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How Miles Morales Already Existed In The MCU Before Into The Spider-Verse

Technically, the animated film "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" isn't part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, it's one of Sony's licensed Spider-Man properties and doesn't belong to the interconnected series of movies we've come to refer to as the MCU. Prior to the film's release, "Spider-Verse" writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller unequivocally stated there's no link between the two (via Collider). However, that doesn't mean Miles Morales and the entire multiverse don't exist in the MCU. In fact, Miles has been part of the MCU since before "Into the Spider-Verse" hit theaters in 2018.

Miles Morales was first introduced in the 2011 comic book "Ultimate Fallout #4," set after the death of Peter Parker, which happens in "Ultimate Spider-Man #160" (via USA Today). The half-Black, half-Hispanic character is a 13-year-old teenager who initially appeared in "Ultimate Marvel" titles, a separate continuity from the main Marvel universe, until that imprint was retired and he moved to the mainline Marvel timeline. Audiences then Miles on the small screen for the first time in the third season of the animated TV series "Ultimate Spider-Man," and got to see him in his own movie with "Into the Spider-Verse" a few years later. 

But, as it turns out, there's a very subtle reference to him inside an MCU film, which could open up some possibilities for the next phase of the Marvel movie universe.

It happens when Tom Holland interrogates Donald Glover

Oh, you remember this scene. In "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Tom Holland's costumed crusader decides to interrogate the small-time criminal whose life he saved. The man is Aaron Davis, played by Donald Glover. Spider-Man traps Aaron's hand in webbing on the hood of Aaron's car, then attempts to put him in the hot seat of interrogation. He starts speaking in a deep, menacing voice that the much more chill Aaron knows isn't real, as he's heard Spidey's voice in a previous scene. Spider-Man deactivates interrogation mode, returning his voice back to normal, and pleads for information on the arms dealer he's searching for. After mentioning the destruction of the local bodega, Delmar's Deli-Grocery, Spider-Man gives up and starts to leave. Then, Aaron says, "I don't want those weapons in this neighborhood — I got a nephew who live here." 

Glover says the line casually enough that some people watching might not notice its importance — but hardcore Marvel fans will. In the pages of Marvel Comics, Aaron Davis is the Prowler. And that nephew he mentions? That's Miles Morales. 

Marvel boss Kevin Feige has previously confirmed Miles' presence in the MCU, telling ScreenCrush in June 2017, "All of those little things are just Easter eggs for fans until they're something more than that. But anything that's happened in the books is potential material for us. In the meantime, I think Miles is a big part of the animated movie that Sony's making. But where we go ... we definitely want you to go, 'He's there. He's there somewhere.'"

It remains to be seen just how Miles might come into the MCU picture somewhere down the line.

Donald Glover's connection to Miles Morales is even deeper than you might realize

Back in 2010, then-up-and-comer Donald Glover started a Twitter campaign to become the next Spider-Man, when the rebooted version that eventually starred Andrew Garfield was being discussed. The campaign soon took on a life of its own. At the time, Glover was starring in "Community." During the beginning-of-episode montage of the series' Season 2 opener, "Community" makes a nod to the campaign by putting Glover's character Troy in Spider-Man pajamas.

As luck would have it, Miles Morales' creator, Brian Michael Bendis, saw that episode as he was making up the new Spider-Man after Peter Parker's comic-book death. After watching the scene, Bendis said he knew he was on the right track in creating a Black Spider-Man. "He looked fantastic!" Bendis told USA Today 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." He also gave Glover "mucho credit" for the look of Miles Morales in that first outing in "Ultimate Fallout #4." Basically, Glover inspired Miles Morales.

Glover later told USA Today in 2015 that Glover was too old to play the part of a high-schooler. However, Glover did get a chance to play Miles Morales when he voiced the character in an episode of Disney XD's "Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors" in 2014, when Spidey encounters Miles in a parallel universe. 

To bring everything full circle, there's yet another reference to Glover and his influence on Spider-Man in "Into the Spider-Verse." In an early scene in the animated film, Miles goes to visit his uncle — the same Uncle Aaron Davis (Mahershala Ali) that Glover plays in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." There's a TV playing in the background when Miles visits his Aaron. Guess what it's playing? The Season 2 "Community" episode featuring Glover wearing Spider-Man pajamas. Is your mind blown yet?