Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Character Guide
Tonight, Marvel fans will finally be able to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in theaters. Although anyone who stayed through the end credits of Venom already caught a glimpse of the action, this is a Spider-Man movie like no other. Not only is this the first Spidey flick to put the focus on someone other than Peter Parker, it’s also the big screen debut of Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, SP//dr, and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
While the film will offer up introductions for all of its Spider-heroes, it’s bound to be a little confusing for casual viewers. To get everyone up to speed for the new release, we’re breaking down the main characters and their comic book origins.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore)
Actor and rapper, Shameik Moore, has the key role as Miles Morales. Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli created Miles as the new Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line. Bendis killed off Peter Parker in that alternate timeline, and Miles was conceived as his replacement. Born to a black father and a Puerto Rican mother, Miles was also bitten by a radioactive spider that gave him super powers. In the comics, Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis, was the master criminal known as the Prowler. Miles was inadvertently exposed to the spider after one of Aaron’s successful heists, and it eventually led to a confrontation between the two.
Miles took his inspiration from the late Peter Parker to become the new Spider-Man, and that backstory appears to be largely intact in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The trailers have shown Miles interacting with Peter and questioning if he’s worthy of living up to Peter’s legend. This story is ultimately about Miles learning from Peter and creating his own legacy.
Peter Parker (Jake Johnson)
Within Into the Spider-Verse, Peter Parker died, and his blood was used to help create the spider that gave Miles his abilities. Peter and Miles’ relationship is the focus of the movie, with Peter becoming a mentor for the younger Spider-Man. This version of Peter shares some of the events from Sony’s original Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire, including the scene from Spider-Man 2 where Peter stops the car from hitting Mary Jane.
Jake Johnson (Tag, New Girl) provides Peter’s voice in the movie, and he’ll be experiencing Parker luck on a brand new level. His Peter is closer to middle age, and he’s had to deal with a lot of setbacks and tragedies. To be honest, he’s probably not the best example for Miles. But there is a kinship between them.
Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld)
What would have happened if Gwen Stacy were bitten by the spider instead of Peter Parker? Comic book readers found out when Spider-Gwen made her debut in Edge of Spider-Verse #2. That was actually a part of the Spider-Verse crossover that inspired the name of this film. Note that she doesn’t call herself Spider-Gwen. She’s simply Spider-Woman on her world, but Marvel has recently been calling her Ghost Spider as well.
In Gwen’s world, Peter died tragically and she was wanted by the police. Gwen and Miles also have something in common: both of their fathers are part of the NYPD. Hailee Steinfield (True Grit, Pitch Perfect) is providing Gwen’s voice in the movie. Thanks to her Spider-Gwen persona, Gwen Stacy is now more than just Spider-Man’s dead girlfriend. She’s earned a massive fan following, and a starring role on Disney XD’s Marvel Rising.
Spider-Ham (John Mulaney)
Although the majority of Spider-heroes were bitten by radioactive spiders, Spider-Ham was a spider who was bitten by a pig! In an anthropomorphic Marvel world, May Porker was a well meaning scientist who created a nuclear hair dryer. Her experiment backfired and irradiated her, shortly before she bit Peter the spider. That caused him to mutate into Peter Porker, a pig with with the proportional strength and abilities of a spider.
Spider-Ham has fought alongside characters like Captain Americat, Goose Rider, and more. More recently, Spider-Ham has teamed up with the real Spider-Men in Spider-Verse and Spider-geddon. Saturday Night Live veteran John Mulaney is lending his voice to Spider-Ham for the new movie.
Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn)
Peni Parker is not like any Spider-Man or Spider-Woman you’ve ever heard of before. She comes from an alternate Earth, and pilots the SP//dr suit, a mecha that is half robot and half spider. Peni agreed to take up the mantle of SP//dr and continue her late father’s work as a soldier.
Kimiko Glenn (Duck Tales, Bojack Horseman) is voicing Into the Spider-Verse’s Peni, who appears to have been changed from her comic counterpart. She seems far happier and almost Manga-like, with lots of bright colors instead of the more subdued shades of her previous appearances. The design of her mech suit also appears to have changed.
Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage)
It’s been a very good year for Nicholas Cage (Ghost Rider, National Treasure). The longtime comic book fan finally got to provide Superman’s voice in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, and now he gets to play Spider-Man Noir as well. This Peter Parker comes from a world where it’s still the ’30s. In this timeline, Peter became an investigative reporter at the Daily Bugle.
After tracking down the Green Goblin of his world, Peter accidentally knocked over a vase filled with spiders. One of the spiders bit him, and he dreamed abut a spider-god before awakening with super powers. Unlike the real Peter, Spider-Man Noir never learned to live by the motto “with great power comes great responsibility.” He’s also not shy about using guns, and he may have more in common with the Punisher than any of his other counterparts in this film.
Do you have a favorite Spider-Man or Spider-Woman? And are you looking forward to seeing these heroes team up on the big screen? Which alternate Spider-Men do you want to see in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below!