SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains mild SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Proceed at your own risk.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is full of new characters we’ve never seen on the big screen before, including multiple different Spider-People from across the Spider-Verse, a network of different universes. One of those is Spider-Gwen, also known as Spider-Woman, a version of one-time Peter Parker paramour Gwen Stacy who is bitten by a spider to become the powered Spider-Person of her universe. Keeping up? Of course you are, you know this stuff inside out.
So, anyway, in the film, Gwen’s backstory is touched on. In her universe, she says, Peter Parker was her best friend and they fell out when he became jealous of the fact she was bitten and not him. In Miles Morales’ universe, where Stacy ends up after the ‘super-collider’ that Kingpin activates smushes the universes together, Spider-Gwen becomes a mentor to Miles as he takes on the role of Spider-Man after his universe’s Peter Parker passes.
Basically, Stacy plays a peripheral role here but such is her presence and the intrigue around her that you’re left wanting more. With that in mind, it’s exciting to hear that writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller want to make a Gwen Stacy spin-off.
Gwen Stacy Has More to Tell
“I mean, we fell in love with these characters having gotten to know them very intimately for the last few years,” says Miller. “Each one of them I feel is my little baby and I want to protect them. It’s called Into the Spider-Verse but really the Spider-Verse comes to Miles’s world. So we don’t really get a lot of each of these characters’ homeworlds — just enough that you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, I’m curious to see more’.”
So yes, the filmmaking duo are absolutely interested in exploring more of these characters further. But none more so than Gwen.
“I mean certainly we adore Gwen and think she’s got such an amazing wealth of storytelling that we only scratched the surface of,” says Lord.
“And the style of her world is based on the book by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi — who does some amazing, beautiful colouring,” adds Miller. “So she’s such an iconic-looking character, and that world is great.”
But it’s not just Gwen Stacy they think is ripe for a spin-off.
Noir and Anime Universes
“It would be fun to do a crazy ‘Noir film in noir style,” says Miller, with Lord adding, “Let’s just do Sin City with Spider-Man Noir.”
In Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man Noir is voiced by Nicolas Cage – and we defy you not to want more from his sardonic world-weary turn, and monotone world.
And then there’s Peni Parker and her mechanised SP//dr suit. Perhaps the most eye-catching of all the Spider-People appearing in the film, Peni is an anime character — and one which gave the team a lot of freedom to play with. So what would a Peni Parker spin-off look like?
“That would be incredible,” says Miller. “What’s cool about Peni and the animation is that she’s a 3D CG character that has been rendered and stylized to look like she’s flat and hand-drawn. There’s hand-drawing on top of it. The way that was done was really groundbreaking and revolutionary, and it was done by a lot of people who are really big anime aficionados and actual anime artists. So it was done with a lot of love and care.”
That’s Not All, Folks
There’s plenty of comedy throughout the film but one of the major sources is Spider-Ham, a Porky-Pig style version on Spider-Man from a universe in which a spider is bitten by an anthropomorphic pig.
“I mean he’s got a tragic tale,” says Lord. “He’s trapped in a world of puns and he can’t escape. So I think there’s some real pathos in that he just wants to be taken seriously but everything in his world is made of animals…”
Miller thinks there’s definitely somewhere to go with Spider-Ham: “He feels built for seven-minute shorts that go either on TV or before a movie — a short type of thing that just lets you go all-out cuckoo.”
“How wonderful would it be if it someday felt obligatory to put a Spider-Ham short before every Marvel film?” suggests Lord.
“That would be everything…” says Miller.
“You can’t do an Ice Age movie without Scrat,” adds Lord. “What if, like, Homecoming 3 is just … the audience demands it.”
While they’re keen to tell more of Miles Morales’ story, Lord and Miller are very aware that there are a lot more Spider-People that didn’t make it into this film.
“My new favourite is Spiders-Man,” says Lord. “Which is a man made out of a bunch of spiders. It’s real! I promise you that anything you could make up already exists somewhere in a comic.”
If you stick around until the end of the credits, you’ll see a post-credits scene that introduces one of the best moments of the entire film – and [SPOILER ALERT], Spider-Man 2099. In the sequence, Miguel O’Hara is transported back to meet Spider-Man of the Earth-69 universe.
Miller suggests that this could make a good buddy movie spin-off, “with a ‘Man from the future and a ‘Man from the past”.
“They’re buddy cops travelling the multiverse together,” suggests Lord.
Miller explains, “It was obviously meant as a tease of the possibilities of what the multiverse can offer. I think it’s still very early to say this is what the future holds but we love Miguel O’ Hara as a character, and he’s such a cool version of Spider-Man — he’s got his own cool vibe — that we felt we needed to include him in this movie. We love him.”
If you don’t immediately want to see all these movies, you’re dead inside.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits screens in the UK on December 12, the US on December 14 and Australia on December 13.