In the hunt for Marvel Easter eggs, there’s no movie more ripe for in-jokes and references than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The animated film from producers Chris Lord and Phil Miller is overflowing with ideas that comic book fans have been waiting for – the feature-film debut of Miles Morales! Seven different Spider-People! Parallel universes! – and that commitment to fan service extends to the many hidden details in Into the Spider-Verse.
From the gut-punch of an ending in Avengers: Infinity War to a starring role in the PS4 Spider-Man game, 2018 was a significant year for Peter Parker, and Into the Spider-Verse gives Marvel a chance to shine some light on its many other arachnid heroes. Miles Morales takes center stage, with support from Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and SP//dr, and the Spectacular Spider-Ham, to save not just his Earth, but every Earth in the multiverse.
While the heroes save the day, the filmmakers took time to sneak in a ton of references and Easter eggs that make Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse worthy of a rewatch.
The Co-Director Hid His Family In Background Graffiti
It takes a lot of work to make an animated film, and that means the crew put in a lot of hours to make sure the final product matched their vision. All that work can be tough on their families too.
In a Q&A at a Los Angeles screening, co-director Bob Persichetti said he hid nods to his wife and kids in the graffiti that covered the walls in the train tunnels to let them know he was thinking of them during the long days and nights working.
Miles Morales Has Apparently Met His Makers
Early in Into the Spider-Verse, when Miles looks for someone to talk to about his new powers, two names jump out as he scrolls through his contacts. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created the character of Miles Morales for Marvel’s Ultimate universe in 2011, and both of them appear in Miles’s phone.
It’s an appropriately meta touch for a movie produced by Chris Lord and Phil Miller, who’ve made hit meta-comedies like 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie.
‘Clone High’ Gets An Alternate Universe Sequel
Into the Spider-Verse producers Chris Lord and Phil Miller started their Hollywood careers with the 2002 MTV show Clone High, a short-lived animated series that has become a cult favorite in the years since. While the original show only lasted 13 episodes, Lord and Miller gave themselves a “Sliding Doors” opportunity in their animated universe by hiding an advertisement for Clone College in Miles’s Times Square.
In this universe, Clone High was successful enough to follow its characters into their college years.
Romita Ramen Is A Family Business
At one point, Miles walks past the sign for a noodle shop called Romita Ramen. While it sounds like a great place to score some tonkatsu, it’s also a nod to two artists who have had a huge impact on Spider-Man over the years: John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr.
The older Romita took over art duties after Steve Ditko abruptly left the series in 1966, and he drew Peter Parker in the era where he became one of the biggest heroes in Marvel Comics. He created villains like the Rhino, Shocker, and Kingpin, and drew the very first appearance of Mary Jane Watson.
John Romita Jr., meanwhile, is also considered one of the greatest Spider-Man artists of all time, and had beloved runs on Amazing Spider-Man in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s.
There Isn’t Just One Stan Lee Cameo
While he only has one vocal cameo, animation allowed the filmmakers behind Into the Spider-Verse to continue paying tribute to the late Stan Lee throughout the movie. Lee pops up in the background a ton, from shots of subway crowds to bystanders on the sidewalk.
Co-director Bob Persichetti told Collider, “If you just pause, he’s in a lot of them. That guy is all over New York. He’s a busy man.”
Animator Nick Kondo revealed one of Lee’s more notable cameo’s toward the end of the film when Miles is swinging between train cars. Lee can be spotted in the window of one of the cars making the “thwip” gesture as Miles runs by.
Miles’s Dad Has Some Throwback Contacts
If Miles Morales has Ultimate Spider-Man’s creators in his phone, it would make sense that his father would be in contact with an older generation of comic book creators. After Miles goes AWOL from his private school, Jefferson Davis reaches out to his brother for any word on his son’s location.
While scrolling through his contacts, Jefferson breezes past Steve Ditko, the artist who created Peter Parker with Stan Lee back in 1962.
A Recognizable Community College Student Makes A Cameo
Early in the film, Mile visits his uncle, Aaron. In Aaron’s apartment, there’s a TV in the background playing a clip from Community. Specifically, it’s from the episode “Anthropology 101,” which shows Donald Glover dressed in Spider-Man pajamas.
Glover actually played Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming and voiced Mile Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.
Seth Rogen And Evan Goldberg Gave The Directors An Absurd Idea For A Fake Movie
Co-director and co-screenwriter Rodney Rothman called in a favor with his friends Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg to help bring the alternate version of Times Square to life. When asked to come up with an idea for a movie the director-producers might make in a parallel universe, they pitched a fake film called Hold Your Horses that would star Rogen as a jockey.
The concept was all Rothman needed to design a Hold Your Horses poster that features prominently in the background as the various Spider-People arrive in Miles’s version of New York City.
