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What’s Next for the Spider-Verse?

As ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ continues its triumphant run in theaters, what can fans expect from its sequel, and what’s in store for the wider web of Spider-stories?

Sony/Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Despite the heightened expectations for the sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse delivered on every level. Miles Morales’s (Shameik Moore) latest adventure is even more ambitious and visually spellbinding than its predecessor, an instant animated classic that’s on its way to becoming one of the most successful sequels ever released at the box office. It earned a domestic total of $120.5 million over its opening weekend, more than triple the original’s opening performance, and added an additional $88.1 million overseas. And the film’s follow-up is already scheduled for release less than a year from now.

Beyond the Spider-Verse is currently set to hit theaters on March 29, 2024. It does, however, seem rather unlikely that this date will hold given how soon it is. Hailee Steinfeld, who voices Gwen Stacy, recently told The Hollywood Reporter that she hadn’t started recording any lines for the next film, while also adding that she started her work on Across the Spider-Verse about four years ago. The Spider-Verse team might just be taking a different approach to the recording process this time around, but even the latest film’s trio of directors—Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson—seems to have no idea when Beyond the Spider-Verse will arrive.

Considering how well Across the Spider-Verse turned out after its release was pushed back by eight months, any potential delays to Beyond the Spider-Verse could ultimately pay dividends. The amount of detail in Across the Spider-Verse is astounding; one sequence alone took four years to complete. The Easter eggs and intricate designs in every unique universe that Miles or his Spider-contemporaries visit provide a reason for viewers to revisit this story again and again.

While we await the day that Miles’s story will continue in Beyond the Spider-Verse, there are still plenty of details in Across the Spider-Verse to parse through. Let’s break down where the film leaves us with its gut punch of a cliff-hanger, what’s ahead for Sony’s Spider-Verse at large, and how Across the Spider-Verse ties it all together.


At the end of Across the Spider-Verse, Miles escapes the clutches of Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) and the rest of the Spider Society to return to the safety of his family’s apartment in Brooklyn. He needs to stop the vengeful Spot (Jason Schwartzman) before the interdimensional villain kills Miles’s father (Brian Tyree Henry) in two days’ time, while hopefully not unraveling his entire universe in the process. But as Miles soon finds out, it isn’t his Brooklyn that he’s returned to, but the one that exists on Earth-42—an alternate version of Miles’s home where the radioactive spider that transformed him into a superhero originated. Before long, Spider-Man comes face to face with his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali), from a timeline in which he was never killed, along with Earth-42’s very own Miles Morales. And this version of Miles has had a much different childhood.

As explained by Miguel and the Spot, Earth-42’s radioactive spider ended up on Miles’s own Earth-1610 due to Alchemax’s experiments. And as a result, Earth-42 never got its Spider-Man. That left Miles to grow up in a city without a superhero, or the chance to become one, and he became the Prowler (Uncle Aaron’s persona on Earth-1610) instead of Spider-Man—an outcome that was undoubtedly affected by his father’s death. With the original Miles now in captivity to his bizarro self and Uncle Aaron, in a foreign dimension where he’ll continue to glitch, Across the Spider-Verse leaves Miles with a new set of challenges in addition to the growing threat of Spot and the Spider Society chasing after him.

Co-director Kemp Powers recently spoke to Variety about the creative team’s intentions behind introducing a new problem for Miles ahead of Beyond the Spider-Verse that wouldn’t be so easily solved. “It was really important to have this thing where Miles wants to save his dad, but then he’s faced with this Pottersville version of a world that was created because of this thing that happened to him,” Powers explained. “It’s not going to be as simple as him wanting to just escape this world. He’s going to try to do right by people who he feels he’s done wrong by, and that just felt more potentially emotional and unpredictable as we go into the third film. It complicates his mission in a way that we hope people find unexpected and also thrilling.”

Although Miles will need to find a way to escape the claws of the Prowler, he’ll also have to figure out how to help save a city—and a mirror image of his family—that has suffered as a direct result of him turning into Spider-Man instead of Earth-42’s Miles. A newscast at the end of the film, narrated by the infamous J. Jonah Jameson (voiced again by J.K. Simmons), mentions ongoing turf wars involving the “Sinister Six cartel”—a reference to the villainous group that consists of a rotating ensemble of Spider-Man’s greatest villains. There are also billboards across the city advertising businesses that feature names of frequent members of the Sinister Six, including Vulture and Electro, highlighting their rise to prominence in a world without Spider-Man to oppose them.

In Beyond the Spider-Verse, Miles may have to challenge any number of these villains as he seeks to undo all the damage that has been caused by Alchemax’s interdimensional tampering. And it will also be his responsibility to fulfill his promise to his mother, Rio (Luna Lauren Vélez), about taking care of her “little boy”—even if the version of him who’s lost his way is one who belongs to another universe entirely.

Spider-Ghost’s New Band and the Spider Society

While Miles is a little tied up in another dimension, Gwen has been busy assembling her own elite task force of Spider-beings to come to his aid and stand in opposition to the Spider Society. That crew consists of a mixture of Gwen and Miles’s friends from Into the Spider-Verse and Across the Spider-Verse: Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Peter Porker (John Mulaney), Spider-Man Noir (Nic Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn); and new additions Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya), Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni), and even baby Mayday Parker (Elizabeth Perkins).

There was an overwhelming number of Spider-people in Across the Spider-Verse, and yet the narrowed focus on Pavitr and Hobie, along with Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) and Miguel, made for some of the most fun sequences in a film that had too many to count. The increased emphasis on Gwen’s life in her universe also helped reposition her character’s prominence in the franchise, while adding greater depth and significance to her relationship with Miles. All of the above limited the screen time available to most of Into the Spider-Verse’s supporting cast, with Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Ham appearing only at the very end, and Peni getting just enough time to show off her shiny new mech suit.

