Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse swung into theaters this week to rave reviews, as audiences were collectively floored by the film’s incredible animation, stellar soundtrack and compelling story. However, while fans are thrilled by the next chapter in Miles Morales‘ story, there is a common complaint amongst those who might not be as…online as others, and missed a key piece of news over the past year or so.
“Wait, that’s how it ends?!?”
“HUH?! How could they just cut it right there?”
Yup, Beyond The Spider-Verse is coming, folks—this is a two-part sequel! In December 2021, Phil Lord and Chris Miller confirmed that there was too much of Miles’ story left to squeeze everything into one film. It was at that point that Beyond The Spider-Verse (originally called Across The Spider-Verse Part 2) was born! Given that it’s been 18 months and each film’s title has been restructured, it’s understandable that some moviegoers are completely thrown by Across The Spider-Verse‘s cliffhanger ending. Cutting to the credits in such a suspenseful moment? Come on!
Whether we like it or not, fans will have to wait just under ten months (hopefully) to see how things wrap up for Miles and his multiversal Spider-Pals, as our next installment is scheduled to hit theaters on March 29, 2024. So, how do the events of Across the Spider-Verse set up our ultimate conclusion, Beyond The Spider-Verse? Let’s discuss!
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse*
Wait…that’s how it ends?
Across The Spider-Verse ends quite abruptly, when Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) finds himself face-to-face with an alternate version of himself (Jharrel Jerome) who has become the Prowler. Our hero had intended on returning home to save his father from dying at the hands of the Spot (Jason Schwartzman), but instead winds up on Earth-42, the birthplace of the spider that gave him his powers.
When Beyond The Spider-Verse begins, there will be a great deal of flux right off the bat. Earth-42’s Miles seems to be without the compassion that makes his Earth-1610 counterpart so special and endearing, as evidenced by the fact that the former looks prepared to try and kill the latter. Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) is aware that Miles has been rerouted and has gathered reinforcements to come to his aid in the form of Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya), Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni), Spider-Ham, Peni Parker and Spider-Man Noir; the band is getting back together!
It appears Gwen doesn’t know Miles’ exact location. Additionally, even if she does know that he’s on Earth-42, she would have no reason to know where Aaron Davis’ apartment is. So, while Miles is likely to start the events of Beyond The Spider-Verse by fighting an alternate villainous version of himself (we see in one of the final shots of Across The Spider-Verse that he was about to free himself from his restraints), the rest of Gwen’s band will be desperately trying to rescue Miles in time to get him home to battle the Spot. And then, of course, there’s the enraged Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) to deal with.
What else has been set up for Beyond The Spider-Verse?
There are a number of loose ends that will need to be tied up during Beyond The Spider-Verse besides Miles’ battle with Earth-42’s Prowler. One of those loose ends is the Spot, who is fueled by Miles dismissing him as a “villain of the week” and has become far more menacing than before. After zapping himself with the super-collider from Pavitr Prabhakar’s universe, the Spot shows Miles a vision of the future where Captain Jeff Morales (Brian Tyree Henry) loses his life. Miles’ desperate attempt to get himself home in time to prevent this from taking place is what causes him to become stranded on Earth-42 in the first place.
So, if we’re keeping score here, Miles has a pair of dangerous super villains to deal with when Beyond The Spider-Verse begins. But that’s not all, there’s still Miguel O’Hara to deal with! With that multiversal watch at his disposal, you better believe that he’ll be scouring different universes trying to find Miles and have a word with him.
Let’s get one thing crystal clear: Miguel is not a bad guy, nor is he an anti-hero. Miguel is a good guy who is a bit misguided. His intentions are good, he wants to avoid the disruption of “canon events” so that things proceed the way they’re intended to throughout the multiverse. In trying to keep everything in order, however, he has become cold, calculated and harsh. He appears both surprised and frustrated that a 16-year-old doesn’t take kindly to his assertion that he should sit back and allow his father to die because it’s “supposed to happen.” In what universe would that conversation end well?
It’s an absolute certainty that Miguel and Miles’ conflicting perspectives on how to handle destiny and possibly re-write history will once again clash in Beyond The Spider-Verse. Miles is going to get home one way or another—probably with the help of Gwen and her Spider-Band—and it’s likely that Miguel will be there waiting for him. Will their clash resolve itself in time for a final battle with the Spot? Can Miles change the way his story ends, or is he destined to experience tragedy once again in the form of a lost loved one?
An epic Spider-Versal conclusion awaits us
Phil Lord and Chris Miller have done a spectacular job bringing the Spider-Verse to life with these first two films. Characters who have been grossly underrepresented and hidden in the shadow of the iconic Peter Parker over the years have finally been given their moment in the spotlight.
The bar has been set extremely high, but based on the top-notch storytelling that has taken place so far, there should be very little doubt in Beyond The Spider-Verse‘s ability to stick the landing. Here’s to hoping the Spider-Verse continues to become larger and more welcoming to all for many years to come.
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