How Marvel’s Spider-Man Created a New Version of Miles Morales

Miles Morales returns in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but the PS5 game features a different version of the character than you may know from the Marvel comics.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The reveal of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales arguably stole the show during a loaded PS5 digital event. Not only was the game’s debut trailer expertly crafted and stunningly beautiful, but given the success and quality of developer Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4, it was inevitable that Sony’s next trip into the Spider-Man universe would generate quite a bit of hype. 

With Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales set up as a standalone game, we imagine many fans may be wondering what’s next for Miles Morales and how the Insomniac Games’ version of the character differs from other takes on the iconic hero that we’ve seen in other mediums.

If you’re wondering how soon-to-be PlayStation 5 star Miles Morales compares and differs to other versions of the character, we’re here to help make a little sense of not only who Miles Morales is but where he is going in the next Insomniac Games Spider-Man adventure. 

What is Miles Morales’ Origin Story in Marvel’s Spider-Man?

The first time we see Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man, he’s recording a battle between Peter Parker’s Spider-Man and the criminal organization known as the Inner Demons. He’s clearly portrayed as a student, but the game doesn’t share much information regarding the specifics of his situation at that time.

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Not long after that scene, players actually get to control Miles as he navigates the aftermath of a shocking attack orchestrated by the Inner Demons. It is then that Miles discovers that his father, a police officer named Jefferson Davis, has been killed during the Inner Demons’ assault. Miles also finds his mother, Rio Morales, in the rubble, but she is still alive. 

At his father’s funeral, Miles meets Peter Parker for the first time. The two don’t get along right away (due largely to Miles’ overwhelming grief), but Aunt May suggests that Peter contact Rio Morales so that they can help convince Miles to come work at the F.E.A.S.T. shelter that May helps run. 

Later in the game, the F.E.A.S.T. shelter is set on fire by a group of convicts who escaped Rikers Island during a mass outbreak. Miles is rescued by Spider-Man, though he and Mary Jane soon return the favor by lending Parker a helping hand. Miles later assists Parker again by sharing information related to the location of Rhino and Scorpion. 

Near the end of the game, we finally see Miles Morales get his powers when he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider that has escaped from the Oscorp labs. During a credits sequence, Miles reveals his recently acquired powers to Parker who, in turn, confirms to Miles that he is, in fact, Spider-Man. 

While that scene ends Miles Morales’ story in the base version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, we do see a little more of him in the game’s The City That Never Sleeps expansion DLC. 

It is there that we find Miles trying to convince Peter Parker to train him. Parker is initially hesitant as he feels that Miles may be happier trying to live a “normal” life, but Paker soon learns that Miles has already started accidentally using his powers in public. Fearing what may happen if he doesn’t learn to control them, Peter agrees to start training Miles in a few of the basics.

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Miles then tries to encourage Peter Parker to let him start using his powers to help people. Again, Parker tries to prevent Miles from pursuing that path, but after Miles injures himself when trying to test the extent of his powers, Parker realizes that it’s time to teach Miles some of the responsibility that comes along with his great powers. 

The last time we see Miles, Peter Paker is trying to teach him to properly web swing. 

What is Miles Morales’ Comic Book Origin Story?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who understand the basic workings of a comic book multiverse, but Miles Morales’ comic book origin story is a bit fractured and complicated. Miles Morales first appeared in Marvel’s alternate universe Ultimate Comics imprint and was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.

One night, Morales’ uncle, Aaron Davis, a.k.a. The Prowler, steals a formula from Oscorp and accidentally takes a spider similar to the one that bit Peter Parker with him. Miles Morales is bitten by that spider and acquires the powers of Spider-Man.

Then, when the Ultimate version of Peter Parker is killed by Green Goblin, Miles Morales is inspired to use his newfound abilities to replace the webslinger and fulfill his heroic duties. Suffice it to say, he soon encounters an epic learning curve. Challenges aside, Morales eventually proves to be a hero worthy of the Spider-Man lineage and learns to serve the Ultimate universe well in that capacity.

That is until the Ultimate universe came crashing down as part of the 2015 Secret Wars crossover storyline that completely restructured Marvel’s multiverse. The events of that storyline see Miles Morales finally meet the mainline, Earth-616 version of Peter Parker. It’s also the storyline in which Molecule Man thanks Mile Morales for his assistance by restoring Earth-616 and inserting Miles Morales (and his family) into that universe. At first, Miles Morales and his family have no recollection of their time in the Ultimate universe, but that soon changes. 

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Miles Morales’ trip to Earth-616 also means that he and the main Peter Parker not only exist in the same universe but both have the powers of Spider-Man. In order to take advantage of this unique scenario, Parker and Morales eventually agree to split their duties, with Parker serving more global interests and Morales primarily focusing on NYC. 

Is the Marvel’s Spider-Man Version of Miles Morales Canonical?

As you can clearly see, the origin story of Miles Morales in Insomniac’s game is different from the origin of the Miles Morales character in the comics. As such, you may be wondering which is canonical. The short (if complicated) answer to that question is that they’re both technically canonical.

Basically, developer Insomniac Games was granted permission by Marvel to tell a Spider-Man story of the studio’s own design. The team was not required to strictly adhere to an existing version of the character in either the MCU or Marvel Comics. However, there was some debate at the time of the game’s release regarding how, exactly, the Insomniac Games Spider-Man (and Miles Morales, for that matter) fit into the Marvel universe.

That debate was settled during the 2018 Spider-Geddon comic book storyline which saw various versions of Spider-Man join forces. The Insomniac Games version of Spider-Man appeared as one of the versions of the hero in that storyline, which solidified him as an official member of the Spider-Man multiverse. For the record, the Insomniac Games’ version of Spider-Man inhabits the Earth-1048 universe in the Marvel canon.

What about Miles Morales, though? Well, he lives in the same Earth-1048 universe. That means that he’s not the Miles Morales who began in the Ultimate universe and now lives on Earth-616. That also means that he’s not bound by the same plot points and character developments that define the character in the comics. 

What’s Next for Miles in Spider-Man: Miles Morales?

Insomniac Games’ Miles Morales differs from the other versions of Miles Morales in a few ways, but the one that potentially matters most is that his journey is defined by his father being murdered by the Inner Demons. 

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The ending of Marvel’s Spider-Man suggests that members of the Inner Demons still roam the streets of the Earth-1048 version of NYC. On top of that, we catch brief glimpses of what could be Inner Demons members in the debut trailer for the upcoming PS5 game, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Our best guess at the moment is that Miles’ PS5 adventure will begin with him still training to become Spider-Man under the tutelage of Peter Parker. It also stands to reason that he may start battling some of the leftovers from the Inner Demons. That theory is supported not just by the implications of the first Miles Morales trailer but by Insomniac’s clarification that Miles Morales will be a slightly smaller standalone adventure. It just makes sense that a game of that intended scope would largely focus on cleaning up a few loose ends from the previous adventure and advancing the career of Miles Morales as Spider-Man. 

Beyond that, anything is possible. Aaron Davis is briefly mentioned in Marvel’s Spider-Man during a newscast, so it’s certainly possible that he could appear in a future game as The Prowler. With the exception of that potential easter egg, though, it’s pretty clear at this point that Insomniac intends to tell its own Spider-Man stories and may choose to distance itself from certain, established events in Miles Morales comic book history.

We’ll keep you updated on what’s next for Miles Morales and Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe as we learn more about Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which is currently set to release on the PlayStation 5 in late 2020.