At long last, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has thwipped its way into cinemas. Like its acclaimed predecessor, this sequel is brimming with Easter eggs, many of which pay tribute to other Marvel films, shows, video games (even the upcoming Spider-Man 2), and comic book source material.
Untangling this massive web of references from such a layered film can be daunting for some audiences. So for those who need a hand, here’s a guide to all the Easter eggs found in Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy’s latest big-screen adventure.
When Miles asked his roommate, Ganke Lee, to help him take care of the Spot, Ganke isn’t so excited about helping him with Spider-Man-related tasks. Specifically, he says he doesn’t want to end up becoming Miles’s “guy in the chair.” This is a reference to the self-titled role Ned Leeds takes on helping Peter defeat the Vulture from afar in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Fun fact: the MCU’s Ned shares many similarities with the Ganke from the comics to the point that fans have debated whether or not these characters were combined when Homecoming was in development.
Along with the Spot, Across the Spider-Verse introduced some new Spider-Man villains not yet seen in this animated world or any Spider-Man film. There’s the Renaissance universe’s version of the Vulture and multiple versions of Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, and the Hobgoblin.
The Sinister Six is also name-dropped on a news broadcast at the end of the movie. The film even throws in a pretty obscure villain, Armadillo, which Miles briefly fights on his way to a rooftop party.
The Spot’s history in this film is very close to his comic book counterpart. The supervillain reveals he was a scientist working for Alchemax, the company funded by Kingpin, whom he worked for in the comics. The Spot later suffers a horrible accident with one of his experiments when Miles destroys Kingpin’s supercollider, causing black portals to appear all over his body like in the comics.
However, this version of the Spot proves himself to be more than just a “Villain of the Week,” as he reveals he brought the spider that gave Miles his superpowers to their universe in the first place, meaning they both made each other what they are.
When Miguel O’Hara meets Gwen in the film’s opening, the former explains how he and his Spider Society deal with interdimensional crises across the Multiverse, particularly the ones caused by Kingpin’s supercollider. During this discussion, he mentions “Doctor Strange and the little nerd back on Earth-199999.”
This is a clear reference to the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, in which Peter Parker accidentally summoned Spider-Men and their adversaries from other universes into his own.
A wise man once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That seems to be the case with J. Jonah Jameson. Just as J.K. Simmons reprised his iconic role as the Daily Bugle’s owner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has once again lent his voice to bring the character to life in this animated epic. Jameson can occasionally be heard in the background talking on the TV about Spider-Man or Spider-Woman, depending on the universe.
Since Miguel assembled Spider-People from across the Multiverse, audiences saw many classic iterations of the hero all at once. There’s the Spider-Man from Insomniac’s popular video games, the ones from all the cartoon shows going as far back as the ’60s, Julia Carpenter’s Spider-Woman, and Otto Octavius’s Superior Spider-Man, to name only a few.
The film even uses archival footage of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Men to explore how they all share the same destiny. But the cherry on top is when they all recreate the iconic pointing meme to spectacular proportions.
As the Spot practices traveling to new realities (including one populated entirely by Legos), he ends up in the convenience store from Tom Hardy’s Venom films (which are set on Earth-668).
There, the villain meets the store’s owner, Mrs. Chen, who is well aware of Eddie Brock’s identity as the Lethal Protector. And due to her outrageous experiences with Eddie and Venom, she’s not at all surprised by the Spot miraculously appearing through a portal and stealing some mint gum.
While on a date with Miles, Gwen explains that she falls in love with Spider-Man in every other universe, but it doesn’t end well in any of them. This is a clear reference to Gwen’s tragic death during Spider-Man’s battle with the Green Goblin, which has haunted Peter Parker and stuck with Gwen’s character for 50 years now.
However, Gwen subverts this infamous death in the film by catching Miles with her web-shooter as he falls from a great height, similar to how Peter failed to save her the same way.
Donald Glover is famous for being the inspiration for Miles Morales. Because of his role in creating the character, he got to voice Miles in Ultimate Spider-Man and played the hero’s Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Unfortunately, Glover never got to appear as Aaron’s alter-ego, the Prowler. Until now, that is. When Miles tours the Spider Society’s base, they see Glover playing the live-action Prowler imprisoned with countless other supervillains captured by the web-slingers.
The number 42 is frequently seen throughout Into the Spider-Verse, most notably printed on the Alchemax spider that bit Miles. Some audiences may assume this is simply a tribute to baseball player Jackie Robinson or a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
However, 42 is now revealed to be the number given to the Earth the spider hails from, the one where Miles accidentally teleports to at the end of the film. The fact that the filmmakers were building up to this sequel’s shocking twist with such small bits of foreshadowing is an example of how amazing the writing is for the Spider-Verse saga.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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