One of the year’s biggest and most pleasant surprises has to be Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Few films this year have captured as an intense a combination of critical and audience reactions. As of this writing, the film rests at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, including my own review in which I champion the film as “an electric shock to the system of superhero cinema.” I am in love, and I want more.
Don’t worry; we’re going to to get more. As we reported on, shortly after that first round of critics saw the film, Sony Pictures Animation started contemplating sequels. One for Spider-Gwen, one for Spider-Ham, one for Spider-Nicolas Cage. Each splinter of the Spider-Verse could carry a franchise as long as the filmmakers bring as much care to the proceedings as directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman did to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The conclusion of their film hinted at another collision of worlds and sent this writer’s mind spinning down a web of possibilities. Yes, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) must return, but now that we’ve broken the dimensional barriers between all Peter Parkers, the opportunity to get extremely wild has arrived. Any reader of Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse comics knows that there are hundreds of Spider-Men, Women, and Toons.
Here are my Top Five Spider-Beings that I would like to see in a sequel, but feel free to @ me with your choices as well.
Miguel O’Hara hails from Nueva New York in the far future of 2099. The character was created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi and was meant to throw a fresh coat of paint on the ideas of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Miguel is a smart dude like Peter Parker, and he is actively trying to recreate the circumstances that turned our favorite nerdy teen into the famous wall-crawler. Obviously, he’s successful, and he immediately sets to pursuing the heroic legacy of Spider-Man. He has his own Rogue’s Gallery of costumed villains that also took their inspiration from the past: Venom 2099, Green Goblin 2099, Sub-Mariner 2099, Doctor Doom 2099, etc. The same “What-If” thrill we got from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is found in the pages of his comic, and even the sillier twists on old comics are a heckuva lotta fun.
From the far-future to the wild west, The Web-Slinger is the fastest draw in any brothel or gambling saloon. His Uncle Ben was ruthlessly slaughtered by Doc Ock Holiday, and he swore an oath of vengeance against his entire villainous posse. The character pops up in the Spider-Verse comics, but my favorite version of the Web-Slinger appears in the “Return to the Spider-Verse” two-part episode on Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. He’s strapped with a pair of web-cartridge six-shooters and rides a trusty steed. Voice actor Troy Baker digs deep into his inner Clint Eastwood and delivers a Peter Parker worthy of the Pancho. The added bonus is that you wouldn’t need to find another actor to portray him in the sequel.
May “Mayday” Parker is the teenage daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. She first appeared in Marvel’s “What If” comic book series but was eventually spun off into her own series by creators Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. Not quite the far future of the 2099 universe, Spider-Girl still manages to encounter diabolical doppelgangers of her father’s original rogue’s gallery. Despite her parents’ concerns, Mayday Parker eventually dons the costume once worn by her father’s clone Ben Reilly (aren’t comic books kooky?) and strives to live by Uncle Ben’s code of “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Her introduction into the Spider-Verse would send Jake Johnson’s schlubby Peter Parker into a psychological meltdown and would provide plenty of awkward laughs. Although, I’m here for any and all Spider-Gwen/Spider-Girl smackdown team-ups.
The Superior Spider-Man
Before Dan Slott unleashed the Spider-Verse to wreak havoc in the comic books, he implanted the villainous mind of Doctor Octopus into the body of Peter Parker. For over a year, Doc Ock masqueraded as The Superior Spider-Man until Parker regained control of his brain. The comic was an uncomfortable experience for longtime Spidey fans as it destroyed a lot of goodwill amongst his amazing friends. Once Doc Ock was expelled from Parker’s body, he discovered that he enjoyed the Spidey persona a little too much and he transformed his identity into The Superior Doc Ock and partnered with the brainwashed Captain America during that whole Hydra fiasco. Seeing this version of Spider-Man clash with Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir or Spider-Ham is simply too easy to resist.
The Amazing Andrew Garfield
They never come right out and say it in the Spider-Verse comic books, but they do heavily imply that the Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations of the character exist. How amazing would it be for a portion of the sequel to include a Who Framed Roger Rabbit live-action blend featuring Garfield back in the tights? Sure, I guess they could use Tom Holland if they wanted to, but I feel like Garfield never got a fair shot at a good screenplay with his films, and a Spider-Verse appearance could be a kind of redemption for the actor.