Warning! The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has swung onto the scene, presenting itself as the ultimate tribute to the beloved web-slinger. As a sequel to the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, it flawlessly embraces the spirit of its live-action counterpart, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Together, these films represent a culmination of 20 years of Spider-Man at the cinemas, with Across The Spider-Verse even acknowledging the events of No Way Home.
However, what sets this animated sequel apart is its remarkable dedication to honoring the rich history of Spider-Man on the silver screen. Within the web-swept world of the Spider-Verse, viewers are treated to an abundance of Easter eggs, Marvel references, and animated cameos that pay homage to the various incarnations of the beloved hero.
Yet, it is the seven live-action cameos that truly shatter the fourth wall and captivate the devoted Spidey fans.
Live-Action Cameos in Across the Spider-Verse
Peggy Lu - Mrs. Chen
Mrs. Chen, the owner of a San Francisco bodega, holds a significant role as a side character within the Venom franchise. Peggy Lu's delightful cameo as Mrs. Chen was strategically included as part of the marketing campaign for Across the Spider-Verse, making it a delightful surprise rather than a shocking revelation.
Given the opportunity, fans would overwhelmingly choose Mrs. Chen as the ideal representative from the Venom universe to make an appearance in this film. Her presence would undoubtedly secure the majority of the votes from the devoted fanbase.
Donald Glover - Aaron Davis
Donald Glover's surprise return as Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming, six years after his initial appearance, left audiences in awe. His portrayal of the live-action Prowler has solidified his position as one of the greatest comic book movie cameos to date.
The significance of this cameo goes beyond the storyline, as it hints at the potential for a live-action Miles Morales film in the future. The impact of Glover's cameo stretches even further back, as his portrayal of Spider-Man in a Community episode back in 2010 inspired the creation of Miles Morales by Brian Michael Bendis, shaping the course of comic book history.
In addition to the delightful cameos by Peggy Lu and Donald Glover, archival footage from past Sony Spider-Man movies spanning over 23 years also made appearances. These snippets were cleverly integrated as Miguel O'Hara narrated the pivotal moments in every Spider-Man's life, building the intricate canon of the Spider-Verse.
Andrew Garfield - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
A crucial moment featured in the Spider-Verse canon involves the tragic loss of a police captain who serves as a father figure, often portrayed as Captain George Stacy. A clip from The Amazing Spider-Man highlighted Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker enduring this pivotal trauma.
Following Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans of Andrew Garfield have fervently desired to see the actor return as Spider-Man outside of the MCU. This particular moment is sure to intensify the #MakeTASM3 movement, fueling the hopes and enthusiasm of fans longing for a continuation of The Amazing Spider-Man series.
Tobey Maguire - Peter Parker/Spider-Man
The Spider-Verse compilation also highlights the profound and universal experience of Spider-Man facing the tragic loss of an aunt or uncle. Several impactful shots from the iconic Uncle Ben scene in Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man are included.
For Spider-Man enthusiasts who grew up before the turn of the century, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy holds a special place in their hearts. These poignant moments are bound to ignite a wave of nostalgia, prompting many fans to revisit and rewatch the beloved films.
Denis Leary - Captain George Stacy
These canon events not only show Peter Parker's involvement but also the people lost in these events. Denis Leary's Captain Stacy is shown in his death scene from The Amazing Spider-Man.
Cliff Robertson - Uncle Ben Parker
In a powerful nod to the past, Cliff Robertson's portrayal of Uncle Ben is featured in the Spider-Verse compilation, appearing alongside Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker in the heart-wrenching death scene from the original Spider-Man film. This inclusion allows the original live-action Uncle Ben to take his rightful place in the Spider-Man renaissance of this decade.
Kirsten Dunst - Mary Jane Watson
Kirsten Dunst stands alone as the sole live-action Mary-Jane Watson featured in theatrically released films (as Zendaya's character in the Homecoming trilogy is named Michelle).
Among the numerous iconic moments in the Raimi trilogy, none surpass the cultural significance of the unforgettable rain-soaked upside-down kiss shared by Mary-Jane and Peter.
Alfred Molina - Doc-Ock (voice only)
In this montage of iconic Spider-Man movie moments, the absence of Tom Holland's portrayal is notable. Various theories circulate as to the reasons behind this omission, but it's important to note that the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man is not entirely excluded from this nostalgic journey.
As Miguel recounts the pivotal moments in Spider-Man's canon, the unmistakable voice of Alfred Molina can be heard uttering his iconic catchphrase, "Hello Peter." It's a spine-tingling moment that leaves a lasting impression.
The Animation/Live-Action Crossover
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse takes bold creative leaps, blending live-action and animation seamlessly. While the future of this groundbreaking franchise remains uncertain, the notion of these films evolving into a live-action portrayal of Miles Morales is now more prominent than ever.
Notably absent from the Spider-Society's canon-event scene is Tom Holland's portrayal of Spider-Man, a deliberate choice by Sony, indicating that they are reserving their most valuable Peter Parker for Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse.
The rationale behind Holland's exclusion is tied to the contrasting missions of the MCU Spider-Man and the Spider-Society led by Spider-Man 2099. The Spider-Society aims to maintain the structural integrity of the Spider-Verse by embracing key canon moments, even if it means accepting the loss of crucial individuals in the web-slinger's life, in order to shape them into the true Spider-People they are destined to be.
Tom Holland's Peter Parker, however, stood in opposition to this ideology throughout Spider-Man: No Way Home, tirelessly attempting to save everyone, even against the powerful forces of the multiverse. This conflicting approach is what ultimately transforms Miles from a welcome ally to a formidable adversary, making him Spider enemy number one within the Spider-Society's perspective.