Technically, the congregation of Spider-Men outside the pages of comics happened in the 90s animated series, but in 2018, when Sony released Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it presented the scope of the multiverse to a larger fanbase, which eventually culminated in the fulfillment of the dream of seeing three live-action Spider-Men of our generation together in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Needless to say, when the second installment of the movie was announced, fans had pretty high expectations, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse didn’t disappoint a bit. If the first entry had shown a glimpse of the Spider-Verse to the audience, the second one opened a vista to the interconnected universe, displaying all the spider-madness it had to offer. Scattered among innumerable Spider-Character appearances, teases, references, and homages, there were plenty of Easter eggs in Across the Spider-verse, and although it’s not humanely possible to list every one of them, we will try to pen down as many as we can.
Every MCU Connection Is Referenced, As Well As The Sony Link
Sony’s Spider-Verse encompasses all forms of Spider-related media ever released across any platform; therefore, it was little to no surprise that in Across the Spider-verse, the MCU would be referenced in one way or another. The first MCU reference we get is from Miguel O’Hara, the leader of Spider-Society, a group formed to protect the Spider-Verse. As a result, Miguel and co. have access to the knowledge of every universe that contains Spider-Man characters. During his introduction to Gwen, Miguel chastises her for the collider explosion during the events of Into the Spider-Verse and mentions another fiasco related to Earth-199999, which is officially recognized as the MCU Prime Earth. Miguel states how Dr. Strange and “the little nerd,” which is Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, almost ended the multiverse by their tampering with the sensitive spell. This was a direct reference to the central plot of No Way Home, where a botched identity-erasing spell by Doctor Strange brought the other two Spider-Men (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions) and their enemies into Earth in 1999 and almost destroyed the fabric of the multiverse in the process of undoing it. By recognizing the event, Spider-Verse also indirectly canonized all the major live-action Spider-Man movies.
Another MCU cameo that took the fans by surprise was Donald Glover’s version of the supervillain Aaron Davis, aka Prowler, who was seen being held captive at the Spider-Society HQ in Earth-928. Initially, we saw Aaron Davis during Spider-Man: Homecoming, and with him being the uncle of Miles Morales, it was basically confirmed that Miles exists in the MCU as well. The live-action cameo in an animated movie was a nice touch that somehow reminded us of Space Jam. Also, it kind of ensures that in the MCU, too, Aaron Davis will go down a dark path since his beginning as a small-time crook.
Sony’s own Venomverse is teased when Spot goes to multiverse traversal and meets with Mrs. Chen, the local convenience store owner of Eddie Brock’s (Venom’s) neighborhood.
Fan Favorite J. Jonah Jameson And Doc Oc Returned
No matter which Spider-Man of whichever world we are talking about, the legendary eccentricities of actor J. K. Simmons in the role of grumpy, irritable, and Spidey-vilifying editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson can never be replaced. Introduced in the Raimi Spider-Man movie trilogy as the character that was basically tailor-made for him, J. K. Simmons reprised his iconic role in Spider-Man: Far From Home in the MCU Earth-199999 as well, and even in Across the Spider-verse, every Earth has the same J. Jonah Jameson and all of them are voiced or played by none other than J. K. Simmons. It’s just a brilliant way to pay homage to the actor and the character, and it ties the Spider-Verse into an intricate bond.
Another beloved actor from the Raimi Spider-Man movies made a blink-and-you-miss cameo, who had previously also appeared in the MCU’s version of the Spider-Verse movie No Way Home. Alfred Molina’s version once again voiced Doctor Otto Octavius in a brief role, uttering his trademark line “Hello, Peter,” which hardcode fans will identify within a moment.
The Ever-Expanding Spider-Verse Itself
Across the Spider-verse really amplified the number of the Spider-Characters, from six in the previous movie to a staggering several hundred in this entry. We will try to mention as many as possible who either played a key part, had a brief screen time, or are significant in their own right.
For starters, we had all the major members of the Spider-Society, who were simultaneously busy protecting their Earth and the fabric of the Spider-Verse. Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 of Earth-928, is the founder and leader of the team, and his second in command is Jessica Drew, the bike-riding pregnant Spider-Woman. Activist/Punk Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk, is another significant member of the team, as is Spider-Man India, aka Pavitr Prabhakar. Peter B., aka Spider-Man of Earth-616, tried rekindling his relationship with his ex-wife Mary Jane and became the father of Mayday Parker, who has been displaying superpowers since her infancy.
Among the lesser-mentioned characters are Spider-Cat, the original clone of Peter Parker; the Scarlet Spider, aka Ben Reily; and the Original Spider-Man of The Amazing Fantasy comics in 1963, without whose appearance none of this would have happened in the first place. Spider-Byte, the digital rendition of the character named Margo Kess, handles the surveillance of Spider-Society. The Spider-Man of the Lego universe is also present, who is supposed to be Miguel’s strongest ally, as well as the prehistoric Spider-Rex, who has the additional ability to chomp through his gigantic mandibles while swinging across using webs released from his tiny forearms. There is a Spider-Man PS4 version present as well, along with the fan-favorite Spectacular Spider-Man, but the moments making the fans shout the loudest were the appearance of Andrew Garfield’s version of Spider-Man at the pivotal moment when Miguel was explaining the importance of Captain Stacy’s death. The appearance of Tobey Maguire’s Spidey during Peter B’s conversation with Miles about the importance of Uncle Ben’s death in the lives of Spider-Characters across the Spider-Verse was another significant cameos, even though both of these cameos were used footages from their earlier appearances. Here’s wishing we see three live action Spiders vibing with the rest of the Spider-fam properly in the next instalment.
More than the fan service, the cameos and teases of Across the Spider-verse were meant to be a celebration of the WebCrawler’s rich legacy of 70+ years and, in a way, a love letter to the ever-expanding fandom of the character as well – a fandom spanning across generations, grateful for being inspired through eras, and maybe through the multiverses.