Beyond the Spider-Verse will merge these two groups into one now that each has had space in its own film to be properly introduced. (Just imagine the conversations we’ll get between the anarchistic Hobie and the Looney Tunes–style Spider-Ham.) Together, they’ll have to face Miguel, Jessica, and the rest of the Spider Society as Gwen and Co. try to help their friend, and as Miguel does what he believes is best for the welfare of the multiverse. Miguel’s theory is that Miles is the anomaly that created all of these interdimensional issues in the first place, which doomed his universe’s original Spider-Man before creating Spot and all sorts of tears in the multiverse thereafter.

One of the biggest plot points that the upcoming conclusion has to resolve is Miles’s place in the Spider-Verse, and whether there’s any truth to Miguel’s argument that Miles is a mistake who was never meant to be Spider-Man. This conflict is a clever way for the Spider-Verse creators to draw from the racist and bigoted response that certain portions of Spider-Man fandom have had to Miles Morales ever since the character was created in 2011, as some Spider-stans have always been hostile toward the idea that a Black, Puerto Rican teenager could stake a claim to a mantle that once belonged only to Peter Parker. It’s also something that was foreshadowed by Rio’s speech to Miles early in the film, as she spoke of her fears that there wouldn’t always be people around who rooted for him like his parents did, or that there would be those who told him he didn’t belong.

Between the triumphs of Into the Spider-Verse and Across the Spider-Verse, the Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales video game, and the comics series from writers including Cody Ziglar, there’s no question that Miles has solidified his status as Spider-Man for new generations of Marvel fans. Yet Miles will still need to solidify it for himself in Beyond the Spider-Verse. Thanks to Gwen and their friends, he won’t have to do that alone.

The Past, Present, and Future of the Spider-Verse

One of the most ambitious feats that Across the Spider-Verse accomplishes is its ability to connect the entire Spider-Verse—not just in the way that it adapts so many characters from the comics, but also in how it weaves in the popularity and prolific presence of Spider-Man across all media into the very foundation of its plot. Miguel and his artificial intelligence program Lyla (Greta Lee) explain the nature of the “canon” to Miles, giving him a lesson in the history of Spider-Man in fourth-wall-breaking fashion.

There are images pulled from 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man no. 90, the original death of Captain Stacy, alongside those from 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which recreated the event on the big screen more than 40 years later with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Denis Leary as Captain Stacy. Uncle Ben’s death in 2002’s Spider-Man is juxtaposed with Uncle Aaron’s death in Into the Spider-Verse. As Miguel sees it, there are certain events that define the life of a Spider-being that cannot be altered, and any diversion from that natural order could lead to the catastrophic consequences that Mumbattan is dealing with after Miles’s intervention in Pavitr’s evolving origin story. The logic sounds similar to the foundational principles behind the Time Variance Authority in Loki and its mission to preserve the Sacred Timeline; in teaching the concept of the multiverse to Miles, Lyla even projects a luminous, branch-like visual representation of how it works, similar to the imagery used in Loki.

These connections to Spider-Man’s multimedia universe go well beyond the confines of Miguel and Lyla’s history lesson. Across the Spider-Verse also features Miles’s roommate Ganke (Peter Sohn) playing Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, cameos by the star of the animated series The Spectacular Spider-Man (Josh Keaton) and Mrs. Chen (Peggy Lu) from the live-action Venom films, and the return of Donald Glover as a live-action Aaron Davis, who has gotten himself his own Prowler suit since he first appeared in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Despite the movie’s high volume of crowd-pleasing Easter eggs and prominent guest appearances, these moments never feel trite in the way they’re presented. Within the context of Across the Universe, they’re examples of how this franchise continues to cleverly test the limits of what’s possible. In more ways than one, Across the Spider-Universe is the ultimate Spider-Man movie.

In light of the critical and commercial success of the latest Spider-Verse movie, which comes on the heels of one the highest-grossing films of all time in the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sony has plenty of plans to keep expanding its Spiderweb after Beyond the Spider-Verse (hopefully) comes out next year. On the live-action side, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is set to lead Kraven the Hunter in October, followed by El Muerto (starring Bad Bunny) and Madame Web (starring Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney) in 2024. In addition, a sequel to Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in development, with no scheduled release date. Sony has struggled with quality control of its Spider-Man-adjacent projects, like 2022’s Morbius, but that’s not stopping the Spider-content train from raging on.

Sony intends to start developing live-action TV shows in the Spider-Verse as well, including the introduction of Cindy Moon in Silk: Spider Society (from Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang) and a show centered on Spider-Man Noir from writer-producer Oren Uziel (The Lost City)—with Across the Spider-Verse’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to executive produce both. There are almost too many other projects in various stages of development to keep track of; among them are a fourth Spider-Man movie in the MCU, an animated Spider-Woman movie, a live-action debut for Miles Morales, and a revival of the obscure villain Hypno-Hustler with Donald Glover set to star and produce.

A lot of these upcoming Spidey stories may never come to fruition, and several have already paused production due to the ongoing writers strike in Hollywood. But even with the conversation about superhero fatigue not subsiding anytime soon, Sony is doubling and tripling down on its Spider-content. That might not be the best thing considering some of the more recent results, like Morbius, but as long as these projects continue to revolve around Lord and Miller’s animated Spider-Verse, there will always be a Spider-Man story to look forward to.