spider-verse cover image
The Spider-Verse film could feature familiar faces from previous Spider-Man franchises. (Illustration by Mack Niemietz, Southern New Hampshire University)
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spider-verse cover image

The long-awaited sequel to the successful animated film could feature new characters from the original comics.

The mania of the multiverse is all the rage among superhero movies lately. From the recent release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” to the expedition through time itself in “Loki,” to the upcoming peril of parallel universes in “The Flash” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the superhero genre finally seems comfortable with diving into the whackier concepts from the comics. This didn’t start with the climactic masterpiece that challenged the boundaries of time in “Avengers: Endgame,” nor did it begin with the hints of alternate dimensions in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” or “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” This affinity for multiversal stories seemed to begin with the immense popularity of the 2018 animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Not only was “Into the Spider-Verse” an artistic paragon, but it also pushed the limitations of animation far beyond what people thought was possible. The classic superhero story was filled with ambition, heart and inspiring character arcs, and it also became a cultural phenomenon that featured a Black teen as the most popular character on planet Earth. It was critically acclaimed and universally loved, and it became one of the most successful and impactful animated movies of all time. It’s safe to say this experience of traveling through the multiverse alongside a half-dozen Spider-Men from other worlds to save reality is an absolute, certified classic.

Ever since the release of the first film, fans have been greatly anticipating what would come next for this new, spirited world. After three years, the wait is finally over. The first trailer for “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part I)” hit the web and subsequently caused the internet to erupt. While the trailer only gave audiences a sneak peek of what’s to come, it’s clear that the creators retained the same revolutionary vision from the first installment. The first movie was ahead of its time and proved to the world that movies can tackle the crazy, exuberant storylines of the comics. However, let’s face it: What everyone truly loved the most was all of the Spider-Men.

Spider-Ham, Spider-Gwen, Peter Parker, Peter B. Parker, Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir and Miles Morales himself all appeared in the first film. So, what new Spider-Men will we be seeing in “Across the Spider-Verse”?

Cartoon Spider-Men

Many other animated tales of Spider-Man appeared before “Into the Spider-Verse,” and fans are hoping to see one of these adaptations. On top of all of the original characters of the first film hopefully returning, there are many other animated universes for “Across the Spider-Verse” to explore. “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” was first released in 1994 and garnered many compliments from fans. For older fans, this Spider-Man was the one they grew up with. “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” released in 2008, exists as one of the most beloved adaptations of the character and is a fan favorite to appear in “Across the Spider-Verse.” The 2012 “Ultimate Spider-Man,” one of the more recent cartoon characterizations of Spider-Man, could also potentially blend into the Spider-Verse franchise.

Live-Action Spider-Man

Sony contacted Tobey Maguire about voicing Peter Parker in “Into the Spider-Verse,” and just recently Tom Holland said that Sony contacted him about being in “Across the Spider-Verse” but didn’t get back to him after the initial call. The only thing that could top the excitement and perfection of the first film is to fill the second one with even more surprises. And what better surprise would there be than to feature one of the live-action Spider-Men in “Across the Spider-Verse”? Sony and Marvel must be seeing the attention and pure chaos that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” garnered, and they’re the last ones to miss out on an opportunity to make a profit. Inserting a live-action Spider-Man into the animated world would be incredible and help to legitimize this colossal cartoon story even further.

Other Spider-Man Characters

While “Into the Spider-Verse” was a pure love letter to the character, there were still a few characters missing from Spider-Man’s classic multiversal stories. Namely, Madame Webb, Spider-Woman and a symbiote-infested Spider-Man come to mind. Madame Webb serves as (almost) the curator of Spider-Man’s destiny throughout all the universes he’s featured in throughout the comics. She is an integral, frequent part of the Spider-Man multiverse stories, and fans can expect to see her in “Across the Spider-Verse.”

Spider-Woman is barely a Spider-Man character; however, she is an incredible character in her own right with a complex, deep background that has yet to be featured in any movie. A symbiote Spider-Man is also a possibility, as the symbiote is a large puzzle piece to the character of Spider-Man and wasn’t featured in “Into the Spider-Verse.” This could serve as an evil counterpart to the Spider-Men we already know or as a possible villain of “Across the Spider-Verse.”

Spider-Man 2099

This is the only confirmed new Spider-Man to be coming in the much-anticipated sequel. Spider-Man 2099 was not only in the post-credits scene of “Into the Spider-Verse,” but he was also the big reveal in the first trailer for “Across the Spider-Verse.” He appears to be the villain of the film. While the character of Miguel O’Hara is certainly a bit darker than the Spider-Men we grew to love, he is not usually a villain. It will be interesting to see what they do with this character, as there has obviously been much planning behind what he will be to this story. Nevertheless, fans can look forward to O’Hara making a big bang in this bit of multiversal mayhem.

 

Spider-Man is in the best of hands, and the Spider-Verse franchise continues to be a huge contributing factor to that. “Across the Spider-Verse” is expected to be just as incredible as the first installment in this franchise, and while fans can expect to see some of these Spider-Men, the only guaranteed expectation is the unexpected. Who knows where the multiverse will take us next?

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Daniel Buccafusca

East Stroudsburg University
Psychology & English (Creative Writing)

A versatile creative and professional racecar driver looking to be the best person I can be.

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