Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – what happens next?
We discuss all the sequels, spin-offs and other follow-ups from Sony’s new animated superhero movie with producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller
New animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is finally here and it’s fair to say it’s an incredible spectacle, stuffed full of action, fan-friendly Easter eggs and hints about future adventures for new Spider-Man Miles Morales.
But now we’re sure you’re wondering – what’s next? Will there be a Spider-Verse 2? How does this all tie in to the Tom Holland Spider-Man? And what’s the deal with the Venom movies?
To find out, we caught up with the film's producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Lord also co-wrote the movie) - and as it turns out, this version of the Spider-Man world is just getting started…
Sony have reportedly already ordered a sequel for Into the Spider-Verse thanks to its extremely positive buzz (directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, according to Deadline), and Lord and Miller seem to think there's plenty of scope for another story.
"The possibilities are really endless, right?" Miller said.
"We've opened the door to the multiverse so there are a lot of other characters there weren't room for in this movie, but we've also fallen in love with Miles, and I feel like there's a lot more to tell with him and his story also.
"So really, it's pretty limitless the ways you can go with it. Hopefully audiences will love the movie just as much as we do, and there'll be desire for more, because there's certainly more to tell."
Generally, the film seems to suggest that following the destruction of Kingpin’s supercollider travel between different dimensions (or “universes”) in the multiverse has become easier, with Hailee Steinfeld’s Gwen Stacey communicating with Shameik Moore’s Miles through some sort of portal even after the former left him behind to return to her own universe.
“Hey Miles,” she says – “Got a minute?”
What exactly Gwen wants to chat to Miles about could be nothing, or it could set up another film entirely – but in any case, it’s not the only part of Into the Spider-Verse to hint at what could be next.
In the final post-credits scene of the film, we’re introduced to another alternate version of Spider-Man – Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 – who has managed to crack the secret of multiverse travel, aiming to recruit other Spider-people for an unknown reason.
In the end, his first stop is a universe based on the poorly-animated 1967 Spider-Man cartoon turns into a bit of a joke (and a meme reference), but considering Sony bagged Star Wars’ Oscar Isaac to voice Miguel we'd be surprised if this is the last we saw of Spider-Man 2099 and his mission.
"We love 2099 as a character, he's so cool, and we wanted to include him in this movie and sort of open up the world to future possibilities," Miller explained.
"His appearance is more of a showcasing of the possibilities of the future. Let's say that."
"I guess that's us being coy," laughed Lord. "We're not ruling it out!"
And why would 2099 be looking for more Spider-people? Well, we’re glad you asked…
What could happen in a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel?
The central idea for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is taken from a comic-book “event” series called Spider-Verse, which similarly saw all sorts of alternate-dimension Spideys teaming up against another foe.
However, the new movie adaptation only scratches the surface of the comic-book storyline’s plot, which saw a whole Spider-Army teaming up against the threat of the Inheritors, a species of vampire-like beings who fed off the spider-essence of different Spider-beings across the multiverse, killing them and destroying their universes in the process.
Still with us? Now, Into the Spider-Verse eschews most of that plot for a more focused story that focuses on the origin story for Miles Morales (mostly adapted from Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man stories) with just a touch of multiple Spider-Man action as they try their best to return to their own universes.
This leaves the massive, sprawling main story of the comic-book Spider-Verse (and its 2018 sequel Spider-Geddon) still up for grabs in a sequel, along with dozens (if not hundreds) of other possible Spider-Men and women who could feature.
Which other Spider-people could be in a sequel?
Alongside Miles, the original Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) and his younger counterpart from Miles’ universe (Chris Pine), Into the Spider-Verse features the following alternate versions of Spider-Man – Spider-Woman/Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), the cartoonish Spider-Ham/Peter Porker (John Mulaney), the pulp hero Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) and Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), a character inspired by anime tropes. Oh, and there’s Spider-man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) and 1967 cartoon Spider-Man after the credits, as we mentioned before.
"The line-up basically stayed the same from the beginning," Lord said.
"A lot of the other characters were based on, trying to find characters who were coming from as different worlds as possible both visually, aesthetically and animation style," added Miller.
"And also, personal experience. They could all hit on this theme of, 'It doesn't matter what walk of life you came from, how old or young you are, if you're a boy or a girl.' We all have something in common, and we all can be a hero."
Still, it may surprise you to learn that every single one of these characters is adapted from existing comic-books (i.e., none of them were invented for the movie, and some of them have been around for decades) or other media – and it may surprise you even more to learn that this barely scratches the surface when it comes to popular alternate versions of Spider-Man.
