Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023).
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) was never meant to be Spider-Man. At least, not the version of Miles that viewers met for the first time in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
This information is revealed early on in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse by Jonathan Ohnn, aka The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), a former scientist who was turned into a multidimensional being when Miles and his web-slinging friends destroyed Wilson Fisk’s (Liev Schreiber) Super-Collider at the end of Into the Spider-Verse. Ohnn insists that he is Miles’ archnemesis not only because Miles’ actions resulted in his transformation, but also because it was one of Ohnn’s early experiments with Fisk’s Super-Collider that brought the radioactive spider that gave Miles his powers into their universe.
Ohnn’s comments initially fall on deaf ears, but when Miles later travels to Nueva York with Gwen Stacy (Hawkeye‘s Hailee Steinfeld), Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), and Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya), he discovers that The Spot wasn’t just blustering. There, Miles finally comes face-to-face with Miguel O’Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 (Moon Knight‘s Oscar Isaac), who explains that the Spider-Verse is held together by “The Canon.” According to Miguel, The Canon refers to a collection of events that are responsible for creating every universe’s Spider-Man — namely, the death of a loved one and the demise of a kindhearted police captain.
When he discovers this information, Miles realizes that The Spot, whose powers have grown considerably since their first encounter, intends to murder his father, a police captain named Jefferson Davis (Eternals‘ Brian Tyree Henry). Miles understandably expresses his desperation to get back to his universe and prevent his father’s death, but he’s warned not to by Miguel, Gwen, and his former mentor, Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson). Miguel insists that Miles cannot upset The Canon or else the fabric of the entire multiverse could be torn apart. When Miles doesn’t relent, Gwen, Peter, and the rest of Miguel’s Spider Society try to physically prevent him from traveling back to his universe.
What follows is a chase across Nueva York, one that pits Miles against all of his friends and, even more importantly, Miguel. When the two characters eventually come to blows on top of a sky train, Miguel tells Miles that he was never meant to become Spider-Man. He is, in fact, an anomaly who only became Spider-Man after Jonathan Ohnn tampered with the multiverse and brought a spider from another dimension into Miles’. When that spider bit Miles, not only was its reality robbed of its potential Spider-Man, but the Peter Parker from Miles’ universe then had to die in order to compensate for Miles’ transformation.
Despite the severity of these revelations, Miles still manages to break free from Miguel’s grasp and escape Nueva York by using the DNA of the spider that bit him to send him home. Unfortunately for Miles, his plan doesn’t go entirely according to plan. The spider that bit him, after all, wasn’t from his universe, so scanning its DNA doesn’t send him home. Instead, Miles ends up stranded in a universe that not only doesn’t have a Spider-Man, but where his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) is alive and his father is dead. If that wasn’t bad enough, Miles also gets captured by said universe’s version of the Prowler, which isn’t his uncle, but a vindictive, bitter version of himself.
Across the Spider-Versethankfully, doesn’t end on an entirely negative note for Miles. Inspired by her friend’s refusal to back down and follow Miguel’s orders, Gwen recruits a team of “familiar faces” to help her find Miles and stop The Spot from killing his dad and destroying the entire multiverse. Gwen’s team not only includes Spider-Man India (Karan Soni) and Spider-Punk, but also Peter B. Parker, Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), and the rest of her and Miles’ friends from Into the Spider-Verse.
In other words, while it leaves its story in an unfinished place, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s ending does bring one aspect of Gwen and Miles’ shared journey full circle. After spending the majority of the film longing for company and friendship, Across the Spider-Verse ends with Gwen finally finding a band she actually wants to be a member of. Even though he may not know it yet, the film’s ending also proves that Miles isn’t nearly as alone as he thinks he is.
Viewers will still have to wait until Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse hits theaters on March 29, 2024, to see the conclusion of Gwen and Miles’ latest multiversal adventure.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters.