Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse swings into theaters this weekend. To say that expectations are high would be an understatement. The animated sequel to the Oscar winning animated film brings the Spider-Verse to the big-screen like never before. Sure, Into The Spider-Verse and No Way Home introduced the multiverse to the world of Spider-Man, but neither of them did so on as large a scale as this one. I had the pleasure of watching the film early and I absolutely loved it. One of the most exciting elements in the film was the connected web to the existing versions of Spider-Man already in existence. ESPECIALLY, the live-action elements.
Now, it’s not surprising that animated and live-action universes exist within the same continuity. The Disney+ series What If? explores various animated universes, and during Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness we see Doctor Strange travel through one animated universe, although its extremely brief. While Doctor Strange and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man are alluded to, they do not appear in Across The Spider-Verse. But don’t worry, plenty of other Spider-Men appear.
So, let’s break down those live-action inclusions and see how they fit into the Spider-Verse as a whole, and what they mean for the future of Miles Morales. But be warned, there will be spoilers.
You’ve been warned. So, if you’re still reading at this point we’re assuming you’ve already seen Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, or just don’t care about spoilers. Let’s swing into action.
Mrs. Chen – Venom/Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) is the big-bad of Across The Spider-Verse. He’s an interesting choice because he’s such a silly villain, but the film makes it work and he blends into the world of the Spider-Verse perfectly. His multiple “spots” can be used as portals and those portals can sometimes lead to alternate universes.
As The Spot travels through one of his universe channeling spots, he finds himself in the world of live-action, face-to-face with the fan favorite character of Mrs. Chen (Peggy Lu) from the Venom franchise. It’s short segment that is sure to elicit a reaction from audiences and confirms that the two franchises (and more) exist in the same continuity, although different universes.
Aaron Davis – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Donald Glover played the role of Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Aaron Davis is, of course, the uncle to Miles Morales and the villain known as The Prowler. The Prowler plays a significant role in both Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and Across The Spider-Verse, but besides this small, un-costumed role in the MCU, we haven’t seen the villain in live-action. Until now.
During one scene at the head-quarters of the multiverse jumping team of Spider-Men and Women, we see a room of captured villains being sent back to their respective universes. Among them, is Donald Glover in full costume (minus a mask) as The Prowler. In Homecoming we hear Aaron make reference to his nephew, insinuating that Miles Morales exists in the MCU, we’ve just not seen him… yet. Pretty exciting stuff!
Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man
We’ve already seen the original main-stream Spider-Man — Tobey Maguire — make his way through the Spider-Verse in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And while he doesn’t really make a full on appearance in Across The Spider-Verse, we do see his iteration of the character on more than one occasion, confirming that the Sam Raimi universe exists within this continuity, as well.
We see clips of the infamous upside down kiss shared between Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson in the background of one scene. We see him again during a scene speaking about the importance of Uncle Ben’s death. The inclusion isn’t necessarily surprising, but it’s exciting none-the-less.
Andrew Garfield – The Amazing Spider-Man
Lastly, there’s Andrew Garfield. If Tobey Maguire is going to be featured, then of course Andrew is too! Just like Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield isn’t featured directly; however, a clip from his film is used, as well. I can tell you that the crowd cheered loudly during this scene, show-casing just how popular Garfield’s version of the web-slinger has become over the years.
So, there you have. The live-action elements of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse explained. What do you think? Will we see more live-action and animation over-lap?