SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. If you have not yet seen the film, read on at your own risk!
“To be continued.” When those three words appear at the end of a film or TV show, they are both exciting and vexing. On one hand, it gets you hyped for the future, and on the other, you are immediately instilled with impatience. It’s a rough mix of feelings, and one that is delivered by the ending of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.
With the forthcoming Beyond The Spider-Verse set to hit theaters next year, the filmmakers behind the new animated sequel felt the freedom to end the movie on a big cliffhanger that sets up the next chapter, and that’s exactly what they have done. So what goes down in the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse ending, and how does it set up the follow-up? It’s in the aim of addressing both of those questions that we’ve put together this feature.
What Happens At The End Of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
The beginning of the end in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse arrives when Miles Morales discovers a horrible truth: because the radioactive spider that bit him was from another universe and not meant to turn him into Spider-Man, he is actually the root cause of all the anomalies that Miguel O’Hara is trying to stop. Feeling betrayed by his friends and not willing to let his father die to save the canon of his universe, Miles doubles back to the Spider Society headquarters and surreptitiously accesses the Go Home Machine.
With Spider-Byte helping out by delaying a system shutdown, Miles is transported away from Nueva York, a.k.a. Earth-928. Furious, Miguel kicks Spider-Gwen off the strike force, sending her back to her home universe of Earth-65, and he travels to Earth-1610 along with Jess Drew and Scarlet Spider to find Miles.
As Miles struggles to get back to his family’s apartment, Gwen goes to her own home and has a confrontation with her father for the first time since leaving. She explains that her mask is to her as his badge is to him, and in understanding, he tells her that he is retiring from the police. He also reveals that Hobie stopped by and left her something, and she discovers that it is a hacked together multiverse device – which she then uses to try and help Miles.
Finally back home, the protagonist has an emotional moment with his mother that is punctuated with the revelation that he is Spider-Man… but she has no idea who Spider-Man is. It dawns on Miles that he has been sent to Earth-42, which is the universe of origin for the spider that bit him and gave him his powers. In this world, there is no Spider-Man, his father is dead, and his uncle Aaron is still alive. Arriving at the apartment, Aaron takes Miles out for an errand, and when they go to the building’s roof, Miles is attacked and knocked out.
He wakes up chained to a punching bag, but that’s the least of his problems: he discovers that the Miles Morales of Earth-42 has become the universe’s version of The Prowler. As our hero plans his escape, Spider-Gwen also comes to the realization that her friend is not where he is supposed to be, and she tells his parents that she is going to help him. In order to do so, she recruits the help of some familiar faces: Peter B. Parker, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and SP//dr, Spider Punk, Spider-Byte, and Spider-Man India.
Oh, and let’s also not forget that a supercharged The Spot arrives back on Earth-1610, ready to cause the calamitous event that is fated to kill Miles’ father the day he becomes a police captain.
How Across The Spider-Verse Sets Up Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse
As far as sequels go, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-verse shares a lot in common narratively with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The movie is built on the development of the characters, and the stakes are constantly raised with new plot developments… but the third act isn’t built to deliver all of the answers. Instead, its climax is built to leave all of the heroes in circumstances that are as perilous as possible, leaving us to wonder about what fate has in store for them in the next chapter.
Thankfully, we have less than a year to wait for the big conclusion, as Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse’s release date is set for March 29, 2024… but that’s not to stop us from fretting about what will happen to Miles and Gwen in their respective situations.
For Miles, troubles are two-fold. The most pressing matter is that he is being held hostage by a supervillain, and while the end of Across The Spider-Verse sets up that he is ready to venom blast his way out, breaking those chains doesn’t solve his problem. He’s still going to have to fight Miles and Aaron from Earth-42, and that’s going to be particularly difficult, given the fact that he is regularly glitching (which is another issue adding stress to his life).
Even after he escapes his alternate universe self and uncle and gets back to Earth-1610, he still has problems. The Spot is planning to do some serious damage to prove that he is Miles’ true nemesis, and that is predicted to include the murder of Miles’ dad. The hero will obviously do everything in his power to stop this – but trying to stop him will be Miguel O’Hara, Jess Drew, and Scarlet Spider.
That last bit is an issue that Gwen very much shares in common with Miles. While she and the other Spider-People she has aligned with are trying to save Miles, they’ll be going against Miguel O’Hara’s anomaly-fixing mission, and that should create problems. And, let’s not discount the ethical question regarding whether or not it is ok for Miles to save his father, given that it could result in the destruction of Earth-1610.
In the wake of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, we are now counting down the days until the arrival of Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse – but until it gets here, fans will just have to watch the first two movies in the animated trilogy over and over again. While not currently streaming on any subscription services, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is available in all modern home media formats (both digital and physical), and Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is playing in theaters everywhere.
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NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.