Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’So…you thought Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had a lot of Easter eggs and references? Well, the Oscar-winning animated film’s hugely anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will make you think again. The reported number of over 200 hundred spider-people in the acclaimed continuation of Miles Morales’ (Shamiek Moore) story is just scratching the surface of the near-countless number of references to the iconic character’s past, present, and future. Given that there’s a lot to cover, we’ll just cut right to the chase to list every Easter egg and reference (that we could find) in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
We’re also just going to tell you right now; we’re not going to cover every single one of the 200+ Spidey variants in the film, as that would make for the longest article in Collider history. We will still discuss some of the more notable Spider-people showcased in the film, which includes a few faces that longtime webheads will surely recognize.
Comics Code Authority Logo
As fans of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may have noticed, the original film opens with a logo that’s a deep-cut reference for comic fans. The logo in question is that of the Comics Code Authority, the now-defunct organization that functioned as a regulatory service for comics from 1954 to 2011. It was a fun nod to the classic comics that obviously inspired Into the Spider-Verse and its many predecessors, and the logo returns in the opening credits for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Gwen’s Universe (Earth 65)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse features a lengthy introductory sequence to catch audiences up to speed on what Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) has been up to since the last film’s events. Visually, the watercolor aesthetic of Gwen’s universe looks virtually identical to that of the original comics from artist Robbi Rodriguez. Gwen is also seen briefly continuing her career as a drummer for the rock band named The Mary Janes, and she’s still living with her overprotective yet loving police captain father, George Stacy (Shea Whigham).
Gwen’s History With Peter Parker, AKA The Lizard
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only briefly touched on Spider-Gwen’s origins, particularly how her universe’ version of Peter Parker had died. Across the Spider-Verse further expands on what happened with Gwen’s former best friend, and it’s even more tragic than we thought. It turns out the Peter Parker of Earth 65 was relentlessly bullied, with one of his tormentors being someone named Ned (a possible nod to Ned Leeds, AKA the Hobgoblin, AKA Peter Parker’s best friend in the MCU). Fed up with the bullying, Peter creates a serum to turn himself into this universe’s version of The Lizard, attacking his school’s dance. Gwen fights the scaley beast, not realizing that it’s actually her best friend, and Peter is unfortunately killed in the aftermath.
J.K. Simmons Reprises His Iconic Role as J. Jonah Jameson
Spider-Man may take on different names and be played by different actors, but when it comes to the Web Head’s harshest critic, only one man in the multiverse can play him. That person is Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons, and we’re happy to say that he returns to the Spider-Man franchise as multiple variants of J. Jonah Jameson. First, he appears on Earth 65 to discuss how Spider-Woman is a menace to society. Then, he also appears in brick form in the LEGO universe, using voice lines ripped straight from the original Sam Raimi trilogy. Finally, Jameson’s voice can be heard one more time at the end of the film in Earth 42, where he introduces an infamous criminal organization called “The Sinister Six Cartel.”
When Captain Stacy arrives to a call that an Italian Vulture (Jorma Taccone) is terrorizing the local art museum, one of the officers on the scene is named Yuri. This is presumably Yuri Watanabe, a police lieutenant who is a regular face in various Spider-Man storylines. Watanabe recently appeared as a major character in the Spider-Man video game, where she finds her position as a police officer conflicting with her desire to deliver justice. In the comics, Yuri eventually adopts the alter ego of Wraith – a ruthless vigilante who is far more violent than the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
Italian Renaissance Vulture
Gwen quickly discovers her days in the Spider-Verse aren’t over, as a strange variant of the Vulture, one of Spidey’s oldest foes, is causing trouble on Earth 65. This version of Adrian Toomes comes from a dimension locked in the Italian Renaissance, with the bird-brained bad guy using weaponry that looks like it was thought up by Leonardo da Vinci. This isn’t the first time a Vulture has popped up in a universe that isn’t their own, as we saw with the MCU’s Vulture (Michael Keaton) from Spider-Man: Homecoming accidentally ending up in the same universe as Morbius.
Spider-Man 2099’s Nicknames
When Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) arrives to help take care of Vulture, Gwen has thoughts on his superhero name. Of those names she guesses, one is Blue Panther, an obvious nod to the far more popular Black Panther from Marvel Comics. Another is Nacho Libre, referencing the cult-classic luchador film of the same name starring Jack Black.
Jessica Drew, AKA Spider-Woman
When Spider-Man 2099 calls for backup, we finally get the first big-screen appearance of Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), also known as Spider-Woman. In the comics, despite her name, Jessica Drew is a character who has little to no relation with Peter Parker or other Spider-People. Instead, she has ties to common organizations in the Marvel Universe, like S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.W.O.R.D. Despite her lack of a connection to Spidey in the comics, she still has a lot of his same powers, along with a snazzy motorcycle that she likes to use more than web-swinging. This version of Drew also fights crime all while being pregnant, making her one formidable super mom.
