Stepping back into the role of Miles Morales in Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 was more than just a chance to continue an iconic character’s journey. For Nadji Jeter, playing Miles meant an opportunity to learn new skills, diving into character development in ways that went beyond the realm of webswinging. One of the most significant aspects of this character’s evolution has been the inclusion of American Sign Language as part of his communication abilities. In Spider-Man 2, Miles uses ASL to converse with street artist Hailey Cooper, a portrayal that has been recognized and celebrated for its deaf representation.
Reflecting on this aspect of the role, Jeter shared, “We had great teachers on set. I’ve always embraced it, because I feel like we’re touching a lot of communities. A lot of people out there that can sometimes feel like they get excluded. But in Spider Man 2, everyone is connected with this game.”
Another exciting aspect for Jeter in the Spider-Man 2 game was his interaction with Tony Todd, a genre legend who took on the role of Venom. “That’s my uncle, man! Uncle Tony,” Jeter enthusiastically expressed. He went on to describe the atmosphere on set during Todd’s appearance, likening it to the presence of a president. The excitement and energy that was brought into the project by working with someone of Todd’s stature was certainly palpable.
The success of Spider-Man 2 builds upon Jeter’s previous work as Miles Morales, most notably in Spider-Man: Miles Morales and other media such as Disney XD’s Spider-Man, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. The reception for Spider-Man 2 has been nothing short of phenomenal, breaking records as the fastest-selling PlayStation game in the company’s history.
Discussing the impact of the Spider-Man franchise on his life, Jeter reflected on his journey with the character. “You know, my uncle kind of finally told me that he was proud of me…I started Miles when I was 17 or 18 years old, playing him as a 13 year old…So, I grew up with Miles, but ended up being in the games because PlayStation called me… I didn’t know that it was going to just take off, but when they scanned my face, I was like, ‘This is going to be some big shoes to fill.'”
Beyond the excitement and recognition tied to playing Miles Morales, Jeter emphasized the personal elements that resonated with him. Reflecting on his background, Jeter shared, “You know, with a lot of communities I come from, we grew up fatherless…Miles also has a great loss in his life with his father…So, just growing up with that and then being a mixed race coming from that background and having those challenges of finding your identity in both communities, you know, is definitely a very unique thing.” This personal connection to the character’s journey has added layers of depth to his portrayal.
In addition to the personal connections he formed with the character, Jeter also cherished the camaraderie formed with his fellow cast members. He spoke fondly of his friendship with Peter Parker actor Yuri Lowenthal, his working relationship with Tony Todd, and the experience of learning ASL for his scenes with Natasha Ofili, who portrays Hailey Cooper.
Jeter’s enthusiasm for the role extends to the creativity and fun he brings to the mocap set, emphasizing the joy and imagination that comes with bringing a character like Miles Morales to life. He added, “You get to be a big kid again. Honestly, you get to use that imagination you had as a kid when it comes to playing hide and seek or any of those creative things we did as kids.”
Looking ahead, Jeter expressed his interest in teaming up with iconic characters like Blade, The Punisher, and Cyclops. Additionally, he shared his enthusiasm for the prospect of a live-action Spider-Verse film, emphasizing his readiness and excitement to continue portraying Miles Morales for the Insomniac Studios character.
Throughout the conversation, it’s evident that Jeter’s experience portraying Miles Morales has been one of personal growth, joyful exploration, and meaningful representation. As Spider-Man continues to evolve, Jeter’s dedication to the character and the communities he represents stands as a testament to the far-reaching impact of his work.