Pop Culture Is Weird In Miles’s New York City
The filmmakers had lots of fun populating their alternate Earth with little details that show subtle differences between the animated world and the real world. Perhaps playing off Marvel’s reputation for depicting actual celebrities and pop culture in their comic pages, Into the Spider-Verse is riddled with billboards, posters, and advertisements for products that are just slightly off from our universe.
During the Times Squares scenes, there’s a billboard advertising a movie called Baby Showers that looks suspiciously like the poster for Bridesmaids. There’s also an ad featuring Steph Curry where the NBA MVP is famous for playing golf. And don’t miss a chance to see the Red Man Group play the next time you’re in Miles’s NYC.
Some Classic Spider-Man Villains Pop Up In Spidey’s Lair
In Spider-Man’s lair, there are several pictures and mug shots affixed to the wall with webbing. The pictures show some classic villains, including Hammerhead, Nightwatch, and the Rose.
Comic Book Creators Get Credit For Their Work
Every time a new Spider-Person is introduced in Into the Spider-Verse, they get an introductory montage that condenses their origin and the story of how they got sucked into Miles’s universe. Those montages begin with a comic book cover for each hero, and those covers even credit the writers and artists who introduced them, like Spider-Gwen creators Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez and Peni Parker creators Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt.
Peter Parker Is Blonde In Miles’s Universe
When Peter Parker is unmasked just before he dies, the audience sees he has blonde hair – which is surprising, since every depiction of the original web-slinger has had dark hair. The lighter shade is a nod to Ben Reilly, a clone of Peter, who dyed his hair blonde during The Clone Saga in the ’90s.
Miguel O’Hara Is Ready For Whatever Comes Next
As if the many different Spider-People that already appeared weren’t enough, Into the Spider-Verse sneaks another fan-favorite hero in via a post-credits sequence. Oscar Isaac voices a character credited as “Interesting Person #1” on IMDB that comic book readers know as Miguel O’Hara, AKA Spider-Man 2099.
In the comics, O’Hara is a scientist who has his DNA spliced with a spider’s in an experiment and uses his superpowers to combat an evil corporate monopoly that controls Nueva York in the year 2099. The post-credits scene seems to be setting up the inevitable Into the Spider-Verse sequel since O’Hara acquires a watch that allows him to travel between universes and gather Spider-People to face an unnamed threat.
Stan Lee Protects His Intellectual Proerty
As is custom with Marvel movies, Stan Lee makes a cameo in Into the Spider-Verse, but the timing makes this appearance feel a bit more emotional than others. Stan Lee passed earlier in 2018, and his Spider-Verse cameo comes after the public finds out about Spider-Man’s passing.
There’s a heartfelt moment where Lee’s shopkeeper tells Miles that the Spider-Man costume always fits in the end. He then points at a “No Returns or Exchanges EVER” sign, which serves as a solid gag and maybe a nod to Stan Lee’s checkered history with Marvel.
The PS4 Suit Shows Up In The Spider-Cave
When Miles meets up with the other dimensionally adrift Spider-People inside the “Spider-Cave” beneath Aunt May’s shed, there are plenty of background details that shed light on the fallen Spider-Man’s work. There are photos of the Kingpin and his crew tacked to one wall, while a series of display cases show off a number of different costumes, including the suit designed for Spider-Man on the PS4.
The rest of the cases hold other Spider-Man suits that comic book and video game fans might recognize, including the Electro-Proof and “Big Time” Stealth suits.
Chris Pine Has Some Pipes
At the beginning of Into the Spider-Verse, the version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man from Miles’s Earth (voiced by Chris Pine) gives a quick rundown of his career behind the mask to get the audience up to speed. In the montage, Spider-Man mentions how he capitalized on his popularity with branded cereal, popsicles, and even his own comic book. He also recorded a Christmas album.
Fans who stay through the credits get to hear one of those holiday tunes sung by Chris Pine himself.
Spider-Man Goes Into The Spider-Meme
The post-credits sequence doesn’t just tease Miguel O’Hara’s mission to recruit Spider-People for his cause; it actually shows his first recruitment mission in one of the movie’s funniest bits. Spider-Man 2099 goes back to 1967, where he lands in the world of the original Spider-Man cartoon – the same cartoon that spawned the Spider-Man Pointing meme.
O’Hara and the retro Spider-Man argue over who the real hero is and who pointed first, while a police officer and J. Jonah Jameson add commentary.
The Live-Action Movies Get Several Shout-Outs
Into the Spider-Verse gives a few quick shout-outs to the live-action Spider-Man movies in a series of montages. Peter kisses Mary Jane while dangling upside-down, mirroring a scene from Spider-Man; he punches a car that crashes into a restaurant, which is very similar to a scene in Spider-Man 2; he stops a train with his webbing like in Spider-Man 2; and he even mimics that infamous dance from Spider-Man 3.