Like any sane person, I’ve watched the new trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse about 20 times, looking for new details each time. There are so many Spiders! Some are familiar to even casual fans; others require the kind of esoteric knowledge gathered over years of nerdery. My knowledge falls somewhere in between, but thanks to decades of comics, cartoons, and video games, I’ve been exposed to most of the Spider-Man variants over the years. Below you’ll find a brief description of the various Spiders in the trailer, as well as a few others that may appear in the future.
Miles Morales, aka Spider-Man (Shameik Moore)
The guy we’re all here to see, Miles Morales was bitten by a genetically-altered spider created by the Alchemax Corporation. They made a whole movie about it. Miles has most of the original Spider-Man’s powers, including super speed, strength, and reflexes. He can also turn invisible and create a powerful “venom blast” through his touch that works a lot like a Taser.
Gwen Stacy, aka Spider-Gwen, aka Ghost Spider (Hailee Steinfeld)
Spider-Gwen, as she’s affectionately known by her many fans, has an origin story nearly as brutal as Earth-616’s Parker ever had. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, dancer and musician Gwen Stacy began a life of crime-fighting that sent her BFF, Peter Parker, into a spiral of jealousy and resentment. Parker toyed with his own DNA and eventually turned himself into the Lizard. Gwen accidentally killed Peter during his takedown and has been wanted by the police ever since. That includes her father, NYPD Captain George Stacy, and NYPD Officer Frank Castle. It’s complicated.
Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac)
Spider-Man 2099 was created in 1992, as part of Marvel’s futuristic reimagining of some classic characters. Miguel was a geneticist heading up Alchemax’s research division when he injected himself with an experimental serum that replaced 50% of his DNA with that of a spider. Rather than horrific cancers or extra eyes, O’Hara ended up with enhanced physical abilities like Parker’s, plus retractable talons, fangs, a venomous bite, organic web spinners, and extremely enhanced sight and hearing. Being a creation of the 1990s, he’s what the kids would call “extreme to the max” in toy commercials.
Peter B. Parker, aka Spider-Man (Jake Johnson)
Peter B. requires no introduction to fans of Into the Spider-Verse. A bit of a sad sack, he let himself go after breaking up with MJ. From the look of things he’s bounced back, and he and MJ now have Mayday, their spider-powered toddler. He’s got your basic power set, including super-strength, speed, and spider-sense.
Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman (Issa Rae)
If this Jessica Drew is anything like her comic book counterpart, she was accidentally given powers by her father in an attempt to cure her cancer. Side note: it would be great if real cancer cures gave us superpowers rather than making us sick and all our hair fall out. At any rate, Jessica ended up joining forces with HYDRA for a while before rejecting their ways and becoming a hero. She was replaced by a Skrull, banged Hawkeye, had a kid, and did it all. She’s strong, fast, and has her bio-electric shock ability.
Pavitr Prabhakar, aka Spider-Man 50101 (Karan Soni)
Pavitr is a desi Peter Parker. The same basic origin story, except his powers came from a mystical yogi, and his uncle, Bhim, was killed trying to stop a robbery that Pavitr ignored. Since then, he’s found his place as a hero in Mumbai and fights for truth, justice, and the Indian way. And he’s played by Karan Soni, which means Dopinder finally got superpowers.
Hobart Brown, aka Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya)
Hobart, Hobie to his friends, is punk rock personified. He’s anti-establishment, a friend to the common man, and once defeated Norman Osborn by smashing him over the head with a guitar. He’s got spider powers.
I’ve mentioned I’m a huge fan of Marvel’s Spider-Man and its sequel, Miles Morales. Insomniac’s games aren’t simply the best Spidey games out there; they’re some of the best games for the current generation, period. Their Peter Parker is experienced and world-weary but manages to keep his sense of humor despite numerous tragedies. The suit he wears, with its iconic white spider, was a gift from Otto Octavius before he turned evil. It appears he’s with the Insomniac version of Miles here as well.
Ben Reilly, aka Scarlet Spider
Ben’s been through some stuff, man. He’s one of the first alternate Spiders, a clone who originated in print way back in 1975. Since then he’s been killed and brought back more times than ’70s fashion. Sometimes good, sometimes a supervillain, Ben’s more than a little crazy. He’s gone by the Jackal, Chasm, and a dozen other names, but is usually 1 of the 2 clones known as Scarlet Spider.
Peter Parker asked for the Fantastic Four’s help in removing his black suit, the alien symbiote that later became known as Venom. He couldn’t go home naked, so Johnny Storm lent him a suit and Peter put a paper bag over his head. That’s the whole story. What? They can’t all have elaborate storylines.
This alt-universe version of Aunt May has four mechanical arms and web shooters she designed herself. She’s a genius with multiple degrees at a time when women are frequently dismissed for their gender. So like now but with no streaming television. She has no superpowers apart from her intellect.
Another invention of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spider-Cop is a gravelly voice and persona affected by Peter as he webs his way across the city, helping NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe restore communications and fight crime. He pretends to be a tough-as-nails cop out for justice; she pretends to be annoyed by his antics.
Spinneret and Spiderling, aka Mary Jane Watson and Anna May Parker
In an alternate future, Peter and MJ got married and had Annie. She developed her father’s powers and MJ wears a suit that mimics Peter’s biological gifts. They’re a crime-fighting family!
This version of Spider-Man was a sequel to the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series that was the first successful Spidey adaptation on the small screen - no, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends don’t count. Unlimited failed to find an audience, and was cut short.
He’s a horse with spider powers. Don’t overthink it.
There are other Spiders in the preview that aren’t worth going over. Keen-eyed viewers will identify the MK I, II, and III variants of the Spider Armor, developed at various times by Peter to take down particular baddies. There’s also a black & white version that looks straight from the newspaper comic strip; a vintage, original costume; an “animated” suit torn from either the animated series or Marvel’s Spider-Man; a purple one based on the Prowler costume; werewolf Spidey; and a gaggle of others.
Costumed characters I don’t see but would like or expect to include:
Kaine Parker, aka Scarlet Spider 2
Another clone from the Ben Reilly era, he starts evil but eventually becomes a reluctant hero in Houston, TX. He’s got many of Spidey’s powers, some of them more powerful than Peter’s own. He can also generate a kind of acid from his hands, has a superhuman healing ability, and can psychically link with spiders.
Aña CorazÃ³n, aka Spider-Girl
Originating in the 616 universe, she arrived at her powers via mystical means and has many of the same gifts as Spidey, plus camouflage and an assortment of others. She’s passionate and always ready to do what’s right.
Captain Universe Spidey
The Uni-Power is an extra-dimensional, sentient force that fights for good with the assistance of various hosts. It grants them near-limitless abilities; invulnerability, flight, energy and weather manipulation, and an array of others. For a time, Spider-Man was its host and did a lot of good with its gifts.
The Black Suit
I was surprised to see no black-suited versions of Spider-Man in the Spider-Verse. No Agent Venom (aka Flash Thompson), original flavor Venom, or any of the times Peter dons a regular black suit when he decides it’s time to fight crime more aggressively. This includes the time Kingpin discovered who he was and Aunt May was almost killed in an assassination attempt. Peter wore a black suit, broke into prison, and beat Kingpin nearly to death as a warning to the rest of the criminal underworld.
This is far from a comprehensive list. I’m sure folks have spotted other Spider variants in the crowd. If you have, shout them out in the comments! And look for still more when Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into theaters on June 2.