Miles Morales is about to get his moment in the animated spotlight.
This week's new episode of Marvel's Spider-Man (airing Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on Disney XD) will show how Miles gets his spider-powers. Just as important, it will also detail how he handles becoming a superhero. It's a lesson straight out of the "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" handbook, and its one that actor Nadji Jeter is excited to see play out.
Jeter landed the coveted part voicing Miles after some top-secret auditions in which he didn't even know what series for which he was trying out. Once he scored the role, he quickly became aware of the expectations surrounding Miles, and how they extended beyond comics. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli in 2011 for Marvel's Ultimate comic book line, Miles has helped lead the charge in Marvel's push for diversity and a more accurate representation of the world we live in. He matters to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons.
SYFY WIRE caught up with Jeter to get his thoughts on Miles' influence and what he thought of the allusion to the character in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And of course we tried to pry some details about upcoming Spidey teamups on the animated series, too.
Nadji, how cool is it to be the voice of Miles Morales?
Man, it is such a blessing. It's an incredible feeling, knowing how people feel about him. It's incredible to be part of this production.
Were you familiar with Miles Morales before you auditioned for the role?
Yes and no. My uncle is actually a big Miles Morales fan. He reads the comics and [after i auditioned] he told me a lot about his history and who he is, and how Marvel introduced him into the Ultimate Spider-Man world. So I did have some knowledge, and then my uncle filled me in.
So your uncle is the comics nerd in the family.
Oh yeah, huge comic book fan. He sent me his comics to read, all that stuff.
In the episode that's debuting this weekend, Miles is really happy to get his powers. He's enjoying them because he's been getting picked on by other kids. Then he runs into Spider-Man, who gives him some advice. Are we going to see the Spider-Man/Ultimate Spider-Man team-up more as the season goes on?
Oh, definitely. You can look forward to more teamwork between Miles and Peter, and a lot of action. I can't wait for you guys to see those. They're some fun episodes.
Can you say how many episodes we'll see Miles in action in Season One?
Throughout the first season. I can't give you an exact number of episodes, but you will definitely be seeing a lot of Miles.
Miles has become, in a very short period of time, a very key figure in the Marvel Universe. There was a hint, a sort-of Easter Egg reference to Miles in this past summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming. What did you think of that?
I loved it! I'm actually good friends with Zendaya, so that movie was... the movie was amazing. I can't wait to see what else Marvel does and how Miles is involved, to see him become a household name, you know? I'm definitely excited.
Miles has helped bring more diversity to the Marvel Universe. He's given voice to people who haven't been able to see themselves in the heroes they follow. Does that add some sort of importance for you, since you're the voice of Miles right now?
Yes, it does. It's actually had a huge impact on me. I have a lot of little cousins and play brothers and sisters that are young and who watch the show. For them to see an African-American Spider-Man is a different outlook for a young African-American boy that looks up to Spider-Man regardless. But to see someone of their own color, it's... it's kind of historic. It has an impact, and shows what Marvel is trying to do and what they're capable of.
By the way, Nadji; You're a young kid, you're in good shape. Pretty soon, they're going to start casting for a Miles Morales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's inevitable.
[Laughs] Hey, look. that's something that we have all heard and that's something I would definitely look forward to. If something were to happen, you would be the first to know!
Give me an idea of what it's like when you're recording your lines. Are you doing it solo or are you together with the other actors?
We are actually in one big old room together, all the actors. We take the script, our script is usually numbered, so we're all grouped together so we can feed off each other. We'll go through Line one through 17, one by one, and we'll just keep on going until it's perfect.
That's actually much different than how animated films are done. Most actors in those movies tend to record their lines alone. That must make it easier for you to establish the right vibe with other actors.
It's been a great learning experience, too. This wasn't my first voiceover, but it was my first series, voicing a cartoon character. Learning from Robbie Draymond (voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and everyone else in the room was a huge blessing. You get to see how they all conduct themselves, You get to really feed off that. You get to learn how they do what they do. It's amazing, when you're doing ADR for a movie, you're in a room by yourself. it's a different feeling.
What's the mood like with the other actors on the series?
We're definitely like a family now. We spend every other Friday together for a good four hours. Its definitely lots of jokes and fun and games (laughs), but we all take our jobs very seriously.
I know your uncle helped you with the research, but did the producers give you a Spider-Man bible to get you up to speed?
For the first audition, they gave me a great character breakdown on Miles and that really put me in the right headspace. When I told my uncle I was going to be a part of this series playing Miles, he was like, 'Oh really? How much do you know about Miles?'
So he gave me the full background on the character and how and when he was introduced.
You know what you need to do now, don't you? You need to get a Miles Morales costume, so when you go to a comic convention you can cosplay as him.
Dude, I've been looking for the Miles Morales shirt everywhere! I've seen one of our castmates, Yuri, had one. I've been searching high and low for the black and red shirt. I've been to Target and any other store i could think of trying to find it. It would be great. A Miles costume would be like my own secret identity.
You know what? You're in the Marvel family now, you can ask someone there to help you find that shirt!
Marvel's Spider-Man airs Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. ET on Disney XD.