Spider-Man 2099 References the Events of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’
While regaling how broken the multiverse is now, Spider-Man 2099 makes the first of many references to the MCU. He notions that Gwen and Jessica shouldn’t “get him started on Doctor Strange and that little nerd back on Earth 199999.” A clear reference to the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, where the MCU’s Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) accidentally summoned the heroes and villains of other Spider-Man films.
Spider-Man 2099 also mentions the concept of hammerspace, followed by a brief definition of what the idea is on-screen. This is essentially the explanation of characters, primarily cartoons, who seem to have an infinite supply of invisible and impossible storage space. Not only does the Renaissance Vulture have hammerspace, but we also saw the concept being utilized by Spider-Ham in Into the Spider-Verse.
Ganke is NOT Miles’ Guy in the Chair
After getting into a battle with some “villain of the week” named The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), Miles comes back home to see that his roommate, Ganke, is playing video games. Miles asks Ganke if he can quickly call the police to tell them that the Spot has been captured, but Ganke doesn’t want to, saying he’s not Miles’ “Guy in the Chair”. That’s the classic title Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) proudly coins in the MCU, helping Tom Holland’s Peter Parker from afar.
Ganke is Playing ‘Spider-Man’ PS4
Speaking of Ganke playing video games, the game in particular that he’s playing is one of many references to Spider-Man’s history in gaming. Though it’s blurred and edited to fit Across the Spider-Verse‘s signature style, there’s no mistaking that the game Ganke is playing is 2018’s Spider-Man game from Insomniac and PlayStation Studios. An interesting nod, especially given that Ganke appears as a character in the game’s follow-up, Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
The Spot’s Origins
The Spot is a fascinating main villain for the Spider-Verse trilogy, and that’s partly due to his origins. Though Miles doesn’t recognize the strange individual, The Spot (whose real name is Jonathan Ohnn) explains their history. Being a high-ranking employee at Alchemex, Ohnn brought the spider that bit Miles into their universe while testing Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) and Olvia Octavius’ (Kathryn Hahn) collider from the first film. Ohnn even got hit in the face with a bagel while Miles and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) were escaping from Alchemex’s facility, and was there when the Spider-Men blew up the collider. The explosion disfigured Ohnn and gave him the ability to create holes in reality into other dimensions, officially beginning the vengeful quest of The Spot.
The Spot Sees Cell-Shading, LEGOs, and… Mrs. Chen?
Shortly after fighting his arch nemesis, The Spot tests his reality-hoping abilities by seeing where his spots take him. The first universe he visits is reminiscent of Spider-Man’s first-ever appearance in the Amazing Fantasy comics. The second world he goes into is one made entirely of LEGOs, with the toy’s reference feeling very appropriate given that Spider-Verse producers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both worked on The LEGO Movie franchise. The third dimension The Spot visits is the most surprising, with the villain coming face to face with Mrs. Chen (Peggy Lu) in her shop from the Venom films.
When trying to get home fast for his father’s promotion party, Miles has to take the subway to get there on time with the cakes he bought. On that train, he runs into another villain of the week character, Armadillo. Named Antonio Rodriguez in the comics, Armadillo is often treated as a joke character, but the thick hide that he’s named after makes him a formidable threat. That’s not the case for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as Miles quickly shocks him with a Venom blast and goes about his day.
Gwen Knows What Happens to Other Gwen Stacys
Gwen and Miles are both thrilled to reunite, but not all the news of Gwen’s multiversal adventures is exciting. In her travels in the last few months, Gwen has learned firsthand that the other versions of her almost always fall in love with Spider-Man, but almost always have a tragic ending. It’s a true statement as Gwens in alternate universes have often been killed, usually by a version of the Green Goblin. That being said, none of them had superpowers like Spider-Gwen does.
Mumbatan (Earth 50101)
For the first time in his life, Miles is entering universes beyond his own, and the first place he’s going to is Earth 50101, which is the home of Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni). Pavitr is this universe’s version of Spider-Man, residing in the city of Mumbatan – a combination of Mumbai and Manhattan. There, Pavitr defends his city from all manner of crime, but even he isn’t prepared for the threat that The Spot represents.
It makes perfect sense that Spider-Gwen would become close friends with Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya), who prefers to go by the name of Spider-Punk. Originating from Earth 138, Spider-Punk is a kind-hearted rebel who has a serious problem dealing with authority, especially after he overthrew President Norman Osborn in the comics. Its honestly a bit curious why he even agreed to join 2099’s task force let alone how he was even invited, but he proves to be an incredibly valuable ally for Miles.
Nueva York (Earth 928)
Spider-Man 2099 doesn’t get his name from being in Earth 2099, as the dimension he’s from is actually Earth 928. The year that Miguel O’Hara comes from is 2099, being the resident of the futuristic version of the Big Apple called Nueva York. The universe’s incredibly advanced technology explains O’Hara’s brilliant intellect and makes it the perfect place for Spider-Man 2099’s interdimensional task force.
