Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the Into the Spider-Verse sequel, will hit theaters on June 2, 2023. And it will double down on the many multiversal variants of Spider-Man we already saw in Into the Spider-Verse. We already know some of the Spider-Man variants we’ll see in the upcoming animated movie. We have Spider-Woman, a.k.a. Jessica Drew, Spider-Man 2099, and even Spider-Punk, a.k.a. Hobart “Hobie” Brown. Then we have the rumors, like the ones that say the live-action movie Spideys like Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire could also appear. Even the PS4 Spider-Man is rumored to show up in Across the Spider-Verse. So which Spider-Man variants might we see in Across the Spider-Verse? Let’s break it down.
The TV Animated Spider-Man Variants That Could Show Up
If the live-action Spider-Mans pop up in Across the Spider-Verse, then the animated forerunners of Peter B. Parker deserve a chance to appear. Here are the ones we think deserve to swing in for at least a cameo appearance.
1960s Saturday Morning Spider-Man
The original 1967-1970 animated Spider-Man series made Peter Parker a household name to non-comics fans. The show made his theme song an iconic tune that everyone still knows today. He deserves recognition in the Spider-Verse. His voice actor, Paul Soles, sadly died in 2021. But a sound-alike could do the honors. We can call this guy “Boomer Spidey” and he sure would be a fun Spider-Man variant to see in Across the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
In the early ’80s, Spider-Man returned to Saturday morning cartoon dominance with a new show featuring the mutants Iceman and Firestar. Together with their Lhasa Apso dog, Ms. Lion (yes, really), they teamed up with other Marvel heroes and saved New York City from their high-tech HQ in Aunt May’s house. This is “Gen X Spidey,” and Peter and his pals need to represent in the Spider-Verse. This show’s Peter Parker, voice actor Dan Gilvezan, is still working, so he should definitely reprise the role.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series‘ Peter Parker
At the same time Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: The Animated Series blew up on Fox Kids, Spider-Man became a weekday afternoon hit. More than any other cartoon before it, the ’90s Spidey was pretty faithful to the comics. Christopher Daniel Barnes was the Spider-Man for Millennial kids, and we feel he’s definitely going to have to show up. Maybe this Spider-Man variant could spin his webs on some obviously early-CGI skyscrapers in Across the Spider-Verse.
The Spectacular Spider-Man
One of the more recent animated Spideys to win the hearts of kids (and more than a few adults) was The Spectacular Spider-Man. This wallcrawler for the Gen Z-ers aired from 2008-2009, only for a brief two seasons. But it still has quite a following to this day, and fans would lose it seeing this version of Peter meet his Spider-Man variants on screen.
Japanese Spider-Man, Earth-51778 (Confirmed)
Until a recent episode of Marvel’s 616 on Disney+, many fans had no idea about the existence of the Japanese Spider-Man. This version starred in his own TV series in Japan from 1978-79. Although Japanese Spidey might look totally familiar, he is a completely different character from Peter Parker. Because his show premiered on May 17, 1978, his Earth is designated as “Earth-51778.”
In the series, Spider-Man was Takuya Yamashiro, a young motocross racer who gains powers from an alien ship from Planet Spider. Not only does he gain the traditional Spider-Man powers, but he also can transform his spaceship into a giant robot. All of these things are cooler than Aunt May already. Yamashiro appeared in the Spider-Verse comics event, so we say put him in an animated film next. And it seems Across the Spider-Verse producer Phil Lord has already confirmed he’s in it.
The Marvel Comics Spider-Man Variants That Could Show Up
“The Spider” (Earth-311)
DC Comics works like Sandman helped make fantasy author Neil Gaiman famous in comics. But for Marvel, he wrote two prominent series: The Eternals and Marvel: 1602. As the title suggests, this took place on an alternate Earth where Marvel’s heroes lived in the Elizabethan era. One of those heroes was Peter Parquagh, the apprentice and assistant of one Sir Nicholas Fury. He eventually gets powers and becomes “the Spider.” The Spider-Verse sequel could have a blast with a Spider-Man in an Elizabethan ruff speaking in Shakespearean soliloquies. Someone call Sir Patrick Stewart to play this Spider-Man variant.
The Superior Spider-Man (Earth-616)
A few years ago, Peter Parker seemingly died. But one of his great foes, Dr. Otto Octavius, took over his body. The arrogant scientist decided to become a hero after experiencing the dying Peter’s memories, but he was still an insufferable jerk. To the world at large, he was still Peter Parker, now the CEO of Parker Industries. Otto just couldn’t understand why, with his genius, Peter Parker wasn’t rich. So, he very quickly made him rich. This arrogant jerk of a “superior” Spider-Man would certainly be a scene-stealer on screen.
Spider-Clan Spider-Man/”Manga Spider-Man” (Earth-2301)
In the early 2000s, Marvel experimented with manga versions of their iconic heroes. One of these was naturally a “manga Spider-Man.” This version of Peter Parker, hailing from Earth-2301, was a member of the ninja warriors known as the Spider Clan. He was trained in their ways by his Sensei, Ben Parker. He became the last member of the Spider Clan after Venom kills Ben under orders from the Kingpin. A Spider-Man variant with all the powers of regular Spidey and with ninja training? Sign us up.
Cosmic Spider-Man (Earth-91110)
Everyone always talks about how the X-Men’s Jean Grey got a huge cosmic power upgrade and became Phoenix. But did you know something similar happened to Peter Parker once too? Yes, in the late ’80s, Peter Parker bonded with a potent mystical cosmic force known as the Uni-power, or the Enigma Force. The “Captain Universe” power gave Peter immeasurable strength, energy manipulation abilities, transmutation, and molecular control. He even had near-omniscience. Cosmic Spidey was short-lived, but a version of a Cosmic Spider-Man who never lost these powers still resides on Earth-91110. We’d love to see this all-powerful Spider-Man variant in Across the Spider-Verse.
Six-Armed Spider-Man (Earth-92100)
Okay, so this wasn’t originally an alternate Earth Spider-Man. This actually happened to our Peter Parker in the ’70s comics. Back in the day, Peter Parker grew an additional four arms, after injecting a chemical he hoped would take away his powers. In the regular 616 universe, his six-armed Spider-Man status is reversed, thanks to Dr. Curt Connors and the DNA of Morbius the Living Vampire. On Earth-92100 however, this reversal never happens. And Spider-Man retains eight limbs. We’d love to see this ridiculous-looking Spidey pop up at least once in Across the Spider-Verse.
The Scarlet Spider, Earth 616 (Confirmed)
A toy release confirmed this Spider-Man variant for Across the Spider-Verse. Ben Reilly is as evocative of a certain period of ’90s comics as electric Superman and armored Batman. The highly controversial (but highly selling) “ Clone Saga,” introduces Ben as the long-lost clone of Peter Parker. He had all of Peter’s memories, but forged a new life for himself under a new identity. Ben (naming himself after his beloved uncle) eventually became a superhero himself, known as the Scarlet Spider.
He even took over as Spider-Man for a while, letting Peter and Mary Jane lead a civilian life. Once the Clone Saga ran its course, Ben died. But of course, he eventually returned. He’s since become beloved by those who grew up with ’90s comics. The blond Peter Parker from Into the Spider-Verse was a nod to Ben Reilly. But we think Spider-Verse 2 may give us the proper Ben Reilly at last on screen. And recent early action figures released seem to confirm this Spider-Man variant will indeed appear in Across the Spider-Verse.
Originally published on June 10, 2021.