In a weekend filled with comic conventions, odd announcements about Daredevil, and a late appearance by The Matrix Resurrections, a surprise trailer took the Internet by storm in early December 2021: the first look at Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Granted, there was some warning on from producer Christopher Miller, but it still proved to be a gift in a month already filled with geeky presents like the other Spider-Man movie – the live action Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Across the Spider-Verse’s teaser turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For one thing, it finally offered a title for a film previously known only as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.” Of course, no film gets produced in a vacuum, and there are plenty of other things we know about the project already, especially as Sony further clarified some things across various other presentation in 2022. So let’s take a look at what we know so far about Spider-Man: Across the Universe.
(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)
The plot of Across the Spider-Verse is still up for debate, but the name, the teaser, and the CinemaCon presentation certainly offer some clues. For one, it’s clear Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) will be going on an adventure to other realities instead of the problem dropping into his dimension — six realities to be exact, per Miller and his producer partner Phil Lord during the presentation. The actual footage seen in the teaser backs this up, with the second half offering a very stylized take on interdimensional travel.
The first half of the preview suggests a few things as well. For one: Miles is grounded. Presumably, he is in over his head again. We’re going to guess the problem occurred at school since Miles tells Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) that his dorm at Visions Academy is much cooler than his childhood room. Gwen, meanwhile, is the star of the film’s opening minutes according to various accounts of footage screened at CinemaCon and subsequent presentations. She is seen battling the Vulture in her home dimension (Earth-65), but soon encounters Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), who tells her the Vulture’s chaos came about because she left a portal between universes open after the events of Into the Spider-Verse. The pair also encounter a very pregnant Jessica Drew — aka Spider-Woman.
Reports also say Miles will be re-introduced in the sequel during a meeting of his parents with his guidance counselor which does not go well. This may contribute to why he’s home when Gwen reappears in the teaser. She soon convinces him to go out and about as Spider-Man, but his reticence to do so may be based in that scene with the counselor. How that will relate to his multiversal adventure remains to be seen. But maybe Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, or Supaidaman (aka Japanese Spider-Man) will help him out in that regard. The latter character is based on the late 1970s Spider-Man television series from Japan. In that program, a man named Takuya Yamashiro acquires spider-like powers, a costume, and a transforming robot from an alien. Yamashiro’s mission: defeat Professor Monster and the evil Iron Cross Army. The character is said to be part of the film and we can’t wait to see how all of its out-there ideas get conformed to Spider-Verse proportions.
Also, it should go without saying that the developing relationship between Miles and Gwen will also be a continued source of tension. She crossed universes to meet up with him again, after all, and he never stopped drawing pictures of her.
(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)
Part of the fun of sending Miles out into the wider Spider-Verse is realizing the different takes on the Spider-Man concept and setting. In fact, the film is said to lean heavily into the idea that each of the six universes will have its own, distinct look. The world of 2099, for example, is all tall spires and corporate autocracy. The look of Supaidaman’s universe will be heavily influenced by the Tokusatsu atmosphere of the 1970s Japanese Spider-Man show and similar programs.
Gwen’s world is also on the itinerary. And if it looks anything like the Spider-Gwen comics drawn by Robbi Rodriguez, it could rival Miles’s own world as a startlingly vivid place with more than a few obvious nods to the mainline Marvel Comics world. Other worlds could include the look of the 1990s Fox animated Spider-Man cartoon, the old Spider-Man series from which the popular double Spider-Man meme originates, and maybe even a live-action realm. Also, and this is complete speculation, wouldn’t it be wild if Miles, Gwen, and Spider-Man 2099 visit the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Although, some are suggesting that will be reserved for the third film.
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)
Shameik Moore returns as Miles — sporting a new suit and symbol — as does Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen. Oscar Isaac will double down on his cameo appearance in Into the Spider-Verse as Spider-Man 2099. Jake Johnson is also set to return as Peter B. Parker, the middle-aged Spider-Man. It is unclear if we will see Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), or Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) again, to say nothing of Aunt May (Lily Tomlin) or Mary Jane Parker (Zoe Kravitz), but anything is possible. Miles’s parents, Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry) and Rio (Luna Lauren Velez) will be back, if just to ground him at the beginning of the film and face off against that guidance counselor. Newcomers include Shea Whigham as Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, and Jorma Taccone as a version of the Vulture seen on Earth-65, but not necessarily native to that reality.
Another new addition to the cast is Issa Rae as Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. Created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin in 1977, the character was meant to stand far apart from Spider-Man, becoming a supporting character in Wolverine after her own series ended. She bounced around various comics throughout the ’90s before writer Brian Michael Bendis added her to the Avengers roster and made the character an important player in his Secret Invasion miniseries. It will be interesting to see how she meshes with the new Spider-Verse team and which of her various origins the filmmakers decide to use. In fact, there is room enough for her to be a minor antagonist before inevitably joining Miles and the others. Although, a clip featuring Jessica’s first moments in the film, screened at the Annecy Animation Film Festival in June 2022, indicates she will not only be heroic, but Gwen will be in awe of the fabulous Spider-Woman.
(Photo by Marvel)
The festival also featured the first look at one of the films villains: The Spot. Created by Al Milgrom and Herb Trimpe, and voiced in the film by Jason Schwartzman, the character uses dimensional portals to get around, but also to obtain items or push adversaries very far away. It is unclear if he is part of the multiversal chaos or just an adversary Miles must deal with as part of his usual Spider-Man role. But considering his comic book origins include a connection to Wilson Fisk and a blackout, it is possible he is an ongoing after-effect of Into the Spider-Verse‘s finale.
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
On the creative side of things, co-writer and producer Phil Lord returns – but this time, his usual writing partner, Christopher Miller, joins him on screenplay duties alongside fellow writer David Callaham. A whole new trio of directors take the helm on the visual front with Legend of Korra stalwart Joaquim Dos Santos, Soul co-director Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, production designer on the first film, taking over from Into the Spider-Verse’s Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. But if the teaser is any indication, the first film’s Oscar-winning style will remain. Long time Spider-Man producers Amy Pascal and Avi Arad are along for the ride, as is producer Christine Steinberg. Ramsey serves as an executive producer. In December of 2020, Daniel Pemberton revealed he will also be returning to provide music for the film.
(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, originally slated for release on October 7, 2022, will now debut on June 2, 2023. The follow-up, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse — a title that suggests a potential MCU crossover — is scheduled for a March 29, 2024 launch. But that’s not all. Early in the sequel’s development, Pascal revealed the film will also serve as a launching pad for Spider-Women, an animated film focusing on Steinfeld’s Gwen, Rae’s Spider-Woman, and Silk, another Spider-themed hero who is also set to get her own animated television series from Lord and Miller. It is unclear if that version will be connected to Spider-Women, which will be written by Bek Smith and directed by Lauren Montgomery, but it indicates the Spider-Verse will be a well-established part of our film calendar in the decade to come.