Across the Spider-Verse’s big cameo connects it to the MCU
In Spider-Man: About the Spider-Verse‘s multiverse extravaganza, every Spider-Man ever created is fair game. We know so much from the movie’s trailers, which made a direct (joking) reference to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But as the full movie reveals, Spider-Man villains are also fair game.
And that matters About the Spider-Verse the biggest celebrity cameo, a combination of cinematic wizardry, brand connection inflection, and a tribute to the origins of Miles Morales himself.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.]
If you’ve already set out to see the movie, you know it: Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man from the future, has assembled a coalition of Spider-Persons to restore the multiverse. One of their big jobs is capturing displaced super-villains and sending them back to the universe they came from, treating us to an awesome array of blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameos from a range of traditional Spider-Man characters. Man villains. in non-traditional outfits. But one of these cameos is not like the others.
One of these cameos is in live action and features Donald Glover as the Prowler.
Why is Donald Glover the Prowler?
2017 feels like a million years ago, but then actor and musician Donald Glover made his debut in Marvel and Sony’s first joint Spider-Man production, Spider Man: Coming Home. Glover didn’t play a major role in the movie – he’s a potential buyer of alien technology converted into weapons. Spider-Man runs into him and he gives the boy good advice. But it was all very conscious.
Homecoming director and writer Jon Watts petitioned for Glover’s inclusion in the film as a tip for the future inclusion of Miles Morales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It wasn’t final, but Glover’s character referred to his cousin in dialogue and was listed in the credits as Aaron Davis, the same name of Miles’ uncle – the implication being that Miles was somewhere in the MCU’s New York City. , even if the MCU hasn’t introduced him yet.
About the Spider-Verse takes it a big step further by showing Glover in the Prowler’s purple and black supersuit, implying that his uncle Aaron has also undergone a supervillain transition.
Glover’s connection to Spider-Man dates back more than a decade, to the time when Sony Pictures was in the process of casting a new actor as Peter Parker for the studio’s third Spider-Man franchise. Glover (somewhat by accident, he says) became the center of a fan campaign. And while the excitement from (and backlash to) those fans didn’t directly inspire the creation of Miles Morales, co-creator Brian Michael Bendis has said he gave the Marvel Comics creative team a measure of determination to push their ideas through . . (Glover eventually voiced Miles Morales in two episodes of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series.)
So Glover’s About the Spider-Verse cameo isn’t just a way to link the animated franchise to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also another way for the Spider-Verse franchise to nod back to the Spider-Man comics, cartoons, and cultural presence from which everything in it stems.