it so you can all vote to close it for a different reason? – Valorum Jul 1 '15 at 23:24
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    @Richard - theoretically, yes. Practically, probably not worth the effort. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 2 '15 at 0:17
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    @DVK - My thoughts precisely. – Valorum Jul 2 '15 at 0:26
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    @DVK the original version and the comments which someone nuked (thanks, richard) made the question overly ambiguous and undefined at the time. In its current state, it's no longer unclear. – phantom42 Jul 2 '15 at 11:39
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This article claims that when Sony Pictures attempted to reboot the Spider-Man franchise in 2011, Marvel gave them a list of rules about how both Spider-Man and Peter Parker should be depicted on screen. These rules are;

Spider-Man

  • Male
  • Does not torture
  • Does not kill unless in defense of self or others
  • Does not use foul language beyond PG-13
  • Does not smoke tobacco
  • Does not sell/distribute illegal drugs
  • Does not abuse alcohol
  • Does not have sex before the age of 16, does not have sex with anyone below the age of 16
  • Not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual)

Peter Parker

  • His full name is Peter Benjamin Parker
  • He is Caucasion and heterosexual
  • His parents become absent from his life during his childhood
  • From the time his parents become absent he is raised by Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City
  • He gains his powers while attending either middle school or college
  • He gains his powers from being bitten by a spider
  • He designs his first red and blue constume
  • His black costume is a symbiote and is not designed by him
  • He is raised in a middle class household in Queens, New York
  • He attends or attended high school in Queens, New York, or he attends or attended college in Queens, New York

These list of rules show a number of things about what both Spider-Man and Peter Parker must look like, namely that Spider-Man does not have to be Peter Parker (but he does have to be male), and that Spider-Man can be any ethnicity (but Peter Parker must be white).

So in short - yes, Spider-Man does have certain rules about how he must be depicted in film, but these rules do not extended to the ethnicity of the character unless he is Peter Parker. According to these rules, Marvel Studios could have chosen to use Miles Morales as their version of Spider-Man if they had wanted to.

  • Just to clarify: I asume that Sony could not have chosen Miles Morales as their Spider-Man because they didn't get the rights to use him, but are you sure they could have made some other, original character Spider-Man, or did Marvel explicitly require that Spider-Man's alter-ego be Peter Parker? – KutuluMike Jul 10 '15 at 13:31
  • @MichaelEdenfield The fact that the rules define Spider-Man and Peter Parker seperately seems to imply that Sony Pictures could have made up a new alter ego for Spider-Man if they had wanted to, but he would have to be a male, and straight unless they were adapting a gay alter ego of Spider-Man from the comics. I'm not sure how the rights around Miles Morales as a character would work - he is classed as a Spider-Man property, but did not exist when the deal for Spider-Man was made. I assume that Marvel Studios can use Miles Morales, but not as a version of Spider-Man. – Dr R Dizzle Jul 10 '15 at 13:52
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    This is exactly what i was looking for and the original intent of my question, thanks for clarifying and answering. – Himarm Jul 13 '15 at 13:14
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    "He gains his powers while attending either middle school or college" - What about high school? – Rogue Jedi Sep 18 '15 at 14:20
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    @DrRDizzle Not in America. Middle school is generally 6th to 8th grade. High school is generally 9th to 12th grade (It is called middle school because it is between elementary and high school). Peter is in high school in The Amazing Spiderman and graduates high school in the sequel. – Rogue Jedi Sep 18 '15 at 14:25

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