It was reported back in April that Andy Samberg would have a role in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and we saw that ring true with his voice-over appearance as Ben Reilly, AKA Scarlett Spider. The fan-favorite comics character is a clone of Peter Parker, and is well-known for his existential views on life. He was created by the villain known as The Jackal, but eventually went against his creator’s wishes to destroy Spider-Man and became a crime-fighter himself. Samberg’s take on the character is clearly poking fun character’s angsty disposition, spending most of his time making his internal monologue external.
The Spidey Task Force’s Prisoners
The Italian Renaissance Vulture isn’t the first bad guy who broke the Spider-Verse’s rules. There’s a whole prison full of bad guys who found themselves popping up in the wrong universe. There are almost too many different villains to count, including several variants of Doctor Octopus, a few versions of Rhino, and even a Kraven. We’re sure we missed a few, but there’s one prisoner in particular who is impossible to miss.
Donald Glover Debuts as the MCU’s Prowler
Donald Glover made his brief MCU introduction as Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He’s portrayed as an average thief in the live-action film, but fans of the comics and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already know that the character is destined to become The Prowler. Davis even mentions that he has a nephew in Homecoming, indicating that Miles Morales does exist in the MCU and may one day appear. Still, we haven’t heard or seen Glover’s incarnation since 2017…until now. In that prison in Nueva York is Donald Glover’s Aaron Davis, who is now decked out in Prowler gear. Hopefully, we’ll see him put that gear to use someday in a later MCU project.
Playstation’s Spider-Man Has a Cameo
Even though Ganke was playing the game earlier in the film, we see that the version of Spider-Man from the PlayStation video game also makes an appearance, being seen in the prison section of the base. If you look closely in the lobby part of the base, you can also see him joined by the PlayStation version of Miles Morales. Spidey here is still given a brief voice line from Yuri Lowenthal, who voices Spidey in the game and is set to return for the hugely anticipated next chapter, Spider-Man 2 on the PS5.
Spider-Man 2099 Is Building a New Suit
When Miles first meets Spider-Man 2099, the background features what appears to be a white Spider-suit in construction. This appears to be 2099’s new suit from the comics, which he originally got from Peter Parker himself after he decided to retire. Obviously, he didn’t, and he donned this new even more advanced suit to fight futuristic crime.
May “Mayday” Parker
Since reconciling with his universe’s Mary Jane (Zoë Kravitz), Peter B. Parker is now the proud father of a rambunctious baby girl, who he and Mary Jane have named after his late aunt, May. Nicknamed Mayday, the toddler is already eager to swing around the world and test out her powers. Mayday also has a comics history, eventually growing up to become Spider-Girl to fight crime like her father did.
The most sacred mission of 2099’s task force is to preserve “canon events,” which are key events that must happen in a respective Spider-person’s life. We see examples of these events include the death of an uncle and the bonding with a symbiote. We also see a close police captain dying is a canon event, which presents a big problem for Miles and Gwen’s fathers.
Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire Make an Appearance (Sort Of)
The crew behind the Spider-Verse films have consistently expressed interest in bringing the live-action Spider-Men to their movies. Does that happen in Across the Spider-Verse? Kind of. While Tom Holland doesn’t appear, we do see brief scenes from the Sam Raimi trilogy and The Amazing Spider-Man films, both of which prominently feature Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
Cartoon Spider-Men That Appear
Not only do the live-action films and video games get represented, but the animated shows get some love in the film as well. Right around the time Miles begins his big escape, we see the Spidey from the fan-favorite The Spectacular Spider-Man appear, once again voiced by Josh Keaton. We also glimpse the Spidey from the 1960s cartoon, whom Spider-Man 2099 argued with in Into the Spider-Verse‘s end credits scene. The Spidey from Spider-Man: Unlimited can also be seen in the background.
Alfred Molina Stops By to Say “Hello Peter”
The last big cameo we caught was a brief voice line from Alfred Molina, coming from his MCU debut appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home. When Miles is running from the Spider-People, he runs through a training facility filled with cutouts of popular Spider-Man villains. One of those villains is Doctor Octopus, who says the line “Hello Peter” just like Molina’s character did in the hit film.
The Sinister Six Cartel
Spider-Man’s most notorious team of villains may finally be arriving in the third film in the trilogy, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. Per a radio report from J.K. Simmons, the Sinister Six Cartel is calling the shots on Earth 42 – the universe that doesn’t have a Spider-Man and instead has an evil variant of Miles as the Prowler. What villains make up the Sinister Six in this universe isn’t known, but it’s bound to feature some of Spidey’s greatest foes after the second film’s cliffhanger ending.
Spider-Gwen Forms a New Task Force
Knowing her best friend is in trouble, Gwen has formed a new team of Spider-Friends since Spider-Man 2099 and his army won’t help. This new team consists of Spider-Gwen, Peter B. Parker, Mayday Parker, Spider-Punk, and Spider-Man India. Also in the mix, and largely absent throughout the rest of the film, are Gwen’s friends from the first film, including Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) with a new mech, Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). All of whom are ready to save their friend from an evil version of himself.