There are no two ways about it; 2018 will go down in history as a great year for multiple versions of Marvel’s friendly neighbourhood web-slinger. There’s been Insomniac Games’ open-world epic – in which you can raid Spidey’s wardrobe of classic costumes and wear them on the fly – and there’s the upcoming release of Into the Spider-Verse, Sony’s new animated movie set to split comic-book canon wide open. It includes Spider-People from other universes, meaning you just don’t know who (or what) could be under that mask anymore.
If you’re relatively new to the concept of parallel universes and so-called ‘elseworlds’, the sight of a pig stood up on its hind legs while dressed in a Spider-Man outfit probably seems odd. But get used to it. Because in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, alternate versions of Spider-Man are brought together to take down the multiverse threat of Inheritors — a group of hunters out to get those with Spider powers — working against them. The film’s plot looks to be heavily inspired by a 2014 event storyline from the mainline Spider-Man comic books, known simply as ‘Spider-Verse’.
Spider-Man Incarnations We Know Will Feature
Before the movie releases this December, here’s a round-up of all the different incarnations of Spider-Man known to feature so far, followed by our pick of the others from Dan Slott’s original Spider-Verse storyline we think most likely to swing in and help too.
Perhaps the most exciting news about Into the Spider-Verse is that it features the most well-known alternate version of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Morales was originally introduced as the new version of the web-head following Peter Parker’s untimely death defending New York in the ‘Ultimate’ universe.
Morales’ creator, Brian Michael Bendis, has cited both Hollywood actor Donald Glover (who went on to appear opposite Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as Aaron Davis — Miles Morales’ uncle in the comic books — in Spider-Man: Homecoming) and former US president Barack Obama as inspiration for the character. The Miles Morales Spider-Man differs from the original, in that he has the ability to camouflage himself and uses a controlled energy force known as Venom Strike. This is due to him having been bitten by a spider that has been differently genetically engineered to the one that bit Peter Parker.
Into the Spider-Verse places Miles Morales’ Spider-Man front and centre, letting him swing into the spotlight as the teenage hero who, in this film, finds a mentor in the Earth-616 version of Peter Parker most people are familiar with.
From the trailers, it seems that the amazing Peter Parker Spider-Man we know and love ain’t feeling so amazing these days. Jake Johnson voices a veteran Spider-Man, one that’s witty, jesting, and hopeful as you’d expect, only one that’s a little more world-weary — and ready to pass on the Spider-Man baton to Miles as he promises to coach him in Spidey ways. Their mentor/mentee relationship is set to be the movie’s beating heart.
The most recent trailer also gave us a look at a few other parallel Spider-People, with the spotlight mainly hogged by the lively Spider-Gwen – Earth-65’s rendition of the wall-crawler in which Gwen Stacey was chewed by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. Still relatively new in the comic-book world, she’s been a celebrated addition, known for her high-energy and spirited attitude when fighting crime. Here, she’s voiced by Hailee Steinfeld.
TheNoir universe’s Spider-Man is the polar opposite of Spider-Gwen. An engaging take on Spidey, he’s a version that exists in 1930s’ New York. Noir prefers stealth over showmanship, and isn’t afraid to use guns to dispatch criminals. Nicolas Cage voices this incarnation.
Spider-Ham and SP//dr
Quirkier riffs on Spider-Man that we know will swing by include Spider-Ham, created when a spider was bitten by a radioactive pig (you read that right), and a mechanical suit iteration known as SP//dr, piloted by a Japanese student, Peni Parker, from a future version of Earth. If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, the new animated movie isn’t afraid to get crazy when stretching the multiverse concept to weird and wonderful places. Don’t be too surprised if these other Spider-People make themselves known during the fight against Kingpin, who also appears in Into the Spider-Verse voiced by Liev Schreiber.
Alternate Spider-People We Think Could Show
First off, know that we could fill this list with dozens of parallel Spider-Peeps. Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse was billed as “the biggest Spider-Event in history” for a reason. But here are a few of our favourite candidates.
Spider-Punk is the anarchic Earth-138 version of the web-head who has the exact same powerset as the original Peter Parker, only with an affinity for all things rock. Easy to pick out from a crowd due to his spiked mohawk mask and sleeveless denim jacket, Spider-Punk has been known to strike 15,000 volts of fear into his enemies thanks to his guitar and selection of amps.
The original alternate Spider-Man, Miguel O’ Hara exists in the same universe as Peter Parker, but a century or so in the future. Head of scientific megacorporation Alchemax and overseer of its genetics program, both wall-crawlers have crossed paths at various times prior to the Spider-Verse event in the comics, where three versions of 2099 alone join forces. Should one appear in Into the Spider-Verse, he’ll bring an intimate knowledge of future tech that would prove invaluable.
For decades, there existed Peter Parker as Spider-Man. But one day, after being defeated in battle and swapping bodies with a dying Octo Octavius, a Superior Spider-Man was born. The mad villain’s genius merged with the abilities of Marvel’s web-slinging jokester, making for a version of the character who was willing to kill. Before eventually becoming a bit less dark. By the time of the original Spider-Verse storyline, Peter reclaimed his body, unknowingly pulling in Superior from their past timeline. This led to a little friction between the two.
The Scarlet Spider guise is one that’s been donned by many a tortured soul within the world of Marvel – Ben Reilly, Peter Parker, Joe Wade – but it was Kaine Parker’s iteration that managed to channel his frustration at being a clone into something greater. Kaine has been a force to be reckoned with since the 1990s in comics, but in Spider-Verse went so far as to sacrifice his own life (before shortly being reborn) in order to save all other members of the Spider army.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits screens in the UK on December 12, Australia on December 13 and the US on December 14.