​marvel: peter parker must always be a straight white man

Documents leaked in the Sony hack have revealed the stringent contractual “character traits” for Spider-Man and alter ego Peter Parker.

by Charlotte Gush and i-D Staff
22 June 2015, 12:32pm

Andrew Garfield

Fans of superhero diversity will be disappointed to discover that, by contractual agreement, Peter Parker is not allowed to appear as anything other than a straight white man. In documents leaked as part of the massive Sony hack, Marvel's contract dictates that Spider-Man must be male and "not a homosexual", while the list for Peter Parker goes one further, stating that the mortal alter ego must be caucasian.

Marvel do offer the one concession that Spider-Man could possibly be gay, but only if "Marvel has portrayed that alter ago as a homosexual". Technically, there's nothing in the contract stating that Spider-Man can't be non-white, but that would be difficult if Peter Parker can't be and also all skin is covered with the Spider suit anyway.

Now that Sony and Marvel Studios are rebooting the franchise to fit the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is uncertain whether this contract is still in force, but as Vulture points out, there appear to be only white men in the running for the role.


Photography Alasdair McLellan
Styling Elgar Johnson

Spider Man
Peter Parker