After nearly 20 years and eight films featuring everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, Spider-Man is coming to theaters in animated form this weekend. We’ve got all the details on the film and various versions of the character involved.
Back in 2014 when Sony’s computers were hacked following the release of the film The Interview, it was revealed that Sony had been developing an animated Spider-Man film with Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. In 2015 they confirmed the project for a 2018 release. Then in 2017 it was revealed that the film would focus on the character of Miles Morales and be titled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Since then we learned the film would feature multiple versions of Spider-Man including Peter Parker, Spider-Hamm, Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Gwen. Who are these characters, and what do they mean for this story? We have all the details.
In the early 2000’s Marvel decided to create a new line of comics that lined up more closely with the Spider-Man and X-Men films called the Ultimate line. This line also featured titles for the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, with the Avengers being renamed The Ultimates. The Ultimate line was disbanded in 2015, but in 2011 Marvel made a drastic change to the Spider-Man story by killing off Peter Parker in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Before Peter’s death a young Afro-Latino teenager named Miles Morales is bit by a spider that was being experimented on to recreate the formula that created Spider-Man. When Miles watches Spider-Man die, he decides to use his powers to help the city.
Even though the Ultimate line of comics ended in 2015, Miles has still become a major character in the regular line of Marvel comics. Fans have grown to love Miles just as much as Peter, and many petitioned for Miles Morales to be the Spider-Man used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, potentially being played by Donald Glover. Sony and Marvel stuck with Peter Parker for those films, but that interest is likely what helped push Sony to make this film. Phil Lord and Chris Miller both admitted that they wanted to use Miles Morales for this film from the day they signed on and Sony agreed it was a smart idea.
Voiced by Shameik Moore (Malcolm in Dope), the film sees Miles become Spider-Man for the first time after the Peter Parker of his world, voiced by Chris Pine (Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman), is killed by the Green Goblin (Jorma Taccone). After suiting up for the first time as Spider-Man, Miles runs into another Peter Parker, from a different universe, voiced by Jake Johnson (Lowery in Jurassic World). They join together with several Spider-Men from various universes to stop a threat to all reality.
Gwen Stacey is one of the most well known Spider-Man characters in the vast array of supporting roles in the comics. More than anything she’s known as one of Peter Parker’s first loves who was tragically killed when Peter tried to save her during an attack by the Green Goblin. Her character was killed in “The Amazing Spider-Man issue #121” in 1973, and through the years has usually remained deceased. Like Uncle Ben, the story of her death has long been a lesson for Peter Parker that sometimes things don’t work out no matter how hard you try.
In 2014, writer Jadon Latour and Spider-Man editor Nick Lowe decided to take the character down a new path. Latour had only known Gwen’s character as an example of fridging, where a female character is killed or harmed to help the male character grow, and wanted to give her a better storyline. During the 2014 storyline “Spider-Verse,” they introduced a mysterious unknown Spider-Woman who would come to be revealed as Gwen Stacey from another universe that was given the powers of Spider-Man. The success of the character through that storyline led to her own spinoff comic. She has appeared in multiple other comics and in various cartoons and video games since 2014.
For Into the Spider-Verse, Gwen Stacey/Spider-Gwen is voiced by Hailee Steinfeld (Emily in Pitch Perfect 3). She is one of many alternate versions of Spider-Man that come to Miles Morales’ world during the film. Sony is already so impressed with Into the Spider-Verse that they have greenlit an all-female spinoff that will likely feature Spider-Gwen as the lead character.
Marvel has constantly created versions of their heroes set in different universes and timeframes for crossover events or short run stories. One of the more popular alternate versions of Spider-Man has been Spider-Man Noir. Introduced in a four issue limited series in 2009, this version of Spider-Man is set in 1933 during the great depression. In this version young reporter Peter Parker is bit by a highly venomous spider while investigating a smuggling ring and gains superhuman powers. After the death of his uncle and mentor, Ben Urich, at the hands of the city’s major crime lord, Norman Osborn, Peter decides to use his powers to clean up the city.
Spider-Man Noir has been featured in various cartoons and video games since the introduction of his character in 2009. Nicholas Cage (Mandy) is voicing the character for Into the Spider-Verse as another alternate version of Spider-Man that joins forces with Miles Morales.
Introduced as part of the Spider-Verse storyline from 2014 that brought Spider-Gwen into the comics, SP//dr is another alternate universe version of Spider-Man but with a Japanese Manga twist. This version is Peni Parker, a Japanese-American middle school student who pilots a psychically controlled mech suit known as SP//dr. The suit is also controlled by a radioactive spider that has a psychic link with Peni. SP//dr and Peni join Miles’ team in the film with Peni being voiced by Kimiko Glenn (Geena in Like Father).
Last but certainly not least is Spider-Ham. Portrayed in the film by none other than comedian John Mulaney (himself in Crashing), Spider-Ham was introduced in the 1983 one shot comic “Marvel Tales Starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1.” After his introduction the character became popular enough to warrant his own bi-monthly comic which lasted 17 issues. Since then Spider-Ham has shown up in various comics, video games and cartoons series. The character comes from a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, with each hero and villain having an animal counterpart, from Mary Jane Waterbuffalo (or Mary Crane Watsow in certain comics) to Green Gobler (he’s a turkey).
As with all the other heroes listed, Spider-Ham will be joining forces with Miles to help save all of reality.
Keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler throughout the weekend as we continue our coverage of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Be sure to catch the film when it hits theaters this weekend.