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Leaked SONY Emails Detail What Spider-Man Can (And Can’t) Be In Films!

Spider-Men

Lately we have seen a number of changes with characters in the Marvel Universe.  Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) is set to be played by an African-American in the upcoming Fantastic Four release.  Thor is now the female Jane Foster.  Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teenager from New Jersey.  Bobby Drake (Iceman) from the X-Men is homosexual.  Whether for incorporating more diversity in comics or for giving a new spin on classic characters, these changes can have beneficial and detrimental results.  Regardless, it appears that Marvel is dead set on how they wish Peter Parker/Spider-Man to be portrayed… straight and white.

In newly leaked documents from Wikileaks, we are made privy to an agreement established by Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio that currently owns the rights to Spider-Man for movies.  A licensing agreement was created between the two entities in September 2011.  In the agreement, Marvel stated mandatory character traits for the web-slinger in future films.  They are as follows regarding Peter Parker/Spider-Man:

  • Must be male
  • Full name is to be Peter Benjamin Parker
  • Must be Caucasian
  • Must be heterosexual (unless Marvel changes his sexual orientation at any point)
  • Cannot smoke tobacco
  • Cannot sell/distribute illegal drugs
  • Cannot abuse alcohol
  • Cannot have sex before the age of 16
  • Cannot have sex with someone younger than 16
  • Must not use foul language beyond what is considered PG-13
  • Must not torture
  • Must not kill in defense of himself or others
  • His parents become absent from his life at some point during his childhood
  • Upon losing his parents, Peter was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City, NY
  • He must gain his powers in either middle school or college
  • He attends, or had attended, high school in Queens, NY
  • He attends, or has attended, college in New York City, NY
  • He is to be raised in a middle class household in New York City, NY
  • His powers and abilities are gained from being bit by a spider
  • He created the iconic red and blue costume/outfit for Spider-Man
  • The black costume/outfit is a symbiote and NOT created by Parker
SM1
Art by: Mark Bagley

Wow!  That is fairly descriptive.  Seeing these mandatory character traits for ol’ webhead makes it pretty obvious that Marvel is not going to budge when it comes to Peter Parker (and his Spider-Man).  Fortunately there are many spider-people in the MCU, whether in regular continuity or alternate universes.  Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, Mattie Franklin, Charlotte Witter, Veranke, Mary Jane Watson), Spider-Girl (May Parker, Anya Corazon, Penelope Parker), Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy), Spider-Punk (Hobart Brown), Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara), Spider-UK (Billy Braddock), Old Man Spider (Ezekiel Sims), and Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham (kind of a reach, I know).  Heck, many characters briefly masqueraded as Spider-Man over the years: Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Chameleon, and even Deadpool!

The Spider-Verse
The Spider-Verse by: Dell ‘Otto

Given there are so many options in the Spider-Verse, if Sony wishes to not feel so constricted by Marvel’s demands on their popular character, they should have no problem whatsoever expanding the cinematic universe with different iterations of the superhero.  What are your thoughts?  Is Marvel being too restrictive with Peter Parker?  Is the comics giant perfectly just in establishing such traits for this character?  Let’s hear your thoughts/opinions in the comment section!

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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