Everything to Remember Before Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
One week. That’s all that’s left before audiences can jump back into the Spider-Verse and go across it. It’s been five years but on June 2, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse finally opens, and audiences will get to see the return of Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker, and dozens of other Spider-people in the highly anticipated sequel.
And while there surely isn’t a better way to spend one of your nights between now and then rewatching the groundbreaking, Oscar-winning original film, maybe you don’t have the time. It’s also not streaming anywhere right now. So if you just want a quick refresher on what this universe is, what’s happened so far, and what you need to know about the main characters, look no further. And then check back next week for more coverage of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
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Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, is a teenager from Brooklyn, New York who leaves his normal school for a more prestigious one called Brooklyn Visions Academy. His father, Jefferson, is a police officer; his mom, Rio, is a nurse; and he’s passionate about art and music.
One day, while making graffiti art in the subway with his uncle Aaron, Miles is bitten by a spider that gives him superpowers. When he attempts to find out more about where the spider came from, he witnesses a fight between Spider-Man and Kingpin. Spider-Man is trying to stop Kingpin from using a massive machine that can destroy space and time and, in the process, Spider-Man is killed by Kingpin. Before he dies though, Spider-Man senses that Miles is like him and makes Miles promise he’ll stop Kingpin and destroy the machine, which they refer to as a collider.
At the start, Miles is just starting to learn about his powers; along the way, he meets several other Spider-people who were brought to Peter’s world through Kingpin’s collider. By the end of the movie, he’s been the official Spider-Man of his universe for exactly two days.
At the start of the movie, Peter Parker, voiced by Chris Pine, is Spider-Man in Miles’ dimension and has been that for 10 years. However, as mentioned in the previous entry, he dies at the hands of Kingpin trying to stop his inter-dimensional collider.
Peter also plays a posthumous role because Miles and his fellow Spider-people (more on them in a minute) end up at the home of his aunt, Aunt May. May’s backyard is where Peter kept his—basically—Spider-Cave, filled with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that help the other Spider-people. (Oh, and he had an album of Christmas songs.)
Kingpin’s collider, which was created by Dr. Olivia Octavius (aka Doc Ock), was created to open up pathways to other dimensions, mainly so that Kingpin could reunite with his family, who saw him being violent and left him. It works, but it’s very dangerous—and when it was turned on, it connected to five alternate dimensions and brought a different Spider-person from every dimension to this one: Earth 1610.
Because the Spider-people don’t belong in this dimension, they have random violent reactions called “phasing,” and if they stay on Earth 1610 too long, their bodies will disintegrate and they will die. And so all the Spider-people must work together to not only use Kingpin’s collider to get back to their dimensions, but destroy it so they don’t further mess up the multiverse.
Peter B. Parker
Peter B. Parker, voiced by Jake Johnson, is the first other Spider-person Miles meets. He looks just like Pine’s Parker, but older and fatter. In his dimension, he’s been Spider-Man for 22 years.
In that time, he married the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson, only for them to break up over Peter’s uncertainty about having kids. While wallowing in his sorrows, he’s sucked into Miles’ dimension and helps him, along with the rest of the Spider-people, win the day.
Most importantly though, his mentorship of Miles makes him realize that maybe he does want to have a family after all. Miles sends him back to his own dimension at the end of the movie and we see that he’s trying to reconcile with Mary Jane.
Gwen Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, is another Spider-person who is drawn into Miles’ dimension when Kingpin’s collider goes wild. Unlike the others, though, she’s blown back in time too. She arrives one week before the collider turns on and says that her Spider-sense told her to hang out at Visions Academy, where she meets and awkwardly befriends Miles. The two develop a friendship, and maybe a tiny bit of romance.
In her dimension, she’s been Spider-Woman for two years. In that time, she was able to save many people, including her dad, but not her best friend, Peter Parker.
Miles, Peter, and Gwen are also joined in Miles’ dimension by three other Spider-people. There’s Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), whose dimension is perpetually 1933 where he’s a private detective fighting Nazis. There’s Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), a young Japanese American girl from the year 3145 who has a psychic link with a radioactive spider who helps power a giant robot Peni’s dad made. Then there’s Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), a pig with the powers of Spider-Man who is from a cartoon universe where he’s a news reporter.
At the end of the film, each is sent back to their own dimension. Only Gwen, in the film’s final scene, breaks through back into Miles’s dimension.
But how did Gwen travel back through dimensions since Kingpin’s collider was destroyed? Well, the answer to that may come in the end credits of the film. That’s where we meet Miguel O’Hara, voiced by Oscar Isaac. Called Spider-Man 2099, he and his AI assistant Lyla have created a “gizmo” that allows Miguel to travel across dimensions at will. He uses it to go back to Earth 67 where he meets another Spider-Man, this one from an old cartoon. Most importantly, Miguel tells this Spider-Man he’s from the future and needs him to come back with him. Why? We don’t know just yet.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is largely about Miles finding himself and the Spider-Man he wants to be. And, as we learn in the film, every Spider-person needs to experience loss. For Miles, it’s the death of his Uncle Aaron, whom he looked up to, but is eventually revealed to be Kingpin’s henchman, the Prowler. The Prowler chases after Spider-Man and, when he realizes it’s Miles, hesitates to kill him. That’s when Kingpin kills Aaron.
Aaron’s brother—Miles’ dad—see this and thinks Spider-Man killed Aaron. This only adds to his distaste for the web-slinger, but in the end, Dad is able to witness Miles defeating Kingpin and destroying the collider, so he changes his opinion and becomes a Spider-Man fan. He does not yet know his son is Spider-Man. Only his Spider-friends, and his school roommate, know.
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