The ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Post-Credits Scene Explained For People Who Haven’t Wasted Their Life Reading Hundreds of Spider-Man Comics
The following post contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. If you can figure out a way to write a post about the scene after the closing credits of a movie without including spoilers, I am all ears.
It might seem like there are a lot of Spider-Men in Into the Spider-Verse. And there are a bunch! There’s Peter Parker, of course, and Miles Morales, and then Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Peni Parker, and Nicolas Cage’s hilarious Spider-Man: Noir. But there are many more Spider-Men in the Spider-Verse comic-book series — and in the many different Spider-Man mini-series and stories that have been published by Marvel Comics over the last 50 years. One of the most important Spider-Men, in fact, doesn’t show up onscreen at all during the movie proper, and only makes his first appearance in Spider-Verse after the closing credits.
That would be Spider-Man 2099, one of the very first alternate versions of Spider-Man to emerge from the Marvel Universe — and one of the first characters from what we might call the “Spider-Man Family” to get his very own ongoing comic book. That series, Spider-Man 2099, debuted in 1992 as part of a whole line of comics set in the futuristic year of 2099. (The others, for you trivia dorks, were Doom 2099, Punisher 2099, and Ravage 2099 — which for you even dorkier trivia dorks, was the last monthly Marvel comic written by the late Stan Lee.)
Spider-Man 2099 is not Peter Parker who is long dead by the year 2099. Instead, he’s a geneticist named Miguel O’Hara, who discovers that his employer, a company named Alchemax (which appears in Into the Spider-Verse as the front Kingpin uses to create his device to open the bridge between universes) is up to shady stuff. After Miguel’s boss at Alchemax poisons him and tries to blackmail him into staying at the company, he decides to use an experimental gene-splicing technology on himself. Care to guess what animal he winds up splicing his genes with? You got it, a spider.
The experiment gives Miguel super strength and agility, and talons on his fingers and toes which allow him to grip walls the same way the original Spider-Man could. Miguel had been using the original Spider-Man as the inspiration for his experiments, so it only made sense that he might assume his identity after he got genetically familiar with spiders.
As for his Spidey uniform, Miguel uses an old costume he bought in Mexico during a Day of the Dead festival — primarily because at the time of his transformation it’s the only piece of clothing he owns made of “unstable molecules,” a famous Marvel Comics fabric created by Reed Richards for use in the Fantastic Four’s uniforms. Unstable molecues have the ability to stretch or ignite without tearing or ripping or burning. Without the costume, Miguel’s talons would rip his clothes to shreds anytime he tried to button a shirt, tie his shoes, or — yikes! — zipper his fly.
Spider-Man 2099 is voiced in the film by Oscar Isaac; because his name actually appears onscreen before Miguel does, he’s referred to in the credits as “Interesting Person #1.” The woman he’s talking to in the post-credits scene is credited as “Interesting Person #2” and voiced by Greta Lee — that’s Lyla (short for LYrate Lifeform Approximation), Miguel’s holographic artificial intelligence assistant. Given that Spider-Man 2099 was created in 1992 by writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi, decades before the introduction of Siri and Alexa, that comic was way ahead of the curve.
Using 2099 technology, Miguel sends himself back in time for the second part of the post-credits scene, which requires further explanation. After his trip through time and spider-space he winds up in a universe that looks like an old cartoon. That’s because it’s based on the classic Spider-Man animated series that ran on ABC and syndication for three seasons in the late 1960s. Its quirky theme song, with lyrics like “Is he strong? Listen bud, he's got radioactive blood,” remains heavily identified with the character. It made cameo appearances in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, was used as the accompaniment to the Marvel Studios logo in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and was even covered by the Ramones.
Spider-Man 2099 jumps back in time to an episode of Spider-Man called “Double Identity” which has had a second life in internet culture. This is the episode that features Spidey facing off with an impostor; the scene where they point at one another while yelling “That man’s an impostor!” “That man’s the imposter!” has become a well-known meme:
(If you want to watch the whole scene in its original context you can find it on YouTube.)
Spider-Man 2099 winds up right in the middle of “Double Identity,” where he winds up being the other Spider-Man pointing at the real Spider-Man. It’s both a really fun use of the old meme, and an extremely fitting ending to the movie, given that decades of multiple Spider-Men all encountering one another essentially starts right there in that scene.
Sadly, that’s all Spider-Man 2099 gets to do in Into the Spider-Verse. Miguel is a great character who’s starred in some really entertaining comics. (He participated in the comic-book version of Spider-Verse as well.) But if the Spider-Verse movie does well enough, he’s perfectly positioned to become a key figure in a sequel. Assuming he can stop pointing at 1967 animated Spider-Man long enough to show up.
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