Donald Glover, the “Community” veteran who inspired Brian Michael Bendis in 2011 to introduce Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, is finally getting his chance to play the superhero.
USA Today reports the actor will voice the character next year in an episode of Disney XD’s animated “Ultimate Spider-Man,” which in its upcoming third season carries the subtitle “Web Warriors.” In the “Spider-Verse” story arc, a dimension-hopping Peter Parker (voiced by Drake Bell) tries to prevent the Green Goblin from collecting the DNA of Spider-Men from parallel universes, including Iron Spider, Spider-Man 2099, the Amazing Spider-Girl and Miles Morales.
Their meeting holds special significance for Miles, because in his universe, Peter Parker is dead.
“He meets someone who is his hero, and that comes across completely in Donald’s performance,” Stephen Wacker, Marvel Television’s vice president of current animation, tells the newspaper. “He’s got a real warmth that suits the character really, really well. If you’ve read Miles Morales comics, Donald’s voice nails what you’ve been reading.”
Glover’s childhood love of the wall-crawler became public in 2010, after entertainment journalist and comics writer Marc Bernardin penned an editorial asking why the Spider-Man of Sony’s rebooted franchise had to be played by a white actor. Glover picked up the baton, spearheading a social-media campaign to secure an audition for the role that eventually went to Andrew Garfield. However, Glover’s efforts inadvertently ignited a disturbing Internet firestorm that “Community” creator Dan Harmon later characterized as a “curious eruption of a previously unknown demographic of racist comic-book readers.”
But there was a silver lining, as Harmon gave a nod to Glover’s campaign in the opening sequence of “Community’s” Season 2 premiere, in which his character Troy is shown wearing Spider-Man pajamas. That brief appearance, in turn, inspired Bendis. “He looked fantastic!” the writer said in 2011. “I saw him in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book.’ So I was glad I was writing that book.”
Glover told USA Today that portraying that 13-year-old Miles didn’t require that much of a stretch. “That’s the great part about the Spider-Man costume: He can be anybody,” he said. “Spider-Man could be a girl. Spider-Man could be an old man. You don’t know. So I just tried to be as me as possible, because you’re always just going to bring it back to yourself when you watch the show.”
“Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors” premieres Sunday at 9 a.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.