The following contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is a visual masterpiece that ticks all the boxes for what devoted fans of Marvel’s iconic friendly web-slinger were hoping to see, especially with dozens of Easter eggs that have been thrown into the mix. Writing an article going through all Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Easter eggs would probably be enough to fill a lengthy dissertation, so it’s probably best to limit to just 10 (for the sake of keeping the word count short and for keeping my own sanity intact). So without further ado, here are the top 10 Easter eggs that may have swung passed your eye upon initial viewing.
1. Miles’ and Gwen’s Worlds
One of the most striking things about the Spider-Verse franchise is how visually striking the animation is. The various unique and well-designed worlds on display here are beautiful to look at, and they actually resonate strongly with the characters and their growth into their superhero personas. There is a contrast to Miles’ and Gwen’s worlds with having more distinct lines to identify the various skyscrapers and structures as opposed to Gwen’s world where the colours are more smudged.
However, something that their worlds both have in common is that some of the buildings further in the distance are more transparent with some disappearing completely from the frame. This could suggest that although the two of them have extraordinary abilities that allow them to zip through their environment in seconds, there is still a lot for them to discover. It is almost like when you need more experience points to unlock specific areas in a game.
2. The Spot’s Origin Story
This film introduces us to a new foe for Miles Morales to deal with named The Spot; a being that is entirely blank white in appearance but has black blotches on his body that act as mini portals to other worlds. At first, his presence is largely played for laughs until it is later revealed that he and Miles actually have much deeper connection. We learn that The Spot was once a scientist who worked on the Collider multiverse machine in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and following the destruction of that device, it transforms him into the being that we see him as in this sequel.
What you may have also missed, though, was that The Spot actually made a brief appearance in the first film when Miles chucked the bagel at him while he and Peter B. Parker escaped the facility. This throwback is simultaneously hilarious and something that progressively evolves into something far more sinister (more on this later).
3. Donald Glover as Aaron Davis aka The Prowler
At the point in the film where Miles goes to visit the Spider-Society; he enters an area full of imprisoned villains one of them being the Prowler; a mysterious masked individual with a power-suit who has appeared before in other Spider-Man series. The Prowler pops up here in live-action form, being played by none other than Donald Glover.
This cameo has a connection with Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) as Glover briefly appeared in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. There he played Aaron Davis and in this film he mentions that “he has a nephew in the city” and we all know who he is referring to. In the Spider-Verse films, Miles’ Uncle Aaron was also the Prowler but he ended up getting killed by the Kingpin in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Glover’s cameo is essentially a clever tie-in to that universe and shows what he could have become had the MCU continued to further explore his character. More about the Prowler later on.
4. The Canon Events
During his time in the Spider-Society universe, Miguel O’ Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 informs Miles that in each of these universes there is a ‘canon event’ which causes the Spider-being to become the hero that we all know and it is usually when someone they love is killed. We are then shown clips of this, and right in the background we see Tobey Maguire, in the form of archival footage from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, as he laying next to a dying Uncle Ben. There is also a brief cameo of Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker next to a dying Captain Stacy from Sony’s rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man films, also in archival footage. It was a touching moment that highlighted the limitations of Spider-Man’s previous heroic efforts and how sometimes they can’t save everyone.
5. The Spider-Society
If you were to take one aspect of this film that could be singled out into an Easter egg-style article of its own then it would have to be with the Spider-Society itself. It is a utopian hub that hosts all of the different portrayals and iterations of the character across a variety of media and literary sources.
The ones in particular that caught my eye were the Spider-Men from Insomniac’s PS4 video-game series, the cowboy Spider-Man and his horse named ‘Web-slinger’ (brilliant), a Spider-Cat, Spider-Monkey and even a Spider Dinosaur (please tell me it’s called Spido-Saur). This is only just scratching the surface of the many Spider-People included here, and the filmmakers have also teased that they have way more versions of the characters to include in the next film.
6. The Spot’s Portals
After their initial fight in the first act of the film, Miles manages to subdue The Spot by trapping him within one of his own portals. While stuck in a state of limbo, The Spot pokes his head into the different portals that surround him.