Some are people within the “normal” Marvel comic-book universe who just copied Spidey's act and some are from alternate dimensions (many introduced in the comic-book Spider-Verse event), but we wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the following in a sequel (deep breath):
Spider-Girl, Spider-Man’s daughter from an alternate future; Ben Reilly, a clone of Spider-Man; Kaine, a different clone of Spider-Man who was evil for a while; zombie Spider-Man; Superior Spider-Man, whose brain was overwritten by Doctor Octopus; Man-Spider, who has six arms; Spider-Man 1602, a version of the hero in Elizabethan England; Spider-Man 2211, another futuristic Spidey; Old Man Spider; Spider-Man Unlimited, a version trapped on a Counter-Earth; Ghost-Spider, an undead spirit of vengeance; a few versions that bonded with the Venom or Carnage symbiotes; a version that became The Punisher; Spider-UK, a British version; Spider-Wolf, a werewolf version; Cosmic Spider-Man, a Spider-Man with huge power; Cyborg Spider-Man; Spider-Punk, who is a punk; and a whole bunch of Spider-Women, Girls, Boys and Men who weren’t Peter Parker but just took up the name.
Hell, just recently the 2018 event Spider-Geddon shone a light on versions of Spider-Man where Aunt May (aka Spider-Ma’am), Uncle Ben or the Green Goblin were bitten by radioactive spiders instead of Peter Parker, taking on the mantle of Spider-Man themselves (also featuring Spiders-Man, a weird collection of psychic spiders who just think they’re Peter Parker).
In short: there are quite a few other Spider-people for a sequel to include, if Sony so choose.
What about the spin-offs?
Along with the news of the direct Into the Spider-Verse sequel, it’s been suggested that Sony are planning a spin-off based on three generations of female Spider-Man characters, written by Bek Smith.
"It would be great to be part of that, and we're certainly really excited that the movie is inspiring this kind of conversation," Lord said diplomatically on the subject of the spin-off.
"I think there are a lot of stories to be told in the multiverse."
"We really sort of opened up a door to infinite possibilities and it's exciting to think about the various different ways that it might go," agreed Miller.
"We hope that people embrace the film the way that we have."
At the moment this spin-off idea is in a very early stage, but it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that Hailee Steinfeld’s Spider-Gwen could be a part of the movie, along with other Spider-Women and Girls from across the comics multiverse.
However, it could also be that this spin-off will prefer to reunite some characters from the Spider-Man comics without spider-powers. We’re thinking characters like European mercenary Silver Sable (who’s featured heavily in the latest Spider-Man PS4 game), professional burglar Black Cat or psychic oracle Madame Web, some of whom were previously tapped for a live-action Spider-Man movie by Sony called Silver & Black.
Potentially, an animated take could be the way for Sony to finally make Silver & Black happen.
How does this tie into the main Marvel Spider-Man films?
Well, it doesn’t really. The Tom Holland Marvel Cinematic Universe films take place in a different universe to the events of Into the Spider-Verse, and the versions of Peter Parker we see in the animated movie aren’t the same as the one we see in the live-action films.
"Our movie takes place in another universe, so we were pretty free to do whatever we wanted to do," Miller told RadioTimes.com.
"We just wanted to make sure we were making a different film to what they're making over there. And luckily this movie feels like its own thing for sure.
"We would send scripts to Marvel to make sure that we weren't messing up anything."
Basically, the animated approach means Sony can make their own films with Spidey in without treading on Marvel’s toes (having essentially "lent" Marvel the character for the time being) – though we suppose the fact that Into the Spider-Verse introduces infinite parallel universes that can overlap means that technically, the two versions could cross over at some point. It’s incredibly unlikely, but it is possible.
And what about the live-action Sony films like Venom?
Well, those are continuing as well. There’s set to be a sequel for the Tom Hardy-starring symbiote adventure already, with that film’s post-credits scene setting up a story involving another symbiote called Carnage.
Meanwhile, other movies based on Spider-Man villains are also on the move, including a story about the vampiric Morbius starring Jared Leto.
The end of Venom suggested that this particular movie universe is one of the many in the new animated film’s multiverse (a post-credits scene from Venom included footage from Into the Spider-Verse tagged with the caption “meanwhile, in another universe,”) so technically these films could cross over too.
Generally speaking, though, it seems much more likely that Sony will want to keep their live-action and their animated superhero movies as separate as possible.
Though who knows? If a few years ago you told us a cartoon version of Spider-Man made by the Lego Movie guys would be one of the best superhero movies in years, we probably wouldn’t have believed you. Clearly, these days anything can happen…
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in UK cinemas now