‘Across the Spider-Verse’ Owes Its Success to Donald Glover

in Marvel

Miles Morales running in 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is one of the biggest animated films of 2023 and the second-best performing Spider-Man movie, and it owes its success-and its existence-to a joke on a TV show from 2010.

Back when it was first announced that Spider-Man was receiving a reboot in the form of The Amazing Spider-Man, there was a lot of speculation as to who would be the one to take up the mantel, the mask, and the Spidey-senses. Community star Donald Glover (aka artist Childish Gambino) had made his interest known from the start and ended up getting several fans on board with the idea of the first non-white Spider-Man. It gained so much popularity it spawned a hashtag, #donald4spiderman, and was even referenced in the Season 2 premiere of Community.

Donald Glover as Lando
Credit: Lucasfilm

In one scene, Glover’s character is shown wearing Spider-Man pajamas, adding fuel to the rumors that he was being considered but also facing the beginnings of “woke” backlash. Although Andrew Garfield was ultimately cast as Peter Parker, Glover did end up changing history. Brian Michael Bendis was a writer for the Ultimate Spider-Man run during that time. After watching the episode of Community featuring Glover wearing the pajamas, he was inspired to create the first African-American Spider-Man.

Donald Glover in 'Community,' shown wearing Spider-Man pajamas
Credit: Sony Pictures

Miles Morales made his first appearance in Marvel Comics in 2011, appearing in Ultimate Fallout #4 and eventually received his own animated series, Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, in which he was voiced by Glover. In 2017, the MCU’s Spider-Man debuted with Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Glover was once again involved. This time, however, he played Miles’ uncle, a very early hint at things to come.

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Spider-People in the international poster for 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' (2023)
Credit: Sony Pictures Animation/Marvel

All this led to 2018, when Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released, to much fan excitement. The film was highly praised for its innovative animation styles and set the stage for a new wave of animation to eventually follow. Now, Across the Spider-Verse boasts the highest opening weekend for 2023, is already being eyed for various nominations, and has continued to make waves in the realm of animation. Both versions of Sony’s Spider-Men as well as Marvel’s made cameos in the film and it’s just recently been confirmed that Miles Morales will be getting a live-action film.

Miles Morales Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse Spider-Sense
Credit: Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment

Miles has paved the way for a new generation and a new audience of Spider-Man fans and the Spider-Verse movies have revolutionized animation and the film industry. And it’s literally all due to a joke on a TV show in 2010 and Donald Glover’s desire to play Spider-Man.

Which Spider-Man is your favorite? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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