WARNING: spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
As with every superhero movie (or Taylor Swift music video) there are bound to be a million easter eggs that represent other things, because it’s not enough to just see a movie anymore, you have to know the lore. But it’s fun to do the Leonardo DiCaprio meme when you see something that others don’t so if that’s your prerogative, then Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is the movie for you!
Among the vibrant animation and critically acclaimed web-slinging, there are numerous easter eggs hiding out in the movie, mostly consisting of various iterations of Spidey and his human counterparts. There are quite literally hundreds of bits of callbacks and references jam-packed into the adventure, but here are some that you might have missed.
J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
You probably didn’t miss this, but it’s fun to talk about! J.K. Simmons returned to the Daily Bugle as J. Jonah Jameson in multiple different iterations throughout the movie, even with his own little blockhead as a Lego. Maybe he should get his own spinoff about the power of journalism in the Spider-Man universe. They have an incredible photo policy there.
Speaking of Lego Spidey, an entire Lego Spider-Man sequence was featured as a nod to Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s work on The Lego Movie. What’s even cooler is that they added the Lego scene after a clip of the trailer remade as legos went viral, so they reached out to the Twitter user who made it. Turns out he is a 14-year-old who now has a movie credit. Sometimes you don’t have to stay in school! Just play with Legos.
It seems like the only person who really made a name for himself in the multiverse is Doctor Strange, thanks to his ability to be present in just about every universe out there. At one point, Spider-man 2099 warns Gwen to not “get him started on Doctor Strange and that little nerd back on Earth 199999,” referring to the events in Spider-Man: No Way Home. That little nerd in question is Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
But wait! You simply cannot have a Spider-Man film without bringing back the best villain we all love to hate: Venom. While several variations of the character and his suit can be seen throughout the film, a live-action Mrs. Chen, who appears alongside Tom Hardy in Venom also makes a small cameo in her store.
‘Spider-Man’ For PS4
Miles’ roommate Ganke is seen playing the 2018 Spider-Man game on the PlayStation 4 in the background of one of the scenes. He also makes a joke about not being Miles’ “Guy In The Chair,” which might have been a reference to Peter Parker’s friend Ned Leeds in the Tom Holland-led Marvel installments.
Donald Glover’s Prowler
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Donald Glover appeared as Aaron Davis, who is known in the comics as The Prowler. While Glover only has a small cameo in Homecoming, Glover as The Prowler is seen during the Nueva York segment of Across The Spider-Verse meaning that he might just have a larger part in the next installment.
Mahershala Ali’s Prowler
Is this getting a little confusing for you? It would be weird if it wasn’t. Mahershala Ali voiced The Prowler in Into The Spider-Verse and unfortunately met his demise, but since time isn’t real and nobody really dies, Ali’s iteration of the villain came back from a brief moment towards the end of the movie.
Alfred Molina also makes his iconic return (again) after appearing as Doc Oc in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This time, he has a small cameo as a cutout in a training facility while Miles is running from various spider-people.
Sometimes, a bagel is just a bagel. Other times, it’s a clear reference to the multiple multiverses thrown at you from every angle. In one brief moment in the movie, a billboard with a bagel appears as a nod to Everything Everywhere All At Once, the Oscar-winning movie from last year which helped bring the concept of a multiverse to a wider audience by using tax fraud.
One of my favorite Easter Eggs in Spider-Man Across the Spiderverse: the significance of BAGELS to The Spot's origin as a multiverse threat.
I thought, huh, like Everything Everywhere All At Once!
Sure enough, right above Ohnn's apartment…
— Erik Voss (@eavoss) June 4, 2023
Basically Every Other Spider-Man
While Spider-Man 2099 is doing a bit of wall-breaking by explaining the concept of canon events, there are scenes from just about every other Spider-Man movie, including Andrew Garfield’s portrayal and Tobey McGuire. Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker from the first Into The Spider-Verse also appear, making it a whole family affair.