Perhaps the best Spider-Man movie ever is getting a sequel in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, but you shouldn’t have to make a total “leap of faith” with this one! A lot of things happened in Into the Spider-Verse, so we’ve got a primer on the five key points you need to remember from the first film before you make the next big multiversal leap across the Spider-Verse.
Read on for what you need to know to prepare for the film…
What Miles Morales Is Up to
First, let’s talk about where Miles Morales of Earth-1610 stands as the main character in the central universe (to these movies at least). Miles was bitten by a spider from Kingpin’s Alchemax lab labeled “42,” and as a result gained all the powers associated with Spider-Man: the proportionate strength, speed, agility, durability, wall-crawling and web shooting power of a spider, along with spider-sense. In addition, Miles can effectively turn invisible by blending into his surroundings, and he has venom strikes, a sort of electrical force that he can shoot through his hands.
By the end of Into the Spider-Verse, Miles has mastery of his abilities and is recognized as a hero by New York. As Spider-Man, Miles has earned the reluctant respect of Officer Davis, who also happens to be his dad. Importantly, after the death of Peter Parker at Kingpin’s hands, Miles is the only Spider-Man in this universe, but he’s far from alone. Speaking of which…
The Multiverse Is Wide Open
In Into the Spider-Verse, the multiverse was broken thanks to Kingpin’s supercollider, which led to the confluence of Spider-People who arrived in Miles’ universe.We learned there are nearly infinite versions of the Spider origin story, and many variations of spider-heroes. Despite the individual circumstances of their universes and who they are, they’ve all generally suffered a personal loss, gained spider powers, and have to make tough decisions that affect their larger worlds. We met alternate versions of Gwen Stacy and Peter B. Parker, who we’ll get into in more depth a little later, but also Peni Parker, Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir.
Notably, the Gwen from Earth-65 calls out to Miles through some kind of portal across universes at the very end of the movie, so it seems they’ve found some way to still connect in real time. In that film, the alternate universe versions couldn’t stay in Miles’ world for too long or they’d die of cellular decay. Maybe there will be a way around this complication in Across the Spider-Verse. In fact… the post-credits scene in the first film might’ve shown us exactly what the key to traversing universes is now.
Beyond the main gang, there really are countless spider heroes out there who we’ve barely met, including Miguel O’Hara from Earth-928, who appeared in the post-credits pointing scene. There he useda device that can make an autonomous universe jump (which is how he wound up in the pointing meme scene at the end of the film). But it seems pretty likely he’ll make use of that device again in Across the Spider-Verse! And don’t forget: While there are infinite heroes, that means there are infinite villains too. Indeed, there’s one notably dangerous villain who could be anywhere in the multiverse now.
The Status of All Known Villains
Kingpin was the central villain of the first film, where he developed the multiversal supercollider under Alchemax for the purpose of accessing alternate versions of his wife Vanessa and son Richard Fisk, whose deaths he unfairly blamed on Spider-Man. He was partially successful, but Fisk’s alternate wives and sons were just as disgusted by Kingpin’s brutality as the versions from Earth 1610. He ended up captured and presented to the police by Miles. Arrested and deflated by what he experienced with the alternate versions of his family, Kingpin 1610 doesn’t pose the greatest threat right now.
Actually, the villains in Miles’ universe are mostly non-threats as of now, which would seem to imply that new threats will come from elsewhere. Most of Miles’ villains were Kingpin’s henchmen, including Miles’ beloved uncle Aaron Davis, who was actually the supervillain known as the Prowler. He’s now dead, shot by Kingpin for not immediately killing Miles. Green Goblin/Norman Osborn is also dead, crushed in the supercollider explosion, while Tombstone was arrested with Kingpin. It’s unclear what happened to Scorpion after he was knocked out by Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Ham (presumably he was arrested).
Lastly, Earth 1610’s Doc Ock was apparently hit by a truck in the final battle and her fate is left ambiguous. However in an alternate cut of the film, she is depicted as alive and having jumped into the supercollider before its explosion, musing about the “power of the multiverse.” She could technically still be in play and have access to countless allies and weapons via the multiverse. Don’t count her out just yet!
While it seems like Miles is still at the Visions Academy in the new film, things look like they’ve gotten better for him. And now that he’s actually trying, school has gotten more manageable too. He finally met his roommate, Ganke, who originally had a much bigger part in the first movie (as seen in “alternate universe mode” on the home video release). There, he helped Miles figure out his powers as his friend and they had a shared interest in music, but reportedly his part was trimmed down for being too similar to Ned Leeds from the MCU. He is expected to return, and hey, maybe Miles will get his own “guy in the chair” this time out.
In an alternate cut of the first film, Doc Ock is depicted as alive and having jumped into the supercollider before its explosion, musing about the “power of the multiverse.”
Miles of course has the endless love and support of his mother Rio, and he has a closer bond with his father by the end of the first movie, as they were able to lean on each other after Uncle Aaron’s death. On a professional level, Jefferson seems to be more accepting of the new Spider-Man, but given that this new Spider-Man hugged him and said “I love you,” it wouldn’t be shocking if he figures out who he is.
Miles has one ally in his homeworld who actually knows his secret in canon and can be a huge help: May Parker. She’s alive and kicking on Earth 1610 and can be a powerful resource with her incredible spider arsenal/archive. She was harboring the other Spider-People and is generally very knowledgeable about all things Spider-Man and Spider-verse. Even though her nephew is deceased, she’ll want to put the coolest toolshed ever to good use helping his successor Miles.
Old Friends Return
Even if cellular decay is still a problem, some members of the Spider-Verse gang will at least be fully in action for the duration of Across the Spider-Verse. It doesn’t seem like we’ll be seeing Peni, Peter Porker, or Noir to any significant degree, but there will be plenty of new Spider characters to come. There are two big returners, of course.
Peter B. Parker (Earth 616) overcame his crippling self-doubt and realized he liked the idea of being a hero, mentor, and even a dad. He seemingly got back together with Mary Jane and had a child with her, Mayday (based on the trailers). He is experienced and seems happy and confident, so he’ll be a massive ally and mentor once again.
Gwen Stacy (Earth-65) has a similar story to the comics-famous Spider-Woman/Spider-Gwen. She is a member of the Mary Janes band, and her Peter Parker, who died, was her best friend and seemed to have been a version of The Lizard, like his comics counterpart. Gwen said she doesn’t have friends anymore, but agreed to make Miles an exception. Who knows, maybe something romantic between the two could happen. Again, Miles hears her voice through a portal at the end of the first movie and in the second trailer, which may indicate they found ways of regularly communicating across multiverses! Well, at least Miguel has, since it seems like he’s the one who gets all the other Spider-People teamed up.
Kim Horcher is a freelance writer and host covering movies, and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @kimscorcher.