These bring him to worlds such as a Lego stop-motion world (which could be a little tie-in to the work that the screenwriters of this film Phil Lord and Christopher Miller did on The Lego Movie), but then we are brought to a real-world grocery store owned by Mrs. Chen (played in live-action form by Peggy Lu) who was a character in Sony’s spin-off Venom series. What this could allude to is a potential cross-over with the other Sony spin-off series in one large ensemble film, not just in animated form but potentially into the live-action films as well.
7. Hobie Brown aka Spider-Punk
I didn’t think it was possible for a Spider-Man variant to leave as much of an impact as Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Noir did in the first film, but my word, does Hobie Brown aka Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) come close. He has a very punk-rock aesthetic about him with a mohawk, electric guitar, and a static and jolted movement. Brown easily gets some of the biggest laughs in the film (Especially that line about “hating the AM and the PM”) but his presence is far more than being a just a caricature.
He is a rule-breaker as shown at one point when he sneakingly nicks equipment from Miguel to build a multiverse-travelling machine of his own. However, Hobie also helps Miles to escape from Miguel’s laser trap that he puts him. Brown, much like many famous punk-rockers on the English music scene of the 1970s, clearly is not interested in following any established pathway or obeying rules and just wants to do what he wants. To me, that’s pretty punk-rock innit?
8. The Guy in the Chair
This Easter egg isn’t of any particular importance to the larger narrative. Miles’ roommate, who was last seen in the previous film, pops up again here in one scene where he tells Miles that he won’t be his “guy in the chair.” This may be a reference to the character Ned Leeds who made an appearance the Spider-Man MCU films. He was Peter Parker’s best friend who was very eager to be the guy who communicates with him through a headset on a computer while he carries out his heroic deeds.
However, there is a storyline from the comics where Ned actually becomes one of Spider-Man’s many foes: The Hobgoblin. It is unlikely this could happen but this film has taught us to pay close attention to characters in the background because even something as sneaky as chucking a bagel at someone can be regarded as enough to create a threatening super-villain. He can also be seen playing one of the Spider-Man video games in the background which another nice little Easter Egg.
9. The Spot gave Miles his Powers
The Spot has been talked about quite a bit in this article because he does have a prominent role to play for the major events that unfold in the film. He keeps referring to himself as Miles’ “greatest nemesis,” which we expect to be played for laughs before we slowly start to realise that this may be true.
As stated earlier, we do see how Miles was responsible for transforming him into the way that he is in the film, but The Spot is also responsible for giving Miles his superpowers. He was responsible for bringing the spider that bit Miles from Earth 42 and into his world using the Collider machine. So The Spot may in fact be Miles’ greatest nemesis after all as the two of them wouldn’t have their abilities if it weren’t for the actions of the other.
10. Miles’ Destiny to Become The Prowler
When Miles arrives back to his family home on Earth 42, which he initially assumes to be his own world, he is about to tell his Mum that he is Spider-Man. In this moment, we can see that his jacket is lit in the same dark purple and green colours as the Prowler’s costume. This ties back to a blink-and-you-will-miss-it moment from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse where Miles meets the Spider-Man from his universe and their spider senses flash above their heads.
Spider-Man’s flashes blue and red (like the costume he is wearing), but Miles’ spider sense first starts glowing purple and green before immediately changing to the same colours as Spider-Man. This could suggest is that although Miles was destined to become the next Prowler if the Earth 42 spider hadn’t bit him. Now he finds himself in a world without his own father and Spider-Man and is staring at version of himself who was mentored under his Uncle Aaron (who is alive in this world) to become the next Prowler. That possibility has now become this world’s reality.
To me, this is a sequel that improves on every level from its predecessor which was already a brilliant film. There is a lot to take away from Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse on a thematic level, but also there is a lot that warrants a second viewing even if you just want to catch another reference or call back that you missed the first time. I am excited for the next chapter, Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse, and I am curious to see how it picks things up from the end of this film. I expect it to deliver the same level of quality as the previous two films and for it to have triple the number of Easter eggs as those films. That should make for a very in-depth future article.