‘Across the Spider-Verse’ Toys Seemingly Reveal New Spider-Men Joining the Cast
While the highly-anticipated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel doesn’t open in theaters until next summer at the earliest, the film was originally scheduled to debut in theaters on April 8 of this year. Then it got pushed back to October 2022. Then a second wave of delays pushed the movie back to 2023.
Clearly, by the time Sony made those changes to their release calendar, the toys based on the film, titled Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, were already in production. And now they’re starting to hit store shelves, even though the movie isn’t hitting movie theaters for another ten months or so. And while some of them feature returning characters like Miles Morales or Spider-Gwen, and others involve characters that we already knew were in the movie, like Oscar Isaac’s Spider-Man 2099 (who showed up in the first Spider-Verse’s post-credits scene), others seemingly reveal new Spider-Men who haven’t been officially announced yet.
For example, fans have started to spot a Spider-Verse branded version of the classic board game Trouble. The box art and game pieces include Ben Reilly. In Marvel Comics, Ben Reilly is Peter Parker’s clone, who eventually dons his own costume, and adopts the superhero identity of Scarlet Spider.
Meanwhile, Target stores around the country have started stocking an item called the Spider-Punk Web-Blast Guitar, which is basically a toy electronic guitar that shoots little web-shaped projectiles out of the side.
The Spider-Punk character has appeared in several different Spider-Verse Marvel comics. He’s his universe’s version of Spider-Man, but he’s not another variant of Peter Parker. Instead, Spider-Punk is actually Hobie Brown, who is the main Marvel Comics’ universe version of the Prowler. (A different version of the Prowler appeared in Into the Spider-Verse.) Hobie becomes a punk-rock Spidey in order to fight against his universe’s Norman Osborn, who’s managed to become the President of the United States. Marvel gave Spider-Punk his own comic series just a few months ago.
While there’s always a chance tie-in toys won’t connect to their movies (and a slightly bigger chance that a movie changes during production and characters who were initially planned get cut out for one reason or another), it would be very unusual for a toy company to sell something as big as an Across the Spider-Verse Spider-Punk guitar if he wasn't involved in the film. (Although there is a third possibility in this case: Scarlet Spider and Spider-Punk could not show up in Across the Spider-Verse but could still appear in the third film, Beyond the Spider-Verse, which is also in production now.)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is currently scheduled to open in theaters on June 2, 2023. Beyond the Spider-Verse follows on March 29, 2024.